My wife is a theist, and I am an atheist. Her family and mine consist entirely of theists with the exception of myself and a cousin of mine who lives far away. My wife would like to take our children to a Christian church I attended for several years. It is a fundamentalist church with a significant number of strange rules such as 'standards' that members not own or watch a television (though this has in recent years fallen by the wayside); that members not wear wedding rings (especially if they intend to be members of the choir, orchestra, or Sunday School teachers); and that members refrain from theatergoing or dancing.

I had decided to concede and consent to allow my wife to take our children with her to church occassionally (since she only attends occasionally herself, often with a certain friend). However, I realized that in so doing I would be allowing my children to be exposed to the message that: they are sinful creatures that need to repent; there are people who know and understand the will of a divine creator; and anyone who does not adhere to the doctrines of Christianity in general and this church in particular are destined for hellfire.

I would prefer that my children are not exposed to these beliefs because they could potentially undermine their own self-esteem and drive a wedge between them and myself as their father. Here is some of what they believe in the church:


Tags: children, church

Views: 1023

Replies to This Discussion

Do you think your wife would be open to going to a UU fellowship? Maybe you should suggest that if she takes them to her church you could take them to a Unitarian meeting every once in a while, at least then you could expose them to alternative ideas.

Just a suggestion. UU is the closest thing to a compromise as far as going to church that I could see. At least they would not only here christian fables (sorry) but other current religious fables and they could then decide for themselves.
UU groups can be a bit tricky, but they are good people. Our particular group is, as you can imagine, a very mixed up group of people. The only drawback with our group is that it is an older group with grown children so it is hard for us to convince our kids to go.

Good luck and keep us up to date.
Hey, I'm an Atheist and my wife is a kinda Atheist (I think she may be in the agnostic camp and isn't ready to make to plunge). Anyway, I have a 7 and 4 year old (boy and a girl) and they have never stepped inside of a church. My boy knows more about Thor than J.C.

I do an Atheist/Parenting blog if you want to read more about my parenting journey.

http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/
Taking a child to church is by it's definition child abuse. So to let the child to be exposed to this abuse intentionally is unacceptable is every way. Some things are absolute and the abuse of children by the church in church is an everyday occurrence. Intentionally placing undue guilt on a child is abuse. This is clear to any rational human being. It is a completely despicable practice and it is done every day in church. Save your child don't let them any where near a church. It is a triple XXX rated place that they may choose to go to after college when they can and will venture out and learn all about all the triple XXX rated stuff out there in the adult world. Until then it your job to protect them from abuse.

Just my thought.
My wife is also theist, as was I when we first got married. By the time we had kids I realized I was an atheist and came out to her. She was upset for a while but seems to have gotten at least used to my lack of faith. I was concerned about the church/Sunday school question. I have decided to not fight them on going. It seems unfair for me to not allow mom to have a say. I have chosen to work on critical thinking everyday in regular situations. I relatively recently overheard my twins talking about Jesus. One twin asked the other "Do you think Jesus was real?" The other responded "Of course not, real people can't do that kind of magic...kind of like Superman" I was mealy eavesdropping and did not factor in it in any way. I never even told them yet what I believe. That conversation was music to my ears. Also, I heard my wife tell my kids before taking them to church that not everybody believes in God, and that's ok and those people are not bad people. Considering her state of mind when I first came out that was HUGE! At this point I feel no need to shelter them from religion as they are already showing the right amount of skepticism to make it to a good place without overt pressure from me. It also keeps the peace with my extended family as well as my family at home. I wouldn't claim this is the best way to go, but I think it is working with my family.

As a side note, I find a good game to play with kids is to take things they are seeing or hearing about and ask them if they are real or not and why. It never seems to them like I'm teaching them anything, but they have been getting something out of it. For example we watched a movie with an elf in it and I asked if elves were real and why. Then I help them reason the best answer for themselves. This can be done almost at any time through out the day. My kids are 5 by the way, and I've been doing this for a while now.

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