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DD anounced this morning that God didn't exist...

(55 Posts)
LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 09:29:24

... as she has never seen him. How do I answer that one. She attends Sunday School and I church, but I've always struggled with the whole, "bloke on a cloud" issue as my Sunday School taught me that the bible was literal and it's left me somewhat confused as an adult - I do not want DD to feel like this, but I also don't want her to dismiss faith out of hand!

I tried the whole God is everywhere and a tiny bit of him is very deep down in us all - she looked out of the window, couldn't see him and announced that he wasn't and that she'd know if he was inside her - arghhh! I've not handled well.

Any advice gratefully received please.

scurryfunge Tue 11-Oct-11 09:31:00

Let her make her own mind up.

LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 09:32:14

Oh, I will definitely let her make up her own mind. I'm just concerned that I can't explain my faith to her in words she'll understand.

GooseyLoosey Tue 11-Oct-11 09:32:20

You could talk to her about other things she can't see that clearly do exist and you can tell they are there by the way they affect things around them eg. electricity, radio waves etc.

LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 09:35:40

Thanks GooseyLoosey - I will try that.

I should have said that DD is five.

Snorbs Tue 11-Oct-11 09:35:53

How old is she?

As an aside, they do say that the best way to learn about something is to try to teach someone else. If you can't explain your faith to her in a way that she can understand are you sure you understand it yourself?

LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 09:39:16

Snorbs - no I don't, not fully. As I said I was taught that every word in the bible was literal and true and as such have trouble getting my head around it as a rational adult. I have chatted about this with my vicar who is pretty fantastic, but I need to get my head straight.

LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 09:39:34

She's 5 Snorbs.

chrchrch Tue 11-Oct-11 11:53:52

Some say that faith is a gift. If it were me, I wouldn't worry, it's good that she's happy to talk about it. As for the bible/any exoteric work, even without the translations, it's got to have limitations.

The other thing is that religion is something people explore through practice. Perhaps sometimes we fear change because of what may be discovered. It helps to remember that that doesn't bother the source of all things.

So what I think is you and she are doing fine.

LilRedWG Tue 11-Oct-11 14:29:08

Thank you chrchrch.

MaryBS Tue 11-Oct-11 18:18:51

DS told me God didn't exist because he didn't unlock the PC when he prayed for it grin.

Lots of things you can't see but doesn't mean they don't exist, is the tack I would take, perhaps get her to name some of them?

DutchOma Wed 12-Oct-11 07:06:02

My grandson told my dd that "God is only real for stupid people". Since she is an anti-believer (There is no God and Richard Dawkins is his prophet") she said that she didn't disagree with him but that he'd better not say that at school where he has to attend Christian assemblies and also, shock horror, is not allowed to eat his lunch before he has said grace.
When I texted back that she agreed with him that we were both stupid people and so was his adored uncle she has not replied.
But, like LilRedWG I find it quite hard to articulate why I think that God exists, apart from saying that, looking at the universe and everything in it, it makes much more sense to believe than not to believe.

DutchOma Wed 12-Oct-11 08:12:09

Just realised that I bought a little book by Stephen Gaukroger, who came to lead our Bible festival at the end of September. I only heard his Sunday sermon and bought his book "It makes sense". It's really very helpful and funny with it.

LilRedWG Thu 13-Oct-11 20:56:03

Thanks Oma.

Basmati Fri 14-Oct-11 14:51:01

My 5 yo DS, who I take to my church (and he really enjoys it) went through a phase of asking where God was because he couldn't see him. I explained that there were plenty of things we couldn't see but we felt were real, like love, and said I believed God was a bit like that. Just because my DS couldn't see my love for him doesn't mean it isn't real and something very special.

I could have given a more philosophical answer, but he's only 5 so it has to be something on his level. When I discuss why I believe in God with adults I go in at a different level - e.g. exploring what counts as evidence, the different nature of different forms of evidence, what frames of reference we can use to assess different kinds of evidence and how we have to treat any conclusions we draw out from it.

barnowl Fri 14-Oct-11 19:00:07

I would approach this by exploring things around us that we can't see and know exist such as the wind and electricity the atmosphere and explain to your DD that although we can't see these things we can know they exist because we can see the effect that they have. Then perhaps you could talk to her about the effect God has had on your own life and that of other people you know and maybe read some bible story books about how the effect God had on peoples lives in the bible and look at some more recent famous peoples stories too. Hope that helps smile

Rational Sat 15-Oct-11 16:09:38

I think you're 5 year old is very astute. She's right of course, there is no evidence for god and you're doing her a disservice if you don't accept what she says as correct.

FreckledLeopard Sat 15-Oct-11 16:21:33

Yes. Clearly a five year old can cast aside thousands of years of faith and belief and we should all accept the atheist message as fact hmm.

I've never had DD question faith very much. She might moan about going to church or say she doesn't believe in God which is fine - she still has to come along though!

Rational Sat 15-Oct-11 16:32:07

A five year old will only accept the thousands of years of faith and belief is true if the people around her tell her it's true. You used the magicky word here, 'faith', the child in question does not at this time possess this faith. She's asking for facts, it's the parent's responsibility to give her those facts. Anything else will be indoctrination into the faith. This cannot be classed as 'allowing her to make up her own mind'.

The universe is wonderful enough when you're five, there is no need to attribute it to a supernatural being.

I'm interested that you force your child to go to church, will she be allowed to choose at some point?

Yorky Sat 15-Oct-11 16:41:47

She needs to talk to me 4yr old DS - he's got a much better handle on it all than I have grin

conversation at tea time yesterday "mummy, where does rice come from?" 'it grows in very wet fields, then we cook it in pans' which was logically followed by "mummy, where does metal (for pans) come from?" 'machines have to bash up rocks to get the metal out' (you may have guessed where he's going next) "mummy, how do you make rocks?" 'God made the rocks, darling' "So how do you make God?" 'Nobody made God darling, in the beginning he was just there' "No mummy, he isn't there, he's in our hearts!"

I left it at that ~~(couldn't keep straight face) but considering advertising for an au pair, pref with a theology degree!

Rational Sat 15-Oct-11 17:09:17

Yorky: Telling your 4 year old that god made rocks isn't fair. If you don't know how the various types of rock are formed, google it, there are a lot of very good websites which can explain it in a child friendly way. 'Goddidit' is lazy and doing your child a disservice.

Yorky Sat 15-Oct-11 19:09:41

My dad's degree is geology - he can do the long winded version next time we're there grin
But if you put it like that, I got what I deserved!

startail Sat 15-Oct-11 19:20:09

Ok I come from a strongly atheist home, but a church school. I was certain by 6 that God didn't exist. 23 years with a DH who quietly believes he does hasn't changed my mined at all.
The DD go to church school to and I'm afraid they are as faithless as their Mum.
I kind of hoped that DD2 would believe in something, because she knows the world isn't always nice and like for her Dad I think it would be comforting.
I think OP we can only tell our children what we believe, but in the end they will find their own path and we have to accept that choice.

Rational Sat 15-Oct-11 19:29:23

Yorky: I google stuff all the time with my four year old. They love to know how things 'really' work. I believe we should tell our children the facts, if they're taking the time to ask, they deserve the correct answer.

To the OP: All you can really tell her is as I said above, the facts. You need to explain to her that she's right, there is no evidence for god but some people choose to believe there is one. You should also be telling her that some people don't believe and still manage to be good people.

DutchOma Sun 16-Oct-11 07:53:43

The statement "God does not exist" is as much a statement of faith as "God does exist". Neither can be proved, but it is much more reasonable to believe that God does exist than that He does not. After all He left a massive clue in giving us the universe and I doubt even Google could disprove the fact that there is a universe.

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