Monday, 18 May 2009

Raising atheist kids?

Building up to a rant for a while now... partly brought on by this rather unpleasant comment to a post of mine. (Someone has issues...)

It was a conversation I had about my children growing up. What they might become and that I will be proud of what they will achieve. Also if they happen to follow a faith, it would be their choice.
But it was the comment (well intentioned) of 'that's good' about referring to faith that has been bugging me.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a christian DUTY to raise your kids as christians? Certainly all the marriages and baptisms I've been to have STRONGLY suggested it.

So it's OK for christians to educate/impose/indoctrinate beliefs but when an atheist puts forward their opinions...

I was lucky enough to have been brought up in UK which is mostly agnostic or apathetic towards religion. And I was not influenced by my parents to what I should believe. I became an agnostic while in a church primary school and an atheist by the time I was in my teens. I came to my own decision after a lot of introspection. In my twenties I considered some form of spirituality but after observing and talking to a range of people I realised that you don't have to have a 'faith' to be good.

I don't think I can bring myself to go as far as Richard Dawkins and claim that religious upbringing is a form of 'child abuse'. Parents have a right to bring up children by their moral standards and I have no right to criticise. I think I am doing my best; they honestly think they are doing theirs.

However. I will teach my children to think critically. I will encourage them to question why. I would expect them to find out things for themselves and think seriously about why someone else might want you to believe what they believe.
I will encourage them to give people a chance. To try not to judge others on first impressions. Always try to end an argument; never to start one. Bare in mind the consequences of your actions. And try to do what you feel is right.

It's a big task. And I suspect I will make many mistakes. What I will NOT do is bring up children on the morality of a flawed 'holy' book full of contradictions, mythology and patronising devotion to a personification of ancient mankind's ignorance. My children deserve better than that.

Rant over. ;-)


  1. For someone who claims not to believe in God you sure do seem highly obsessed with him and knocking those who believe in him...

    However on a serious note why do I get the impresison that the "thinking critically" element will just result in criticality toward religion/faith?

  2. It's more about knocking the stupid things that religious people do. ;-) I can assure you I am not obsessed with a god (just as I am not obsessed with a variety of non-things) but quite possibly on how this belief in the supernatural affects people, laws, freedoms and human morality. (Both for good and for bad) I'm like a dog with a bone - it's too fascinating a subject to ignore. (Agnostics just simply annoy me!)

    Critical thinking - if my children decide that after all evidence, pros and cons, debate and personal experiences, that one of the many tens of thousands of religions is acceptable to them then that would be fine by me. :-)


Comments are unmoderated (free speech and all that) but I have decided to take off anonymous posting. If I can stick my head over the parapet, then common decency suggests that anyone wishing to debate should at least introduce themselves. :-)
Thanks. And feel free to comment about anything!