I just sent a reply to another post, in which I used a comment my almost 8 year old daughter made not long ago. She is a declared atheist, a decision she's made based on the discussions her Dad and I have on a regular basis. I love how her mind works, and I love her incredible intelligence and her desire to learn the truth.

When I look around me though, most parents will tell me that their kids really don't have much to say about the subject at all. In most families, religion has never even come up. (Needless to say almost all my friends are atheists/agnostics). What about you guys? Do you have little atheists in your families? Or do your kids have an opinion at all?

When asked by our neighbor's son the other day, whether she believed in God, she proudly said no to him. He said, this was weird, and she simply smiled and said, "Well, if you think so... " Then they went on to play.

Looking forward to hearing your stories.

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No stories yet, but my kids are 12 and 9 and both are atheists. Unless you count the FSM. :)
Well, being a pirate is, of course, much more fun. :)
I love the way the whole thing rolls off kids' backs. What a bright little girl you have!

I'm perfectly fine with my kids declaring beliefs, but I'm uncomfortable with labels at this age -- even self-declared. My kids believe in God for months at a time, but I do not call them "Christians" during those times. Likewise, when they lapse out of belief, as they have now for a long time, I don't want them calling themselves atheists. Not yet.

During the election my ten-year-old said, "We're Democrats, right?" I said no, Mom and Dad are Democrats. You guys are excited about Barack Obama right now, but in the next election there might be a candidate from another party who you support. You get to choose a party when you are old enough to vote, and even then you can change your mind a thousand times or have no party at all.

Dawkins spoke to this when he said referring to a child as "a Catholic child" or "a Muslim child" or "an atheist child" is as ridiculous as saying "a Marxist child" or "a Keynesian child" or a "Monetarist child." These labels represent complex worldviews that they cannot yet claim to have examined and chosen freely.

It's just my two cents, but I think the difference between saying "I believe this" and "I AM this" is an important one, and when it comes to kids, I opt for the former.
I understand what you're saying, but I think it's wrong to tell my child that I think she's NOT an atheist, when this is clearly a definition she likes to live with. If she ever changes this label for herself, then good for her. :) It is not important what I opt for. It's what she is comfortable with.

As for my son, he has zero interest in the subject and simply considers himself "Logan". :)

I am generally not a fan of labels, but my daughter is strong enough and smart enough to figure this out for herself. :) Thank you for your input, Dale.
I think it would be fine if my son(s) were to say they were atheists if all they meant was that they don't believe in any god(s)!
That is exactly what she means when she says it. :)
Dawkins emphasis was on adults labeling children who are too young to understand and make a decision specifically based on their parents beliefs. He talks about it in many books and documentaries but in one specifically* he cites a study by child psychologists (I believe) in which they find that at an average age of 8 years old the brain develops in such a manner that most imaginary friends go away and other supernatural things take on less realism. So it can be said that a child around 7-9 years of age can say that they are atheistic (and believe it). *(It might have been Sam Harris who said this. I'll follow up if I can find it)
My son is too young (he's 3.5) to have formed any kind of opinion about much of anything, except for a definite preference for bread and honey sandwiches at every meal.

We live in SLC, UT and lately I'm starting to worry about how we're going to handle it when he starts getting shunned (it's already happened when we were trying to make friends one day at a local park -we're new to the neighborhood and a woman completely ignored me when I asked if we could get together sometime for a playdate). My mother-in-law says we should just move out of state. She tells me that ppl are going to be all too willing to take him away from us if he hits another child or strips in public. She's a bit paranoid, in my opinion, but who knows what could happen in this day and age?
Bread and honey for every meal... too funny. :)

I went to SLC before and we wanted to tour the temple. Well, it was more of a missionary style tour than anything, and I was disappointed, that they don't let you inside. But I guess that's a way to catch fish. We left the tour early and went into their little self-guided tour with all the videos. I felt nauseous when we left.

I don't know what it would be like to live there. I don't think I'd last long. Good luck to you and your family.
My girls are 11 & 7, at this point they both do not believe in god. I think they both consider themselves atheist, but my oldest hides it. My youngest was always quick to say it about herself, but she just mentioned last week she believes in heaven. Just no god.

I try not to label them & I tell them they need to make there own decisions. I try to answer questions truthfully. We did the Democrat thing as well, they asked what "we" were, so I told them what I was & what my husband was. Told them they need to decide for themselves.

I think that is great your daughter is secure in it, good for her!
I have three kids, ds16, dd8 and ds6 (next week!). My oldest was raised deeply steeped in Eastern Orthodoxy. My middle dd had maybe a few years of it and my youngest was a toddler before I became atheist. It wasn't until I became atheist that my oldest felt comfortable exploring whether or not he truly believed what he was raised in. He now proudly calls himself an atheist. My dd is a very independent, free-spirit type and she calls herself an atheist but she has gotten the Dawkins lecture from me about how she's really too young to label herself. Right now she's reading the Bible in her words: "to see if it's really as crazy and screwed up as it sounds". She is sometimes surrounded by her father's family which are all pretty hardcore, bible thumping Evangelical types. She connects religiosity with out-dated thinking (his family's parenting methods are extremely traditional compared to my own). My youngest recently went through a time where he believed in Thor but now he generally randomly announces to people he meets "I'm homeschooled and I don't believe in god!". I think at this point he pretty much just parrots what he hears around him but every now and again he'll ask his dad "do you *really* believe in god??" and his dad will usually give him a very wishy washy answer like "sometimes" to which my son will incredulously tell us something like "can you believe that?!!? Dad actually believes that there is a god!!"

Speaking for myself, I tend to fall on the more militant side of atheist thinking. I'm not very interested in a hands-off approach to religion. It's important to me that my kids understand all the different beliefs out there, not so they can pick and choose, rather I want them to understand that ignorance and magical thinking come in many forms and have been around forever. I don't think that religion should be outlawed but I think it should be scorned and humiliated into the light.
"I'm homeschooled and I don't believe in god!"

Hey, I'm going to start introducing myself that way, too! LOL :)

Like you, I expose my daughter to different supernatural belief systems, not as a sampling platter from which I expect her to choose "when she's old enough," but in hopes that it will afford her some protection from those who would gladly exploit her.

Like the most lovely Freckles ;) I think I would be a little disappointed if she chose a religious life (not in her, but in the choice). I know that sounds harsh or close-minded but, after only recently escaping a religious life myself, the sober realization of having wasted fleeting and precious LIFE mired in an imaginary world that never existed is still fresh in my mind. What a tragic waste.

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