Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DarkwingPsyduck, May 29, 2016.

  1. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    From what I've seen, it seems like most users here are religious. Christian, mostly. Growing up, I never lived in one place or one family for long enough to truly be exposed to the practice of religion. I mean, religion is always around, but we never really practiced it.
    Do you believe it was ultimately a good thing to raise your children with your religious beliefs? My 2 and a half year old niece actually enjoys a local church that my uncle takes her to, but she really just likes the toys and free food. My uncle isn't religious. Closer to a deist, really. But he takes her every Sunday. I am an atheist, and I don't attend, but I am not really sure how I feel about her going there. At least not until she has reached the age of reason, and is able to truly listen and think and make her own determinations on what to believe, and not to believe. I have absolutely no problem with religious people at all. I just don't agree with indoctrination. When you introduce any kind of belief to a young child, before they reach the age of reason, they are much more likely to keep those beliefs without ever truly questioning them. On the flip side, if you wait until the child has reached 7 or 8 before telling them of all the supernatural aspects of a particular religion, they are much less likely to accept the claims. If she did ultimately believe in Christianity after actually considering all the claims and arguments, I wouldn't take any issue with that.

    I guess my question is, how did you did it? And what were your experiences? I acknowledge the good that does come from religion, but I am not a fan of the notion of faith. At least not blind faith. I'd like her to practice healthy skepticism, and critical thought. I would like for her to be able to explain her reasons for her beliefs. Not just parrot out beliefs that were put into her head from an early age.
  2. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    And I truly hope I do not offend anybody. I realize that religion, like politics, is a bit of a touchy and personal subject. If I have offended you, please know it isn't my intention. Like I said, I was never around the practice of any religion, so I don't know what would or would not offend most who do practice it. If you take offense to any of my remarks, chalk it up to my own ignorance of the subject.
  3. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Oh, this shoulda been posted in the general parenting subject, right? My mistake. If a mod could move it there, it'd be much appreciated.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Religion is a touchy subject. I don't remember it being talked about here. I am in the middle...highly spiritual, strong belief in an after life and a higher power, but don't align myself with any particular religion. I am actually closest to Buddhist. My parents were Jewish and I had some religious training, but it never resonated with me. No organized religion did.

    I feel each child will find his own way, whether or not they have a particular religious upbringing. Kids sometimes embrace what they learn in a religious setting. Some don't. I have no connection to Judiasm at all. Nor other organized religions I've explored. Nor atheism, which I've thought about too.
    Hope this helped a little. I think this is the right place for this post, but I don't know if anyone else will respond. Very touchy topic.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My mom was a church attender - Christian - but I never went much while growing up. I started attending church when my daughter was about 5. We were fortunate in that we had a wonderful children's pastor - who became a friend - and he was helpful in maintaining Miss KT's focus. I'm well aware things could have been worse than they were.

    She no longer attends church, and neither do we. I'm taking some religion courses online, for my own education. I've completed one on World Religions and one on Christianity. I'm almost finished with the Buddhism course, and the Islam one starts later this week.

    I think a foundation in some belief is important. It's then up to the person to accept it or to search for their own way.
  6. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Active Member

    Darkwing, my late husband knew he was an atheist at age 8. I have attempted at different times in my life to be religious, but it never sticks for long. Religion doesn't work for me, but like you, I understand that it works for others. I am slightly envious of those who can embrace it thoroughly.

    Needless to say, we did not attend church. My children, though, have been invited many times to go to church with various friends. I have never stood in their way. My across the street neighbors are steadfastly Christian in their beliefs and have always been kind, supportive and open with us. They are wonderful people. So basically, others discuss religion with my children.

    My mother, who was agnostic through most of my life, became an evangelical Christian after my husband's suicide. She talks to me and the kids often about her beliefs. She has a wonderful, loving church home which fulfills her life.

    I agree with SWOT in that I've seen deeply religious families have children who are not at all accepting of the faith. I think most people go through a time in their lives where they question religion and discover what best works for themselves. Your niece will too, regardless of her exposure.
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  7. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I was raised Christian from a very young age - the only religion I ever knew. I drifted from it as a teen (as ya do) but still kept those beliefs. College is what changed me from "religious" to "spiritual." I don't identify to any one particular belief system. For me, I do believe in a higher consciousness and that we all have purpose. I use the term God as that is what I grew up with, but feel there are many names for God (just read a Bible). I tend to see different religions and philosophies as branches from the same tree, and it matters not how you get there. They all have value and lessons for being a better person, a more enlightened person. If you have ever seen the movie or read the book, Life of Pi, I believe in the same way the main character does. My favorite quote is, "If there is one nation in the sky, shouldn't all passports be valid?"
  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    wife, I am an atheist, though was raised Jewish. I will not go into my thoughts on religion on this board. I am not sure of the current rules on this board, but having been here for a long time, one of the rules was, and maybe still is, that we do not discuss religion (or politics) because it can be so polarizing.

    I do agree that most of our posters seem to be Christian though.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Given that the majority of the posters come from the USA, and that the predominant "belief system" in the USA is Christian-based... it would seem probable that most of the posters will self-identify as Christian.

    That doesn't make this a "Christian" board.

    I don't know if it's a "rule" or just a general sense of agreement, but we do tend to avoid the topic, as it doesn't add to the purpose of the board, and can generate some very heated discussions that take away from this being a "safe place".
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    In the past it was something that we were encouraged not to discuss because it is an individual and private thing that easily touches off sore feelings. That was several owners ago, though.

    I'm not offended by being asked, just tired of being asked by my newfound community and tired of being insulted because I don't think what they think if I answer the question. Apparently my beliefs exude a "stench". (Welcome to the Bible Belt where they love you as long as you're just like them.) I'd prefer that we don't discuss it, but I'm not here much anymore so I doubt that it matters.

    I won't share my religious beliefs because some people seem to be offended by them when they're actually none of their business. I don't care to know anyone else's, either. It's private and should stay that way.

  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I mention up front that I'm an atheist and leave it at that. It's much easier to have that up front than it is to get into long, involved discussions about actual beliefs, etc. It's also much easier than trying to explain what a freethinker is, etc
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The younger people in the U.S. are changing our culture once again. I heard on NPR that churches are having trouble attracting young people.

    Allot of people who say they are Christan don't really follow the Bible. Gone boy comes to mind. He is evangelical and seems to lack in empathy and use the Bible when it suits him, but he goes to church several times a week and teaches Sunday School. I assume it helps him personally. It hasn't made him a better person. He thinks mostvChristians aren't true Christian, as in if you had premarital sex, divorced, drink etc.

    Religion is often used in strange ways in my opinion. That's one reason I'd rather connect with my higher power in the quiet; alone; just with nature. That works for me and I truly believe there is something bigger than me. I also call it God, but am not sure it has a name.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  13. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    I might get a little upset if the parents of other children tried to expose mine to their religion. I am a staunch believer in secularism, and the only way that freedom of religion is possible is with freedom FROM religion. Not that I'd want to shelter her from any particular religious beliefs, I would just prefer to be able to sit her down beforehand and explain that people believe different things for different reasons, and that she should certainly experience what is out there, just through the lens of healthy skepticism.

    I had a friend growing up who was Mormon. I remember scoffing at some of the stranger beliefs, but eventually came to envy what that family had. My upbringing was about as far away from a Mormon one that is possible. I always wished I was around people who valued family above all else. Mine only valued themselves.

    If it isn't okay to discuss stuff like this here, I understand. Like I said, I'm not trying to stir up controversy. I am just genuinely interested in hearing different experiences related to raising a child in a religious home.
  14. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I saw your thread topic and was not going to reply. But, as your aunt and uncle are raising your niece, it is their call as to whether they wish to expose her to religion, or not. And one day, when she is a mature adult...she will either embrace religion, or reject it.
    As you have alluded many times, they are saints for what they are doing for that little girl. ;)
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Hi, Darkwing.

    I like the sincerity of your thinking and your questioning very much. Your obvious love for your niece finds me smiling, every time you post about her.

    I was not raised in a faith tradition. I find much that is beautiful in them, and strengthening. At the heart of it, all faith traditions seem to be telling the same truths.

    Religion is a different matter than faith.

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  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    If the various religions had stopped with their versions of the "Golden Rule" ("Do unto others as ye would have done unto you.") the world would probably be a much better place than it is.

    Whether a child raised in a given religion naturally becomes curious at a certain age and explores other religions and eventually chooses one or none for themselves depends a lot on how they were raised into their birth religion.

    If they were raised in fear of "god" and of "hell", or of losing a chance at "heaven's glories", if they were raised to believe that "god" was vengeful and that the religion of their upbringing was the only way to avoid hell and get to heaven, they are often so thoroughly indoctrinated, and so fearful of "god's" wrath that they do not explore and learn and decide.

    Instead they follow the faith of their upbringing like sheep following the belled goat that leads them both to their feeding grounds and to the slaughterhouse when the time comes.
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  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well, I was going to leave my 2 cents out of this...but I think what I need to say is:

    Going to church is not going to hurt her if it's the right church - not some fire and brimstone "Holy Roller" type of church where they handle snakes and speak in tongues or hate on anyone different from themselves. From your description of your aunt and uncle, I doubt very much they'd allow her to be exposed to the extreme right-wing version of Christianity. Growing up being told "do unto others" and "love thy neighbor" and the reason there are angels on Christmas trees and the good "judge not" parts of the Bible, in my opinion, is a good thing and in most moderate churches, that's what the kids get.

    They can, and will, doubt when they are older. They can, and will, make up their own minds about whether God is literal and real or at best a metaphor.

    I consider myself a Christian. I'm not nearly as religious as my husband Jabber, though I serve on church committees and sing in the choir and have even held board positions and recently agreed to be a deacon. Still, I have often told people that I'm the least religious person in the room. But the church we have found is like a big, extended family - a "church home", and I love it. The message is right...acceptance and love and helping your fellow man.

    Our son is an atheist. That's okay. I don't care so long as he's not insulting to people who are believers. I don't insult his lack of belief, though, in my opinion, I think it's kind of sad - because I want him have a sense of wonder that the finite world lacks. The wonders of scientific discovery (and I firmly believe in science) are not enough for me...but that's ME...I want to believe that there is something out there, something supernatural and unexplainable and bigger than this world, but I don't require anyone else to agree with me.

    Some day she is going to ask you why you don't go to church with her. Tell her the truth...that some people believe in God and go to church and some people don't and some people fall in between.
  18. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member


    I am also christian, I bring my littles to church. I did the same with my difficult son, who is almost 24. He even attended a christian private school from 3rd thru 6th grade. Since high school, he has proclaimed himself an 'agnostic'. But, then again, he is a very philosophical person, very 'real' as he refers to himself. I think these 'type' ppl have a harder time believing in God. It saddens me a bit that he is agnostic, but it is his life, his choice. He likens christians 'who believe in God, to believing in Santa Claus.' :eek: He says 'people only go to church to feel good'. He is partially correct but he does not believe in the God part of the feeling good.

    With that said, my own husband, who proclaims that he believes in God, and prays, does not ever go to church with us. He will, if it's a special holiday or such. I don't push him, either. But, as a person, he's a wonderful human being. And, sadly, a better, kinder person than many ppl who DO go to church regularly.

    There, that's all I have to say on this. ;)
  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Going to church does not make you a good person. In fact, it doesn't even make you a true believer. There are many small-minded, hypocritical "Christians" in the world. Like shyster lawyers, they give the rest a bad name.

    It seems to me I didn't really answer the question.

    We didn't raise our son in church early. We said grace before meals, but it was the quick, "God is great, God is good, Thank you for the food". We talked a bit, but only a little bit, about God to him. He got more from the grands, but they didn't see us that often. We didn't find the church we attend now until he was about 13...and I regret it. I wish he'd had more positive role models. I wish he'd had a place outside of school, like a church youth center or church camps, etc., where he could have maybe met some other kids than the ones he hung out with. But that's the benefit of hindsight. After all, even though we didn't go to church, we still set the same example for him...we were decent, loving, hard-working people. So maybe church wouldn't have done a thing.

    But it wouldn't have hurt.

    I was raised in church. But my parents believed that when a kid got older, they made up their own mind whether or not to join the church...and we did. My brother and I both joined the church formally in our early teens. We did not join because that's what kids that age did - it was an offer, not a demand. In fact, we joined before our parents formally did. My older brother joined first. I was baptized with my mother. My father joined after we did...he waited to formally change his denomination until his step-mother died because he didn't want to offend or hurt her.

    Your niece will, when she's old enough, make up her own mind. Even being raised in a church, I quit going in college and considered myself at most agnostic for many years. Belief does not negate critical thought or skepticism. I eventually resolved my doubts and scientific facts that seem to contradict religion to my own satisfaction. But don't ever really expect a person who is religious to be able to give you "reasons" for their beliefs. It isn't just "parroting" out what you've been told. But, I think that if you believe you do so because it feels right...and you can't really explain a feeling. You can't explain faith any more than you can love.
  20. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I am Jewish and was raised that way. My own husband doesn't have much religion but he always celebrated Christmas. He wanted our kids to as well. But, we always raised them to believe in no religion,like Mickey Mouse and made up stuff. I never believed in any of it, even though I was from a strict religious home.
    When they were younger, my kids always asked me what religion they were, we always said, "Whatever your wife turns out to be." (I secretly do know, however, that they are 100% Jewish-whatever the mother is, they are)
    My husband's brother is extremely religious and he is the biggest thief I ever met, stealing things from new homes as they're being built and turning them in for scrap metal. Being a good person is the religion in our house. My brother in law thinks he can just say a prayer and all is well.