Hi all,
Here in Ireland it's the "FirstHoly Communion" season. This "Season" has been long a manner in which young kids are "captured" by the prevailing religion for their dogma. If you are a kid of approx 7-9 years, a fesitval at which you are the certre is very appealing. It is tradition here (and I'm sure elsewhere) that these kids are brought around to the neighbours and friends whrer thay are tipped to a great extent in order to celebrate the great day.
Should we as parents (and this is very difficult in Ireland, given that over 95% -i'm not in erreo or joking- of schools are controlled and managed by the catholic church or other religion) deny our kids the oppertunity to be made feel special on a very special day.
Why do we Athiests not have some specila festifals where we can welcome our kids to the world and ensure them that they are special as they grow?
Whether we like it or not, we are in a battle with the theists fro the hearts and minds of our young.
I ahve tried to come up with some event or festival we can offer our young that "competes" with the religious rites of passage that are available. I have dismissed any ideas that tend to focus on the "Nation" given my country's less than agreeable relationship with Nationality ( to my mind it's just another dogma that devides us).
Anyone agree with me or dis-agree? If you agree do you have any suggesstions?
Regards,
Jack

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Comment by Gary Huckleberry on June 15, 2010 at 6:01am
Yes, Jack, I know what you mean. I've heard from atheists, who, as atheist children, viewed the theist public as extremely silly, like being 8 or 10 or 50 and still believing in Santa Claus. I was a theist child, and felt that celebrating my birthday was on par with calling me an idiot, except for the fact that the adults didn't know any better. I guess, I believe that "attention" and "shows" of attention are not practical, and that people feel loved when they are loved, if they are capable of loving back. Spending lots of time with the young is probably the best proof of love (if there is one.)
Comment by Jack Butler on June 14, 2010 at 11:51am
Gary, Perhaps "special" is the wrong word. Kids however need to know that they are valued, wanted and recognised as individuals. To say that "nobody is special" seems to me to be a bit of dogma on a par with a discussion on the reasons for Adam having a belly-button. I'm talking about kids looking at their neighbors and wondering why they get a better deal. The religious rites of passage present these kids with both an intrinsic temptation and an invitation to feel special, particularly in my country where over 95% of schools are run/strongly influenced by the churches and where religious indoctrination is a core part of the school day. I don't feel it appropriate or productive to get into an philosophical argument with a 7 or 8 year old as to whether anybody or nobody is or isn't "special". Again, perhaps I mean everyone likes to feel "wanted" or "loved" or even just "liked". I just wish we athiests who have to share space and live with the teists had a means of competing with them without oyr children feeling less than equal because of the "bribes" offered by religious ceremony.
Comment by Gary Huckleberry on June 14, 2010 at 7:14am
Being made to feel special is a mistake for a couple reasons. Nobody is special... and to believe so, is to create a separation ... complete with many socio/psycho problems and lots of manipulation. T'would be best for society to celebrate the "values" that we all have as individuals, that we all can enjoy sharing. Religions and governments like to support artificial values, partly as a PR move, ... hoping to look good and to create "validity" to their existence, in hopes of manipulating women to make babies, and boys to fight wars, to protect the government's monopoly on taxation and to increase poverty through land (etc) control.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 9, 2010 at 10:17am
The Secular Seasons website has some resources for people interested in rites of passage. You might want to see if you can contact a Norwegian Humanist group, as humanist coming of age ceremonies for teens are quite popular there.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 9, 2010 at 10:07am
I certainly agree Jack, but don't have any suggestions just now. You might want to ask in one of the Irish groups, or in Celebrate, a group for folks to discuss rites of passage, celebrations, etc...

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