... without inciting anger from my mother and his mother?

My mother sent my nephew to a bible camp this summer and now he has a curiosity towards Jesus and heaven. How do I remedy this without starting a holy war in my own house?

Sorry if anybody thinks this doesn't belong here, I wasn't sure where else to post it, and it's been bothering me a lot.

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Replies to This Discussion

My sister actually doesn't take him to church as far as I know, which is a bit of a relief. But I wouldn't be able to attend with him anyways, because they live 7 hours away!
You post belongs here all right, no problem. I'd say, let the kid make up his own mind about religion. Just try to answer his questions honestly and encourage him to study science and math—particularly evolution and analytic skills developed by math.
Personally, I don't say a word to my nieces, nephews, or cousin's kids. I figure, if they're intelligent enough, they'll figure it out on their own and will figure out I'm not a theist and approach me with questions if they have any. I don't like it when my relatives try to push their religious views on my kids (which they do). I just do damage control when they do. I don't mind it that much because what they say sounds ridiculous to my kids anyway and makes them even stronger in their disbelief.
I think the trick to "inoculating" children against the God Virus is teaching them how to think critically. Early and often. Pick topics that are not precisely about god, but also involve supernatural or magical claims. Get them to think critically about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and so forth. Teach them myths as myths. Find good children's versions of Greek or Roman mythology and tell them as stories.

Once they are familiar with the stories, ask them to figure out whether they're real or made up. Ask them why. Teach them basic fallacies with questions about the myths. Once they are familiar with how to figure out what's made up and what's real, you can start asking them questions about Jesus as well. "Does Jesus sound more like a made up story -- like Zeus or Apollo -- or does he sound like a real person, like President Obama?"

Indirectly, you'll be giving them the tools to reach atheism on their own, which is far better than teaching them that there's no god.
I don't think I could teach him that Santa or the Easter Bunny isn't real, he's only barely 6, and a little too sensitive for that news just yet. I just feel that the Jesus stuff is still new enough to him that there is a bit of hope.
I've been trying to teach him things pertaining to science specifically and getting him sciencey birthday and christmas presents, which I hope can help him think critically.
I agree, I would never teach my own kids that Santa is real, but he has a really sensitive heart, and I don't think I could do something that would more than likely make him cry.
A Conversation between myself and my father when i was about 6 or 7:

Me: Daddy, Is there really a santa Claus ?
Father: No son, But lots of people like to think there is.

Fast forward 28 years (and my own deconversion):

Q: Is there a god ?
A: No, But lots of people like to think there is.

M.
The rules governing nouns such as limits, properties and identity help separate what's real from what's imagined.
Teach him to ask for proof & evidence. This will serve him well in every field except for religion, where 'faith' trumps all. after a while he will recognise that faith is nothing more than a baseless assertion, and discard it.

M.
When my kids were younger (they're both in college now) I used to let my mother take my young sons to her church for Sunday School and even the odd Awana meeting...at the time, I was less firm in my disbelief and plus as a single mother, the time alone was well, necessary. They piddled around with the bible verses, learned a few for the candy they were rewarded with and once, my youngest blurted out 'did you know jesus can live in your heart?' I responded with well, yes, some people say that, but how do you really know its jesus?' He pondered this without a reply...eventually, they got a couple years older, oh 7 or 8, and their Sunday mornings became more valuable to them; I told their grandmother if they didn't want to go, she could not force them to. Pretty much the end of the christianity line for them; neither one has ever gone to church nor do they now...they're both into the sciences in college and mostly just don't bother with religion. It doesn't seem to hold their interest, either for or against- it seems not to be an issue.

Don't know if that helps much, but I'd go along with making a few well placed questions as the years go by...and of course answer any of his questions as honestly as you can. At 6,he's pretty young and while the church does pile on with the bribery, I'm not sure how much of it sticks unless it is also reinforced at home. Bible camp, meh, he may not even come out of that with fond memories...I was fundy raised and I can say that I do have some good memories of church...but of bible camp? none at all, dreadful experience from my end.

Barbara
He loved bible camp. He made friends there and when he came back he spoke about how to get to heaven (which he thought you had to go underground to get to) and sang all the songs constantly.
Oy, that is kind of harsh but hey, he's still only six; it seemed to me that my sons were more 'into it' when they were young, as they grew older, they made more friends at school and in their neighborhood and the once a week stuff at church faded. But then again, they lived with me and as the years went by, I became stronger and more vocal about my own ungodly feelings...

As an aunt, well, I dunno..my nieces and nephews are in varying degrees of fundy Christianity, by virtue of their parents. Not a lot I can do about the ones two states over, tho I am doing my best about the grandniece who doesn't show much interest in being a proper little Christian lady (you go girl!). I'd slide in around the edges as he grows up, you never know when or where a question might get him to thinking about the whole stuff. Right now, well hearing 'jesus loves me' out of a young man's mouth might be aggravating, I think you're doing ok by giving him the sciencey gifts;you could branch that out as he gets older. I actually miss doing that part myself, I used to LOVE shopping for my sons' xmas/bday gifts, all the science and lego stuff, too cool! Now all they want is money, the car keys and oh yea, um I need your tax return for my college aid application...

I think its cool you're thinking of him though, and I'll bet he does too.

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