Oh, son of a bitch, I have no clue what to do.

The background goes a little like this: My girlfriend has a 4 (nearly 5) year old from a previous relationship. I've been taking care of him and, for all intents, have been his father figure since he was 2. I have all the responsibilities of his father and wouldn't call him any less than my own son. I love the kid dearly. But, he's still not mine and that means certain decisions fall to his mother and my input isn't really considered. His father's father (yes, I know grandfather would've been easier to say, but it needs to be known that it's not his mother's father) is a Presbyterian minister. He goes to church with his grandparents every Sunday and is being raised in Jesus-like fashion. Although I don't have the qualms with Presbys as I do with the more hardline Christians, they're still very big on raising the kids "right".

Tonight, he came home from his first night of Vacation Bible School. I'm sure everyone here knows what that is. But, the shittiest part is that he comes home with this new CD he got from the thing. He elatedly squeels "Quentin! Please let me listen to this!" Of course, I'm not going to deny him. But, for fuck's sake I wish I had. The CD was 12 tracks of Kidz Bop style group singing of pop anthem, Christian songs. Lyrics like "He is the only way!" and "Let's get Jesus!" blared throughout our household. Great.

My girlfriend isn't a hardcore Christian. She definitely believes in God and buys the Jesus thing (but, I think she takes it with a grain of salt...I think) and has no problem with her kids being raised as straight theists. She doesn't want a Jesus freak in the house, but has no problem letting him be formed and shaped by his grandparents.

What do I do? She's well aware (and loathsome) of my atheism. I don't pray at dinner, although I don't stop it and I don't go to church for any reason (unless sometimes to my parents' Episcopal church for rare occasions...I don't really mind the Episcopals). But, we have a 1 month old daughter...eventually she's going to be a toddler and there will be talks of church and Sunday school. I have no clue what the fuck to do without sacrificing my relationship with my girlfriend in the process. There's no way I can let her go to church without protesting. I can't sit quietly for this. But, I don't want to sacrifice our family over it.

Any advice?

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I can almost understand why she holds on. I think she realizes that, if she confronts this, it'll be a huge crisis of faith. She's too smart to not understand the evidence against her point of view, but changing everything you believe is scary.

But, you're right, it's a shitty situation and I'm not happy to be in it. I think it'll work out, but it honestly may require some sort of actually counseling for the both of us.
I understand how you feel. Our daughter is only 11 mo. old. I have a problem with her growing up in the church. I don't really want her to hear about god all the time until she is old enough to separate fact from fiction! Not gonna be easy because both our parents are super Jesusy. The more I think about it the more I realize I need to relax and take it as it comes. My wife does believe in God. We have decided to each tell her how we feel and answer her questions as she asks them, being certain to let her know that her mommy or daddy feel a different way. I don't think it will be possible to keep her away from hearing about god, but some people say if you wanna make a child an atheist - send them to church. I think when she hears about god from her grandparents or whoever, it will provide an opportunity, without calling them fools, to talk about the issue and guide her with your viewpoints. I think the most important thing is to talk with you gal and let her know how strongly you feel about religion and why, and why you want your daughter to/or not to be exposed to religious stuff. You guys gotta agree on letting each other be honest with her without stepping on each others feelings and still showing respect for the other person. Once you have it worked out between the two of you, anything your daughter may be exposed to is a chance for you to her guide her properly.
Your practical solution is: Start going to Church?
My husband is a Christian, though not a church goer. We had the discussion of our different beliefs and how we would raise our kids before we were married. We pretty much decided that we would both be honest about our views, encourage them to learn and ask questions, and ultimately leave it up to them what they decide to believe in. I don't mind him teaching our kids about his religious beliefs, only I do have an objection when it comes to science instruction. Ultimately, you don't have too much of a say in the education of the older child, but being invested in his upbringing you should have a voice. You definatley should have a voice when it comes to your own biological child. I think it also depends on how serious you are with your girlfriend. You refer to them as your family, so that is an indication, but are you two committed to eachother in a marriage sense (I understand that people could choose not to be married but still have the same relationship). Your commitment to your girlfriend may decide how you might want to approach this.

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