I'm not a parent but I want to be and I was wondering, do you think it's better to 1. raise a child religious and have them possibly hate you for it later, 2. raise them atheist and have them decide they want to follow a god later, or 3. find middle ground and just raise them non-religous and let them find their own path later? I was raised non-religous and here I am now, an atheist, while my parents still believe in god. The thought just crossed my mind and I wanted to see what everyone else had to say about it.

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I was an atheist before I was a parent and have raised my 2 kids without any religious affiliation.   My kids are 16 and 20.  At this point, they have remained non-religious.  They seem to have stayed on the path so far.  (My late husband was a non-practicing Catholic and we were in agreement about this lack of religion in our child-rearing...we did attend religious weddings and funerals with the kids and explained what they were expected to do and how to behave beforehand so it wasn't a complete shock to their systems..ha...our little heathens behaved wonderfully, of course, and it was always interesting to hear their 'take' on the event afterwords and answer their many questions.)  
My story is almost identical to mojos except my kids are 17 and 19 (so almost the same ages!), except I actually lost my head for a few months.  I tried the catholic thing.  My then 7 year old daughter said "I think that jesus-thing is a myth" and that was the end of that!  I  have terrific kids so we did something right!  Your kids will be just fine!

I prefer to raise little heathens.  I tell them it's their job as people to figure out what they believe about god, and that they don't have to decide anytime soon.  And I try to protect them from high pressure religious sales tactics.  When they ask, I tell them what I don't believe and what I just don't know.

I do try to teach them what's appropriate when someone wants to pray.  And that its rude to go around telling friends and family that there is no god in an unprovoked way, much the same way as it's rude to tell kids that there is no Santa Claus.  It isn't their place to create rifts that way. 

I have a step-son who is hanging out with a Jehovah's Witness family.  We are really hope he doesn't get into that too deep. 

Yes, raising well-mannered little heathens was my goal as well.  And promoting the idea that this world is filled with many people with many paths to follow...like you said, they don't have to decide anything yet....we are each a work in progress.  Having strong opinions is fine but not pushing others to agree or to hold those same opinions. 

 

I don't know about anybody else but I was raised a Lutheran and I played with all kinds of kids never knowing what their religion was...it just wasn't an issue that was brought up or talked about much.  Even in high school.  Well, in middle school I was fascinated with the 'holy rollers' as we called them....I didn't even know what that meant but we could pick them out in a classroom by the way they dressed.

 

But that was 30 years ago for me!  It wasn't until university that the idea of atheism even hit me...that people didn't always automatically belong to a religious group or believe in a god/supernatural being.  So hanging out with somebody who's a member of the JW's or whatever....does it really make long lasting impressions on a child/teenager?  It's hard to predict.

I raise mine to question deeply everything they hear, and  I talk with them about possible reasons why people believe the way they do.  Learning about mythologies and their connections also  becomes part of my teaching.  This can be considered the Middle Ground, if you like, but it gives my children a chance to make an informed decision about what they will believe later.  It hasn't always resulted in them staying/becoming atheist.  My oldest son has decided he's a Deist.  It would not have been mine, but I taught him to look at it all and decide for himself what makes sense to him.

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