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  1. #11

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    I just gotta share first, reading this post and what immediately floated to my mind - a real ps experience my daughter had. Her friends, so well intentioned (according to their indoctrination, that is) telling my daughter several times she was going to hell to burn for all eternity. I just wanted to put that out there as a "halleluja, we're outta there!!" as I'm also feeling elated for many reasons about our new hs adventure today, and that thought also popped up.

    But I guess the point of that is this: they're still a major part of our culture, xtianity and religion in general that is. I want my dd to be able to understand acculturation, as well as the perspectives of people she will in no doubt encounter her whole life, and why they do what they do even when we see it as, well, ludicrous. And that even in those times, there may be a place to *agree*. And from finding that place, maybe open them up to our perspective. The bible, as we know, contradicts itself terribly. Says lots of bad bad stuff. And then, there's some good stuff. Proverbs could have just as easily come out of a wizened grandmother's moral-of-her-story. Beatitudes? Pretty cool stuff. So, I guess the point there, is that I believe teaching bible as literature will still help my dd just not be totally ignorant of what is a pretty important book to a lot of people around her.

    And that's not necessarily the right thing to think. But it is what I think, probably, because I was raised in a really religious household, and my mother is still extremely religious. She also has Lou Gherig's, and in her need to deal with the grief of the loss of her body functions, has clung to it ever more tightly. So my opinion on the matter also hinges greatly upon the relationships I find myself in as well as my own experience. That means finding at least a little common ground.

    Which leads me back to the religious life experience. Mine was a life experience, of many years, and cannot be summed up in mere paragraphs of course. Which means when our kids head to college, and have those discussions, they'll also need to bring their own life experiences to the table so the kids that grew up religiously can learn from them too. So it's ok if your kids have a life experience without religion. If they are ignorant of the religious experience, it will be for their peers to "enlighten" (lol) them on the subject, but the reverse will also be true - they will enlighten their peers based on their own experience as well. The world also needs us to raise our kids with their own experience.

    About the absurdities, and so on. What I love about art and literature, is that is can make new "touchpoints" as one goes on. Maybe you don't get it all right away, like those absurdities, but later in life something will trigger a memory of the book/art as they come to a new level of understanding. They don't have to "get it" all now, because much of it will continue to unfold as they continue to learn. I hope that make sense.

    I also have to mention, that growing up in an atheist household is completely foreign to me and kind of amazing. I had a friend in high school with atheist parents. I wonder what they must have thought of their daughter going to Wed night bible study with a our group for a while. Of course, they also didn't know we were all going to "bible study" to smoke doobies in the parking lot. Life lesson: if your kids are going to "bible study", they're probably smoking doobs with their religious friends without raising their religious friend's parents' suspicions. Ha!

    Ok, time for my favorite blonde joke (I'm blonde so I'm allowed to tell it):

    (One more caveat - this joke is not really meant to be read, so follow the instructions!)

    "Why did the blonde go to church for the first time?"

    (Ok, now, hold your arms outstretched to the sides,full wingspan. you really have to do the motions here)

    "Because she heard there was a guy there hung like this."

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  3. #12

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    I realize everyone accepts religion and morality are separate. But, in response to the morality issue I highly recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Building-Mora...l+intelligence

    It's not religious and very easy to do at home.
    Kids are so much more than a test score.
    Qualities not measured by a test: creativity, persistence, curiosity, humor, self-discipline, empathy, humility and so many more!

  4. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Free Thinker View Post
    ...I don't think my kids get it, and after our discussion yesterday, I'm wondering if anyone who is not raise with religion really gets the power of faith....

    I have taught my kids religion in a cultural, historical way, but this has always left me wondering if I am doing something wrong. My kids know the basics, we've read Children's Bibles, but honestly they know way more about Egyptian, Greek and Roman Gods- probably also NOrse GOds, than they do about Christianity and Islam. THey get Polytheism vs Monotheism. THey just don't get that for most people, it's real! People are willing to kill themselves in the name of religion TODAY! It's not gone or a thing of the past, it's now....So, for those w/ older kids, do you think your kids really 'get' faith and religion? Have they suffered any in college by not really understanding literature and cultural significance of religious points of view? If you grew up outside of a major religion, do you feel you fully understand it? What would have helped you in dealing with religious people and in understanding the depths of faith? I was raised a 6-day creationist, 3x a week Church, along w/ Bible study at home. My parents are and were very faithful to their church. I am the only one who left- sibblings are still in it. I know I was discussing right and wrong, morality, pointing out flaws in 'science' (ha ha ha), and memorizing scripture at a young age. I still have those scripture memorized, and I am amazed at how well I can still recall them, still open the Bible and flip to a passage if I need to. I don't think my kids really understand it. ANd there are so many different denominations, it's hard to differentiate between them all. I have tried a little bit, to the oldest, but it's just confusing and she doesn't see why the point of Baptism and salvation, the amount of times you take communion, the type of music you sing/play, and the roles of women in churches - how these little issues that were real things for me, matter. She knows basic Baptist, Catholic, ect. but not what they really follow or teach as it pertains to scripture. Is there a way to teach this to kids, or will it always be irrelevant?
    It sure takes a lot of time to soak all this information up, doesn't it? Like...your lifespan so far?

    I suppose I have hit religious culture and teachings pretty hard with dd both pre- and during homeschooling mainly because it's a part of a bigger picture of how this world works. I do not expect her to go off to college with doctrinal knowledge of all faiths (heck I still am confused by the 1000 flavors of Xty) but I do expect, and am pushing her to, have an understanding of why people relied--and still rely--on faith to begin with. What is it about communal hypnosis? Aren't we stronger than that? Or is there something behind it? Biology, maybe? Perhaps that, as a social species, we're programmed to have something like faith?

    This summer, dd and I listened to Skepticism 101 from The Great Courses. We re-listened to several of the sections so she could "get it" (and admittedly I was thankful). I recommend it as to the power and need for belief (be it belief in UFOs or the parking gods or what have you).

    Philosophy, sociology and the idea of Free Will: I have hit these pretty hard with her too, and continue to now that she's getting older. But yes, novels and stories are a great way to question things pretty deeply yet come out unscathed (unlike, say, attending religious services).

    Lastly, I think there's a bit of separatism that kind of goes along with being strictly secular (areligous, atheist, etc.) that can be problematic for some younger kids. I fault myself for openly deriding the family with 9 kids as "the crazy god-of-the-uterus people" because, hah, that got back to them. The Us vs Them mentality probably won't serve our wee atheists well when they go off to college or work or life away from the happy atheist farm here. So I am aiming more for 1. general knowledge of religion 2. humans have huge Big Picture issues and diff groups handle it differently with wildly diff results and 3. people mostly do what makes them happy, so communal hypnosis = communal happy for most people, but that doesn't mean one needs to join in, especially if you think it's weird (this latter applies whether it's religion, alcohol consumption, shaving your armpits, sexting, etc.: if it triggers your "that's kind of dumb" response, listen to yourself, daughter, because you're right for YOU).
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  5. #14

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    I grew up "Christian" in that I was told we were Protestant, but never went to church, I got the whole heaven/hell, God/Jesus, but that was really it. Most of what I've learned about the Bible came in from art history in college. I already knew the whole Adam and Eve thing, someone gave me a Bible bedtime stories books that gave me nightmares. And then in high school we covered creation myths in English. So many others are more interesting though to me. I think taking the time to draw the comparisons after the fact, like read the books and point out the comparison to the stories, Also pointing out the resurrection myth though usually is referenced to Jesus in modern literature was present in older myths and religions too. There are many opportunities to learn about religions just by the introduction through cultural references. I was watching a video that referenced the Eastern religions references in Avatar. Explaining the beliefs of friends and family is another good way to introduce the religion.
    Teemie - 11 years old, 6th grade with an ecclectic mix

    Blog : Tumblr : Instagram : Facebook
    http://jessicamckelvin.com

  6. #15

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    Thanks for all the discussion! I have purposefully raised my kids this way and am glad they do not have the baggage I do... but when we discuss, and it seems like they see religion as more of a thing of the past rather than a thing currently shaping their world, it makes me feel like maybe I have not done a good enough job explaining the depths of faith and what it causes people to do. From our discussion, it was clear that she sees most of the tennents of Christianity just like she does Greek Mythology... which it is! But it can be offensive to put it in those terms. We do live in the Bible Belt. I know no other atheists (I do have faith they are out there, just don't know any personally). We are closet atheists, we don't go around broadcasting our disbelief, and if we did our kids' friends could very well have nothing to do with us. My kids don't get that. That their disbelief can be considered offensive to believers. It is silly, I know, but it doesn't change how people react. I am hoping that her generation will be one that is much more open than mine is, so Relevant's post made me feel better DH and I are both snarky toward religion in our own home, and we have made fun of people's praying for ridiculous things- and posting about it on Facebook. We've tried so hard to combat the constant barrage of faith into our lives via relatives- even random people on the streets!

    And that big purpose of life question- that was in discussion about the Grand PLan that God supposedly has for everyone, how everything has a purpose even if we don't know what it is. SHe was sort of amazed that most people think like this, like life is some sort of grand experiment.

    I know I"ve taught Christianity the same as all other religions- the kids know the major stories, but the doctrine is missing, and I'm not sure how to address it. I guess I did so much searching as a 20-something, that I can listen to a sermon and guess the denomination My kids don't even realize there is a difference between most protestant congregations. The oldest does get Catholic-Proestant, but that's about it.


    I am proud that my kid can see past the lunacy that is religion, but I just hope that doesn't hurt her future, make her less understanding and caring.
    Mom to 5 great kids~

  7. #16

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    Can you as easily pick out the nuance between a Sunni or Shia prayer service? How about spotting Buddist, Hindu, or Shinto religious beliefs?

    Is that equally important to you? Or just christian literacy?

    There are many more religious people in this country that are less understanding and caring than atheists that are less understanding and caring. The world is becoming increasingly less religious. The rest of the developed western world looks at America's religious ridiculousness with amusement. I'd say prepare her for that world....ETA: the world where being religious is less relevant.

    I hope that you don't pass on the (strongly American) stigma/ignorance that being an atheist/agnostic/non-religious person is fine and all.....but keep it to yourself, because the folks that were taught the good morals in Sunday school will think you are less caring and understanding. You should teach her that their judgement (and maybe yours) says more about them than it does about her.

    You just might cripple and shame her, defeating what you think you are teaching. Free-thinking.
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  8. #17
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    "...and if we did our kids' friends could very well have nothing to do with us. My kids don't get that. That their disbelief can be considered offensive to believers. It is silly, I know, but it doesn't change how people react. I am hoping that her generation will be one that is much more open than mine is..."

    I wouldn't worry so much about educating your children about WHY some people use religion as an excuse to be judgmental. It doesn't make it any better. They won't feel any less judged.

    I'm not sure I'm picking up what you feel like they're missing. I can't tell you the difference between denominations. Is there a quiz I missed? This doesn't affect my life.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at TheHomeschoolResourceRoom.com.

  9. #18

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    I think your kids will be fine about it, they dont need to take a theology course to get by in society.
    We are equally snarky, and we combat being bombarded with the ridiculous things attributed to the xtian god. (This weekend it was $44 flights from San Diego to Dallas on Southwest... Is the CEO of the airlines God? I wouldve been impressed if the fare was $0, could credit that with divine intervention... even if divine intervention couldve been better spent saving that family from the drunk driver, or beating back a relative's cancer...)

    Yeah, the self-righteous pricks will be offended by anyone asserting that different from them is more valid a thought system. Lets not give religion undue respect, please!
    Read Dawkins with them.

    And sorry you live in such a place!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  10. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastweedpuller View Post
    It sure takes a lot of time to soak all this information up, doesn't it? Like...your lifespan so far?

    I suppose I have hit religious culture and teachings pretty hard with dd both pre- and during homeschooling mainly because it's a part of a bigger picture of how this world works. I do not expect her to go off to college with doctrinal knowledge of all faiths (heck I still am confused by the 1000 flavors of Xty) but I do expect, and am pushing her to, have an understanding of why people relied--and still rely--on faith to begin with. What is it about communal hypnosis? Aren't we stronger than that? Or is there something behind it? Biology, maybe? Perhaps that, as a social species, we're programmed to have something like faith?
    I grew up in religion and I STILL don't understand the need to blindly believe in something. To rely on something that flies in the face of all common sense, all science, all logic, all THOUGHT, merely because you WANT to believe that. I have occasionally wanted the ability to believe that blindly, to take comfort in the fact that someone, somewhere, actually has a plan, but, mostly, if there was someone with a plan, I'd have to believe they were a complete sadist, and THAT isn't comforting. I don't think you can raise kids to actually understand why ppl believe in religion, without them actually believing in it themselves. I was raised in it, and I don't get it!

  11. #20

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    Thanks for this post! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it and all the responses. The questions you have are some I've asked myself, wondering what my kids will be like, what their world-view will be like, their paradigm, how they will understand others' paradigms without a religious upbringing. I was raised Southern Baptist, was fully immersed in it and a willing participant and believer until I was 19.

    Lots of good stuff to mull over. Thanks everyone!
    Eclectic, relaxed homeschooling mom to two boys, 9 and 6.

    Our days are as "unplugged" as possible, filled with reading, playing, exploring nature, cooking and hanging out at the beach.

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What happens when you *don't* raise your kids to be religious- Lit and culture