Author Topic: My Current Issue  (Read 125 times)

My Current Issue
« on: September 11, 2020, 12:05:06 PM »
Good morning!

I have been a part of the Atheist community for quite a while. I grew up a southern baptist, bible believing christian. My uncles are all preachers in KY and I went to church up until my later high school days. I had always been skeptical about the existence of God, and finally found my way out completely when I was a senior in high school. While I owe some credit to various atheist podcasts I listened to, I give myself most of the credit for being willing to take a look at my own beliefs and actually question them.

Fast forward 12 years: I am now almost 30 years old, happily married in New Jersey with our first child on the way. My wife is due in November. The catch is, I married a christian. We’ve had many conversations about religion in the past. I’ve tried many times explaining to her my views on faith/religion/God. Which I feel she somewhat understands and we found a middle ground. She is in no way a bible literalist. But she still holds onto her beliefs, which is fine. Every conversation we ever had, she never had any answers for my questions. This lead me to believe she hasn’t actually explored her beliefs at all. She was indoctrinated at an early age and was most likely taught to never question anything. So she hasn’t.

In no way am I trying to deconvert her (which would be amazing), but now that we have a child on the way, I am concerned about how to properly raise a child with our differing views. Something I am dreading is bringing this conversation up to her. Quite often in the past when having these conversations, she has gotten very defensive. She often would shut down the conversation when asked tough questions and would always just go back to “faith” being the answer to almost everything.

My concern is raising a child in a christian church. My thoughts on this are that it would hinder our child’s intellectual growth. I have a problem with our child being taught Genesis. It’s a major issue if our child grows up believing the Earth is somewhere around 6,000 years old. I have an issue with Christianity teaching our child that they are intrinsically evil (original sin). Having faith in a God doesn’t teach children to think for themselves, wonder, or to use logic when trying to answer the big questions of the world. All it does is tell them how to act and what to think. That’s not education, it’s indoctrination.

My thought right now is to write her a letter. A letter explaining my worldview. That way she can read this in her own time, take it to her preacher or religious friends and ask them their opinion, etc… and not feel like she has to provide me immediate answers to anything. I’ve had a secular therapist for the past 3 or 4 years. He thought this sounded like a good idea.

I am hoping someone reading this may have had a similar experience, and can share their thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Offline Baruch

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2020, 12:34:51 PM »
This would normally appear under the introductions.  Please introduce yourself further.

Your concerns are typical.

Welcome.
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2020, 12:53:55 PM »
Welcome. My father was an atheist. I found out after he died. Too bad for me these things were not discussed.

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2020, 01:09:23 PM »
Well, Gos, this is a fine kettle of fish you have gotten yourself into. :) 

Much depends upon what type of christian your wife is. (it doesn't sound like it, but if she is a fundamentalist, you are in trouble)  I raised my daughter to be what she wanted and to believe what she thought proper.  But I was always there offering another side if I felt it was necessary.  I have, more or less, been an atheist all of my life; although I labeled myself agnostic for most of it.  My daughter went to church for periods; and I was also a member of a church when she was of young adult stage.  My daughter is not a christian, but not an atheist.  She leans toward a deist/humanist bent.  My point is--you can lead a child to water but you cannot force them to drink. 

This little poem contains some truths for me:
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. 22For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Gibran; The Prophet

I have read this poem for decades now, and for hundreds of times. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline aitm

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 01:51:39 PM »
My wife is/was the quasi religious type. Never enough to go to church but the type that believes in god. We never much discussed it. She is aware I don’t believe any of it. We let out daughter go to church when a friend asked her along but never took her and she never really asked to go on her own. When she did ask me, I simply said, there are people all over the worlds who believe in different gods, even some that worship animals, some simply worship the sun or moon or the wind. Either there are hundreds of gods or perhaps none as it seems likely that people just invent what they wanted and passed their beliefs to their children. You are welcome to discover for yourself, but don’t just stop looking if one gives they give you kool aid and cookies and you have fun. Look at many of them. Read about science as well and see what they think. Come to your own conclusion. But as for me, I don’t  believe in any of them.

She has adopted the “it feels good at the moment” type of thing. Since she is not pushing religion on to her child and the grandkid at 8 has been to a church twice, I consider them irreligious. That may change, but right now seems inclined to not really give a shit to find out on their own. But if they ask more detailed questions then I will go into more detail.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2020, 05:57:06 PM »
You might consider expanding your child's knowledge to innoculate against a dogmatic world view. As your child matures, teach there are lots of religions, why they appeal to people and whether they seem rational. Religions are stories people tell to make sense of things they don't understand and some of the stories are pretty silly. Encourage curiosity and skepticism.
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön

Offline Baruch

Re: My Current Issue
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 06:49:56 PM »
The Evil Santa Claus of Futurama is the only true Santa Claus ;-)
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.