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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:23 am 
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linanil wrote:
And on a side note, that CNN 'article' annoys me on a different level, the level where news is now a report on a blog and the comments of that blog. If that is the level of journalism we are at then... I mean, why not just keep pointing to the blog? Maybe I'm not ready for this brave new world.


anytime someone on a news report starts talking about something someone tweeted i want to bash my head against the wall repeatedly

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:38 am 
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I totally forgot my funniest anecdote about feeling completely left out of the whole “religion” thing. I went to a small all women’s Catholic college outside of Boston (Regis College). I didn’t care that it was Catholic or all women’s, it was the school I wanted to go to. It was founded by the Sisters of St Joseph and many of the teachers were nuns who lived there. The president of the school at the time was also a nun. My advisor was a nun. I kind of didn’t care though I will say it made me feel just a little uncomfortable. Religion was obviously prevalent and there was a chapel on campus but nothing was ever FORCED on you. I had to take a basic religion class but it was more about learning about religions and stuff rather than having Christianity forced down your throat.
The bulk of students were conservative and Catholic. I was erm…..not. College is where I decided I am like “punk-lite” and was given the nickname “Punkass” (in reality I am so far from being actually punk but compared to these people I was).
Anywho, my freshman year Good Friday (?) rolls around and I drag my asparagus out of bed in the morning and wander over to the cafeteria for breakfast (or maybe lunch who knows) and everyone around me is dressed up and has BIG BLACK BLOBS on their foreheads. Im like what the fizzle IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?!?!?
I was so lost and confused and just bewildered. I was probably one of like 10 people on the entire campus with no ashes on their forehead. I had never heard of this phenomenon before. Thankfully my roommate knew the whole deal, her mom is an ex-nun and while I wouldn’t call them religious they are definitely very spiritual.
Every Easter I felt like a huge heathen while I was living on that campus!

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:51 am 
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It is Ash Wednesday, you get ashes on your forehead :)

I never did it.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:56 am 
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We have handled the family thing by simply not announcing the rituals we don't follow. When we had our girl, we just didn't have a baptism. We never announced to DH's family that there wouldn't be one, but time passed and a baptism never happened. When we had our boy, we didn't announce to my family that there wouldn't be a briss. But day 8 came and went, and there was no briss. I don't know if they assume we had him circumcised and just forewent the party part, or if they think we didn't have him circumcised, but the state of my son's foreskin is really no one's business but his. Thankfully everyone in both families is far too passive aggressive to actually have a confrontation, so they just talk behind everyone's back.

School has been easy. I'm a pretty laid back atheist and I don't mind my kids learning about stuff as long as it's presented in a "some people believe" sort of way and not a "this is true" sort of way. Last year, there was a Jehova's Witness girl in DD's preschool class, so they didn't do any holiday stuff, and I thought that sort of sucked for everyone. This year, everyone got a note home informing us that the kids would be learning about Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa and if we had a problem with any of it to talk to the teacher about how to opt out. I liked that way of handling it better because then other kids didn't have to miss out on learning stuff just because one family has a stick up their collective asparagus.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:36 pm 
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linanil wrote:
It is Ash Wednesday, you get ashes on your forehead :)

I never did it.


yes! Ash Wednesday! that's what it was! (that's the same week as Good Friday right?)

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:59 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
linanil wrote:
It is Ash Wednesday, you get ashes on your forehead :)

I never did it.


yes! Ash Wednesday! that's what it was! (that's the same week as Good Friday right?)


No, it's about 6 weeks before Good Friday. Right after Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras)


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:11 pm 
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Many of you have already said things that are similar to our situation - we're both atheists (although I've always had a strong interest in Eastern spirituality etc but more from an anthropological view I guess) and are never around any religious people. My parents never ever took us to church or anything but if asked, would say that they are Catholics and my older siblings partook in that whole religious instruction that gets you out of school early on Wednesdays thing. But there was absolutely zero discussion of religion in the house.
Crazily, when we had Dahlia, my mom said something like "I really wish you'd get her baptized" and I laughed outright, like why on earth would I do that? and she said something like "you just should" and I continued to laugh and ridicule her for wanting me to do something that SHE doesn't even seem to believe in!
Howard had the opposite experience growing up, where his late mom was the head of the Sunday school and he was an altar boy etc. He is now so venomously anti-religion (Catholicism in particular but he seethes with rage in a really over-the-top way about all of Christianity in general.) We've discussed many many times about how his mom would feel nowadays with us living in sin etc etc, but obviously it doesn't really matter since she isn't around. His dad pretty much went along with whatever his mom wanted but once she passed, had nothing to do with any religion at all.
We do expect to have a lot of explaining in the future and sometimes are concerned that our girls will be ostracized by someone somewhere...but that's gonna be true on a whole lotta topics anyway, so we'll just take it as it comes.
The only thing that has really come up so far is hilariously, saying "bless you" when someone sneezes. D picked that habit up from my mom and I've heard H correcting her before by saying "we don't believe in that." I've tried to downplay the subject by saying "we don't say that but its ok if you want to" because now she says it just because she feels a certain taboo around it, ya know?


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:18 pm 
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We didn't baptize V, but I can totally understand our parents' desire to do it... They want a ceremony and gathering that recognizes their grandchild as part of the community and celebrates his/her arrival. I thought about trying to do this in a nonreligious way and didn't come up with anything great.. I do like that the Nazarene church has a "welcome to our community of faith" ceremony at that age - they do baptisms later with the idea that the child should be old enough to know what he or she is getting into - it's not for me, but I like the idea and if I'd found a good solution for a secular ceremony I might have done one.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:32 pm 
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what's interesting to me is that although both my brother and i were baptized and brought to Sunday school really early on then nothing after that we both went in complete opposite directions.

we werent raised religiously and im kind of grateful because i feel it gave me the chance to figure things out myself. my brother married someone who is semi-religious. basically doesnt go to church but feels like being Catholic is the right thing to do and believes in God/Jesus. so both his sons were baptized. i have no idea how religious he is himself but as a family they definitely identify themselves as Catholic.
when the kids were young (not sure if they still do this) they would always bake a Happy Birthday Jesus cake on Christmas (Eve?) that always weirded me out. the whole happy birthday Jesus thing apparently weirds me out as this is the second time ive brought it up. lol

me, im completely agnostic bordering on atheist and the Catholic church makes me angry to the point where i wish my parents hadnt baptized me. i feel like it was a decision that should have been mine that they made for me (i know that doesnt make a lot of sense but i feel like i was forced into a religion i dont believe in since baptism is such a big deal).

i dont think my mom will bring up baptising the baby but if she does that will be an ugly scene (ie my head will explode).
i only currently have one living grandparent who i dont think is terribly religious/cares about baptism so at least there will be no pressure from grandparents. my husband's family is Jewish so obviously no pressure to baptise from them. that will be a welcome relief from crepe from them since currently i get daily emails/texts/facebook posts from my mother in law with "tidbits" of things she thinks i need to know that makes me want to stab my eyes out.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:01 pm 
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I am an atheist raising an atheist boy. He's a good kid, has solid values, and wants to do the right thing. We haven't gotten any pushback, but, then again, we live in godless Seattle.

My dad's family is Jewish, and my mom's is Methodist. When they got married they split the difference (?) and became Unitarian. They brought us to church every week, where my mom sang in the choir and my dad was an usher. It never made a dent in my notbelivingingodness. It was just a place you went because you had to. But I did take some good Sunday School classes. The sex ed classes the Unitarians taught were pretty awesome. Very frank, sometimes explicit, informative, and thoughtful.

I think tolerance is a wonderful thing, but it can be a strain to speak neutrally about certain important topics. Are religious people wrong? Well, I think they are. If I didn't think that, I'd be religious. Is eating animals a poor choice? Well, I think it is. If I didn't think that, I'd be an omnivore. Of course, I can think they're incorrect without thinking they're stupid, evil, dangerous, worthless, etc. (And it would be nice if more people in the majority had similarly tolerant views of those with minority opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles.)

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:08 pm 
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annak wrote:
We didn't baptize V, but I can totally understand our parents' desire to do it... They want a ceremony and gathering that recognizes their grandchild as part of the community and celebrates his/her arrival. I thought about trying to do this in a nonreligious way and didn't come up with anything great.. I do like that the Nazarene church has a "welcome to our community of faith" ceremony at that age - they do baptisms later with the idea that the child should be old enough to know what he or she is getting into - it's not for me, but I like the idea and if I'd found a good solution for a secular ceremony I might have done one.


You can always create ceremonies! I did a class on the creation of new traditions, there's one I particularly like for Jewish girls, I don't know if this is done for everyone now but some Jewish women felt that baby girls needed an equivalent of a bris, so they came up with a baby naming ceremony to celebrate girls that is gaining in popularity.

But I know what you mean, Mom was this way when I didn't want to get confirmed. Even after I converted to Buddhism she'd bring it up, like when my brother got confirmed. I think she felt its one of those life passages, celebrating growing up, and everyone else's kids got to do it and take pictures and have cake, and it wasn't really about religion for her.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:09 pm 
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I was really into this book as a kid. (I was a nerd.) I highly recommend it. It says it's for high school kids but I definitely read it in elementary school, but I was also an advanced reader, so I don't know.

It also led to a weird phase where I was obsessed with saying prayers every day from different religions, which was pretty novel since I was raised Quaker and we didn't really do prayers per se. So I wasn't raised godlessly exactly, but my parents weren't super concerned about what I ended up believing, and I definitely felt like the weird one out religion-wise. I grew up in SE Portland, but I went to school with a TON of Evangelical Christians, which meant I ended up awkwardly hanging out during prayers during slumber parties and such. When I was younger I was just taught that everyone believed different things, though by late elementary school I definitely knew that some people, because of their religion, didn't like gay people or didn't think women should be able to have abortions and that was WRONG but also maybe I shouldn't talk about it at school that much. (I still did.)

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:31 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
He's a good kid, has solid values, and wants to do the right thing.


this is all i want for/from my kid.

you dont need religion to be a moral or ethical person and in my own experience im tired of people who look down on you because you dont believe in God/Jesus/whatever they believe in.

like it's bad that im not Christian but it's ok/good for them to eat tortured animals?

this world is wacky.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:02 pm 
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Shy Mox wrote:
annak wrote:
We didn't baptize V, but I can totally understand our parents' desire to do it... They want a ceremony and gathering that recognizes their grandchild as part of the community and celebrates his/her arrival. I thought about trying to do this in a nonreligious way and didn't come up with anything great.. I do like that the Nazarene church has a "welcome to our community of faith" ceremony at that age - they do baptisms later with the idea that the child should be old enough to know what he or she is getting into - it's not for me, but I like the idea and if I'd found a good solution for a secular ceremony I might have done one.


You can always create ceremonies! I did a class on the creation of new traditions, there's one I particularly like for Jewish girls, I don't know if this is done for everyone now but some Jewish women felt that baby girls needed an equivalent of a bris, so they came up with a baby naming ceremony to celebrate girls that is gaining in popularity.


Baby-naming as a synagogue ritual for newborn girls is actually hundreds of years old and up until modern times was absolutely universal among Jews, but the sort of at-home big event that parallels brit milah (bris) is relatively new (40-50 years) and there are a variety of different rituals now being used. It is almost ubiquitous at this point or if families don't do something like that, they make a huge deal out of the baby naming in the synagogue which used to be a fairly low-key event. We opted for a brit milah parallel and did it at home on the 8th day and didn't do a synagogue ritual at all.

I am a big fan of creating personal rituals and I think it really benefits everybody, including the areligious. Rituals are a good way to convey family values, culture, and tradition in a concrete way and they also help people feel safe, secure, and loved (think of bedtime rituals, for example). And it sort of concretizes important moments in your life - like hey, something is really happening here that is really important to our family. There's a Jewishly inclined site on creating new rituals (ritualwell.org) that might be a good resource if you're thinking of creating your own. When I was learning about this in seminary, our instructor suggested finding a (simple) way to bring in as many of the senses as possible in your ritual and then picking texts/music that communicates the value or change (like in a ritual for going to school for the first time, for getting your first period, for getting a driver's license, etc.) you're trying to create.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:18 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
FootFace wrote:
He's a good kid, has solid values, and wants to do the right thing.


this is all i want for/from my kid.

you dont need religion to be a moral or ethical person and in my own experience im tired of people who look down on you because you dont believe in God/Jesus/whatever they believe in.

like it's bad that im not Christian but it's ok/good for them to eat tortured animals?

this world is wacky.


I personally think the biggest benefit of religion is the community which many people find valuable. Whether that community is misguided is a different issue. For some it may have a negative impact, for others a positive. One thing you may find later in is ways to seek community with other children and it seems like there are a lot of ways to do that these days including sports clubs (like soccer), martial arts, girl scouts, etc. Sometimes I miss the sense of community I had when I sought out religions in my early days but I also sometimes really like being antisocial :)

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:01 pm 
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I'm so glad to see this thread. We've been struggling lately with how to deal with this issue already. We went to a playgroup last week at a local church, for instance, and while we've visited a couple of others, this one turned out to be decidedly "Jesus"-ey in some of the activities (songs, Bible storytime, etc.) However, Freya *loved* the playtime. I'm trying to find that balance, already at age one, between letting her join in and seeming like I endorse things which I don't ("God's love is the best love).

We have the same sort of issue with veganism too though...what do we do when it's time to sing "how much is that doggie in the window?", for instance.

I'm a little scared to visit my folks this summer cuz I think my mom may try and take the bean to VBS. :)


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:12 pm 
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"how much is the adoption fee for that doggie in the window?" :-)

(upon further thought, it can realistically be "let's go get that doggie from the shelter")

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Quote:
We have the same sort of issue with veganism too though...what do we do when it's time to sing "how much is that doggie in the window?", for instance.


Honestly, I just use everything as a jumping off point for conversation. I never realized how truly awful many nursery rhymes are until someone gave us a book of them and my kids asked me to read them. My daughter's absolute favorite goes, "The Queen of hearts/ she made some tarts/ All on a Summer's Day. The Knave of Hearts/ He stole the Tarts/ And took them Clean away. The Kind of hearts/ Called for the tarts/ And beat the Knave full sore. The Knave of hearts/ Brought back the tarts/ And vowed to steal no more." The problem is, my daughter can read, so she knows if I change the words. So I read the awful nursery rhymes as they are, and then we talk about how we don't behave that way. My DS loves a Dinosaur Book train which discusses that one of the dinosaurs is a carnivore. We talk about the fact that we are herbivores and some people are omnivores. He seems to get it.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:04 pm 
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We haven't had any flack for raising our children without religion, although neither of our immediate families are religious and most of my religious friends aren't pushy about it to me. But, man, not celebrating Christmas and not doing the whole Santa-thing really winds some people up!

My husband had a lot of religious education in his schools (West Midlands). I didn't, but I went to a Christian college (many of the kids at this school fit the in-your-face/outrageous-Christian stereotype, whereas before I enrolled, the only super-religions Christians I'd met just seemed really nice and wholesome, so it was a bit of a shocker for me) and certainly learned a bit there. Anyway, we're homeschooling (at least through primary school) and I was going to give the kids a secular education about the different major religions once they're older. I'm also planning to call the local (and by local, I mean Glasgow, as there seem to only be Christian churches out here) mosques, temples, etc. to see if my kids could have a look around and learn a little about their customs.

FootFace wrote:
I think tolerance is a wonderful thing, but it can be a strain to speak neutrally about certain important topics. Are religious people wrong? Well, I think they are. If I didn't think that, I'd be religious. Is eating animals a poor choice? Well, I think it is. If I didn't think that, I'd be an omnivore. Of course, I can think they're incorrect without thinking they're stupid, evil, dangerous, worthless, etc. (And it would be nice if more people in the majority had similarly tolerant views of those with minority opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles.)

Very very well said.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Shae has gotten a lot of flack over the years for not being religious. In second grade he told his (very religious) teacher, in front of his whole class, that he doesn't believe in god, he believes in actual science. Fortunately, she handled it really well and made him feel safe and secure with making his own choices.

Community is definetly the main issue for us. Every single thing revolves around church around here. Some things, we'll chalk up to learning experiences, but most we avoid. Shae has gone to youth group with a Methodist church a few times soley for the right to use their indoor soccer field after.

So far all Silas knows is the praying is the same thing as hoping for good things to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:12 pm 
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I was raised an athiest, and now we're raising an athiest kid. (My husband is an atheist and I'm a Buddhist now, but that basically doesn't count as religion.) Neither side of our immediate family cares about how we raise our kids, which is fortunate. When I was growing up the existence of religion was pretty much ignored in our family, until I got to an age where I became pretty contemptuous of it. Most of my feelings toward religion actually came from our Baptist neighbors who would tell us we were going to hell for not being baptized. That wasn't the best introduction to Christianity, and I really wish my parents had taught me about world religions and basic religious beliefs, because I feel like understanding people's beliefs really helps you get an understanding of our culture and people's motivation for their actions. And knowing the Bible is kind of like knowing Shakespeare, in my opinion. It's an important text that informs a lot of our current world and had a huge impact on history. I remember in 9th grade English we read Lard of the Flies and had to write a short essay on how Simon was a messianic figure, and while all the other people were talking about Golgotha and stuff I was like what the fizzle UNFAIR. I actually took up a real interest in religion in college and ended up majoring in Religious Studies (though with an Eastern emphasis), to the shock of my parents.

One thing I envy about believers is that they have a community where they can connect with others who are engaged in similar pursuits, they are prompted to give thought to and explore new ideas while critiquing old ones, and their values are reinforced (which can be for better or worse). Maybe I'm imagining church to be way better than it really is, but I kind of wish we had something like that as our kid(s) grow up. We've gone to the Unitarian church a few times because they are totally welcoming, never talk about God or a deity, have groups for all different beliefs from Wicca to Buddhism, and we like the emphasis on community and social justice, but it's all just a little weird still. I imagine it being good for Sven to be part of a community that holds those values, but from the comments here I'm guessing he would probably hate having to go to the service and would rather stay home and play video games on Sunday.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:22 pm 
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mandycoot wrote:
One thing I envy about believers is that they have a community where they can connect with others who are engaged in similar pursuits, they are prompted to give thought to and explore new ideas while critiquing old ones, and their values are reinforced (which can be for better or worse). Maybe I'm imagining church to be way better than it really is, but I kind of wish we had something like that as our kid(s) grow up.


Yup, that's pretty much it in my experience. Also, it often offers an easy way into helping other people (bringing meals to mourners, visiting the sick, working in soup kitchens, running homeless shelters, etc.) and doing justice work (especially in more urban areas where community organizing efforts are entirely a church affair, but even in our affluent suburban area we are frequently called on to help with justice work and specific problems that crop up in neighboring cities or in our town and our state marriage equality organization uses our congregation as a major hub).

Quote:
We've gone to the Unitarian church a few times because they are totally welcoming, never talk about God or a deity, have groups for all different beliefs from Wicca to Buddhism, and we like the emphasis on community and social justice, but it's all just a little weird still. I imagine it being good for Sven to be part of a community that holds those values, but from the comments here I'm guessing he would probably hate having to go to the service and would rather stay home and play video games on Sunday.


Totally depends on the kid. Some kids are way into it and if there's singing involved, musical kids are often into it. And sometimes that kind of thing is good for you even if you'd rather stay home and play video games. I have often thought that one of the most important skills worship teaches a person is how to sit still and be polite for a long stretch of time.

And I wouldn't have had a clue about messianism in high school, either.


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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:33 pm 
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Wow, from the comments from other people who were raised/are raising little heathens, I just must not have been paying any attention when I was little. No one told me I was going to hell until my sister-in-law started dating a homeschooled uber-Christian. Then again I was a shy kid attached to her mom's leg, and then I skated through junior high okay and then in high school all of my friends were potheads and bad kids.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:37 pm 
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mandycoot wrote:
And knowing the Bible is kind of like knowing Shakespeare, in my opinion. It's an important text that informs a lot of our current world and had a huge impact on history. I remember in 9th grade English we read Lard of the Flies and had to write a short essay on how Simon was a messianic figure, and while all the other people were talking about Golgotha and stuff I was like what the fizzle UNFAIR.


we read the bible (i think just the old testament) in my (public) high school as a work of literature of important historical-ness and i can tell you i learned not a thing.
the bible is insanely confusing and has 8000million different names in it! geesh!
i wonder if you need to be raised with it to understand or otherwise take an interest in it on your own cause i was totally lost.

i was just as lost reading the bible as i was whenever we did Shakespeare (so i feel your comparison is VERY apt!). for Shakespeare i could never get past the "old timey" language.

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 Post subject: Re: raising "godless" kids
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:45 pm 
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When I was a kid (Jewish, in a town with a modest-sized Jewish community but the vast majority of people Christian, mostly Catholic), I got a lot more grief from other kids about not believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny, and not celebrating Christmas and Easter, than I did about not believing in Jesus. But when and where I grew up, it seemed like everybody had some religion. Celebrating Christmas and Easter made you "Christian" in the eyes of most kids, no matter what you believed. I can remember people saying things like "We're Catholic, but we don't go to church or anything," and that made perfect sense, even in high school. Do kids nowadays really talk about what they believe that often? I remember, when I was little, my parents had pretty firm rules with me that I was not allowed to tell the Christian kids that Santa isn't real. All the Jewish kids I knew had those same rules. I don't remember anybody ever telling us not to talk to the other kids about Jesus, because that topic just never came up.


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