"Mommy, will I be with God when I die?"

I answer the question with a question: "Where did you learn about God, baby girl?"

"God is a man who lives up in the sky."

"Has anyone talked to you about God?"

"No."

So what kind of answer do you parents give your child to a question like this?  A flat out no?  Do you let them come to their own conclusions?  

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Comment by Maia Rodriguez on March 3, 2014 at 3:08pm

@Ted, that's interesting.  I hadn't thought of it that way.  And I'll check out "The Magic of Reality".  Was that the children's book that Dawkins wrote?

Comment by Ted Foureagles on February 27, 2014 at 10:05am

"The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins is a strong attempt at that.  On a subtler scale, cartoons like Scooby-Doo are pretty good because reason always wins in the end.

Comment by Maia Rodriguez on February 27, 2014 at 9:56am
I wish there were books or shows for kids that talk about God vs. Science that lets them draw their own conclusions.
Comment by Ted Foureagles on February 27, 2014 at 7:44am

 "Why do you think that?"  I asked.

Perfect response -- well done!

Comment by Maia Rodriguez on February 26, 2014 at 10:30pm

Agreed.  I do want her to question everything.  That's important.  I don't, however, want to tell her WHAT to think.  I want to teach her HOW to think.  Case in point: today we finally had the "God talk".  She asked me a question about God, and I said I didn't believe in God.  She gasped, and said, "Oh no, mommy, you're going to go to hell!"  "Why do you think that?"  I asked.  "Because that's where you go if you don't believe in God!"  (Side note: I have NO idea where she learned about these things).  We had a long talk about the Greek gods and Zeus and correlated it to today's God, which probably went a little over her head.  Then she said, "I think... I think I'll choose to believe in God."  Sigh.... I left it there, because at this point in the game, she's not really at an age of reason yet, nor old enough to understand all of what we're talking about.  

Comment by Ted Foureagles on February 24, 2014 at 9:43am

I was almost 4 when I figured out the Santa Claus scam (of course I didn't let on right away for obvious reasons).  It was the first inkling I'd had that adults would tell me things that weren't true.  It took another couple of years for me to work out that God was the same thing.  And it was several more years before I realized that people weren't just telling that story to fool little kids, but also to fool themselves.  Teach kids to question everything -- even what you're telling them.

}}}}

Comment by Michael Penn on February 24, 2014 at 9:14am

I agree with Future. Tell her god is Santa Claus or that god is like Santa Claus. That way the problem solves itself in time. As for her asking about god, it's simple. She is not raised in a closet and she has TV, peers, and others around and people believe various things.

I first asked about god when I saw my granadfather reading his bible and they explained that book to me as a book about god. Later I liked to have them read it to me. Especially the parts about Michael the Archangel. I wonder why?

Comment by Maia Rodriguez on February 23, 2014 at 7:46pm

@Future: cute idea!  I wouldn't want to confuse her more though.  Lol.  My father is an atheist and allowed me to come to those conclusions on my own time.  He did not force any way of thought on me.  When I began asking about it, he started suggesting books and ideas.  For that, I am grateful.  I want to give my daughter the same opportunity to come to her own conclusions.  I never want her to come to me years later and say I placed something in her head that she didn't want there.  It would be my sincere hope that she is not religious, but should that happen I'm going to assume she has her own reasons for it: such as a need for security.  6 is still a little too young, in my opinion, to grasp these concepts.  But when the questions come, they must be answered in a way that allows their little minds to think.

Comment by Future on February 23, 2014 at 1:06pm
Here's an idea - tell her you have a secret: God is Santa Claus. That way she will naturally give up the god delusion concurrently with Santa.
Comment by Ted Foureagles on February 23, 2014 at 12:55pm

When my nephew was about that age, and while we were lying in the hammock gazing at clouds, he asked, "Tonton (French for Uncle), why doesn't God fall down from up there?"  I replied, "God is not a person or a real thing like a tree; it's an idea in people's minds.  He's like Harry Potter -- a story we tell ourselves."

His response, which made me very proud and happy, was, "Oh, good."

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