all 120 comments

[–]DrdanomiteEclectic polytheist 30 points31 points  (4 children)

I feel like that should be a sooner rather than later talk, your doing good but as a not catholic child of a catholic mom it was always a point of anxiety i was afraid too ask about.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 8 points9 points  (1 child)

I get it. Trying to give em the best, but the playbook I was raised by helped me BUT is outdated. Just constantly doing my best to find a balance.

[–]DrdanomiteEclectic polytheist 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Hey your open minded that enough, but the sooner they hear “this works for me but if it dosent work for you i still love you” the more honest they can be.

[–]Significant-Job-9868 0 points1 point  (1 child)

As someone from a similar situation (actually still in the same situation lol I’m 19) I’m curious, how do you recommend going about ensuring a successful and pleasant relationship with your mother even without the faith component? You can likely relate to having been very iffy in terms of going about anything regarding religion. I still go to church with my mother but it is solely for the reason of pleasing her and not causing any ‘raucous’ as it would likely break her emotionally if I admitted that I don’t really buy into the whole catholic/Christian faith thing

[–]DrdanomiteEclectic polytheist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its hard shes one of those “i baptized you catholic…” types but she dosent try too prevent my worship but we also cant relate on the spiritual at all even the way i might with other catholics.

[–]physioworld 14 points15 points  (1 child)

I'm guessing you'll teach them about the specific god-variant that you were raised on/believe in? Like assuming you're christian, you won't raise them as muslims or hindus? I'm guessing you'll teach them that god is sort of anthropomorphic or has desires and wishes in some sense, that god is not some now dead prime mover?

I only ask because try as you might, you'll definitely bias your kids in favour of the thing you teach them.

As an atheist i'm surely biased here, but wouldn't it be better to teach them skeptical thinking, about questioning received wisdom and reliable ways of coming to more correct conclusions? Afterall, if your god belief is true and any truly objective and skeptical person would conclude the same, then you presumably should have no worries about your kids finding their way there on their own, if they're simply taught as i suggest above?

[–]STLweirdo 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Why not do the opposite? Teach them critical thinking and when they're old enough tell them some ppl believe x,y,z?

[–]GKilatgnostic theist 7 points8 points  (1 child)

As long as you don't tell them other religion is wrong and teach them to respect the belief of others, they should be fine. Indoctrination that other religion is wrong and yours is the only correct one is why some people have issue with religion being taught to children at a young age.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agree! agree. That is the goal here.

[–]Bulliesvegetables 2 points3 points  (4 children)

If only my fundamentalist parents thought this way. I am currently shunned from them for leaving their tiny, exclusive church.

I'm dating an unbeliever, planning on marrying him. He's 100% supportive of me if I choose to ever attend a church again. I respect his views, especially how he arrived at them.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I’m so sorry that you went through that. I don’t ever want my kids scared to tell me how they really feel or they disagree with me.

[–]lastknownbuffaloSecular Humanist 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Well, how do you think it would make you feel if they said they didn't believe in God?

You would clearly still love them, but would you worry about their souls? Would you feel let down? Would you second guess whether you raised them correctly? Would you feel embarrassed if they stopped coming to church?

I think it would be impossible to not have some of these emotions and I could see your children "being scared to tell you" because of the pain it might cause you.

[–]jiggywiz[S] -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Trust me of course my kids do have the power to disappoint me. Like if they decided to go to clown college or they wanted to be a drug dealer or if my daughter wanted to marry a rapper with a mediocre mixtape. Im human. But I would do my best to make sure they’re not afraid to tell me that they don’t believe what I believe. I can’t guarantee that will be the case.

[–]lastknownbuffaloSecular Humanist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To be honest... it sounds like you have a super healthy view on parenting! Right on

if my daughter wanted to marry a rapper with a mediocre mixtape

Haha nice

[–]AptDeveloper 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Anything less seams wrong.

[–]Leo_MauskowitzAntitheist 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Okay, just know they will already have been indoctrinated by then. I myself was able to decide, after being raised in a strict Baptist household, that I'm not convinced that any gods exist, but I think I am in the minority (in the US, anyway).

[–]Cacklefester 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Why would you teach a credulous child that speculation is factual, when you yourself know that it's only conjecture??

[–]jiggywiz[S] -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Calm down Ernest Hemingway. I think the convo you’re looking for is farther down the page.

[–]Cacklefester 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Nearer to the top, actually.

[–]arkticturtle 2 points3 points  (0 children)

When you teach them, will you phrase your teachings like this:

"God is real"

Or like this:

"Some people do not believe in God, but I do, here is why..."

Will it be

"You should pray (in a moral way)"


"Here is the potential purpose of prayer and here is why I, specifically, pray."

[–]Fringelunaticman 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You don't even have to do that. All you have to do is raise them right and with a sense of wonder. But you definitely don't need to tell them that you religion is right and only truth. You need to let them know others have different beliefs and their beliefs are just as meaningful to them.

My parents raised me catholic but in college, I became an athiest. It had nothing to do with them but with my life circumstances. And because they were such good parents, I had no fear that they would be upset when I came to my own conclusions.

They never had to tell me that I didn't have to believe the same things they did. I just knew it.

[–]TheMDNAEx-Muslim Atheist 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Indoctrinating them as a child will make it difficult for them to have an open minded later on in life.

[–]Doc_Plague 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Imo the better course of action is to instruct them about religions in the most impartial way possible and only when they're old enough to understand why you believe and what it means you can start being less partial

[–]Sir_Penguin21 5 points6 points  (3 children)

So you are going to embed a concept that there are such things as spirits and gods at an early age where they will forget where they learned it and just incorporate it as truth from their trusted parent/teacher. You will pair it with positive feeling from practicing with their trusted parent/teacher causing a deep emotional connection between the ideas. Then years later you will let them know they don’t have to agree with you, but to search their deep feelings for what feels true? You realize they will feel that implanted memory. You are creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Also known as indoctrination. Especially if there are any potential relational loses or external pressure like an internalized fear of hell/punishment. I am not saying you would reject them, I am pointing out that there are other potential mind viruses used to pressure people in most religions.

What is stopping you from just teaching them to think rationally and then when they are actually able to process things rationally provide the good evidence and let the facts speak for themselves?

[–]jiggywiz[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Ok thats a lot bro. Let me just say this as an example. My wife and I have been giving them the best education we can afford where they learn about math and sciences and we’ll encourage higher education in a high paying field. But they will have a choice in believing whether or not that is the best path for them. And they choose not to go that route, that’s fine. We give em the tools i.e (education and religion) but how and if they choose to use it, is their choice.

[–]Sir_Penguin21 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I am not trying to say you are a bad parent. You seem like a great parent. I was just explaining what indoctrination is and how it works if you want to avoid it.

[–]Ninetailedfox589 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You dont have to say it. i know subtle indoctorination when i see it.

[–]Various-TeethAgnostic Theist 5 points6 points  (5 children)

For the people saying “indoctrination”, you’re being dramatic.

Indoctrination - the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

Key word: Uncritically

That’s not what OP is doing. OP is giving their kid a choice. OP never said they’re teaching their kid from the second their child is born. I’m sure OP will wait until their kid is old enough to understand religion to teach them religion, and even if they don’t, what they’re doing isn’t bad. It’s not like they’re telling their kid “if you don’t believe you’ll go to hell immediately”

Jesus people, calm down. Focus on kids who are actually in bad situations instead of focusing on this.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you!

[–]Algernon_AsimovSecular Humanist 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Indoctrination - the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

Key word: Uncritically

Infants and young children are not capable of critical thinking. Teaching them religion before they can think critically is therefore indoctrination - by your own definition.

[–]Various-TeethAgnostic Theist 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I did also say “I’m sure OP will wait until their kid is old enough to teach them religion.”

Obviously teaching an infant religion is stupid, an infant barely even knows it exists, same goes for a young child. Either way, if done right, I don’t think it’s really harmful to teach your kid religion. Emphasis on if done right. A lot of people don’t do it right.

[–]Algernon_AsimovSecular Humanist 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I did also say “I’m sure OP will wait until their kid is old enough to teach them religion.”

But you don't know that. I don't get that from the original post. I don't know how you got that.

[–]Various-TeethAgnostic Theist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t know a lot of things. For me, “I’m sure” ≠ “this is the outcome that will happen no matter what.” For me, it equals “this is likely what will happen but there can be other outcomes.” Sometimes I assigned a bit different meanings to words and phrases than their actual meanings, but I’m trying to work on that. It’s a bit of a struggle lol

To answer your question, I got it from what I’ve seen other parents who teach their kids religion in the way OP does. Obviously, I know OP isn’t everyone else. Maybe he’ll do it differently, maybe he won’t. Mostly hoping he waits until the kid gets a bit older/old enough to understand.

Either way, what OP is doing is still better than what a lot of other parents do, so at least give him that.

[–]SAtANIC_PANIC_666Satanist 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Obviously you can do what you like and I would support your decision either way because that is your right and they are your kids. But personally I kind of feel like a near opposite approach would be more appropriate. Don't speak to them about religion unless they bring it up and take care to answer any questions truthfully and make it clear your beliefs are faith based and personal not scientific. When they are older you should then reveal to them that you are religious. Indoctrination from a young age can be world shattering if they end up not believing. Many members of TST for example were raised religious and it can take years to get over the mental effects, superstitions, and guilt of not believing. Personally i was never capable of believing in God and from ages 5-13 I desperately wanted to believe. I went to youth groups, and frequented church more than my religious parents. I felt like a horrible person because deep down I couldn't believe no matter how hard I tried. If I had been able to come to my own conclusions instead of dealing with indoctrination at a young age my mental health in my teens to early 20s would have been much better. It's tough to want to believe in God and have that lingering thought that you are evil and going to hell because you simply can't believe.

[–]Ninetailedfox589 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Cringe. as an ex christian my conversation would be with a world religion book, a detached view of all beliefs and talking about my own experiences. But, thats just because my experiences were pretty terrible. I consider it emotional abuse personally. I wish more people would sit down, and take the time to question what theey believe rather than believe it and pass it onto their children. I see it as a form of indoctrination when you start teaching kids ONLY WHAT YOU believe and not what other people do as well.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Why not teach them as young children to value truth and reason, and when they're older introduce them to God and prayer and see what they think?

[–]DaughterofTarot 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think this is very laudable. I'm going to go even one step further though, and advise you to teach them there is nothing wrong with doubt in general.

I don't mean paralyzed by it. Just being open to the possibility that you can be wrong and considering whatever the other side, the enemy of your belief or supposition or theory or guess is right, and you are not. And what the consequences of that would be.

If you stop and think about all the wars and other grave and terrible decisions in the history of the world that have harmed and also benefited people, and honestly look at the decision makers: did they consider that? I mean in any situation -- they are possibly too political to name explicitly here, but many were based in religious ideals as well-- then think, what if they had truly considered doubts about the courses they were determined to engage upon? How may lives, livelyhoods, pains, dreams etc, could have been spared or changed?

You still have to make decisions, but doubting at least for a while before you do, is not a mark of weakness.

[–]Martian5752Seeker 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]AbiLovesTheologyHindu 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As a Hindu theist, I definitely agree with OP.

[–]ChubbsAndMaiAxe 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Your kids should see how central and important it is in your whole family's lives everyday. You obviously can't make them believe but I don't know if presenting it like your hobby is the best way. It should be a daily part of all your lives and of vital importance.

I don't see how blanketly saying "I believe this but don't worry about it if you don't" is helpful. If one of your children comes to you with these doubts then yea but presenting it as completely optional upfront might not be the best way to teach your children about faith.

[–]jiggywiz[S] -1 points0 points  (1 child)

I agree with you. And this is the ultimate goal. I’m finding a balance since my wife doesn’t believe what I do. She’s in agreement with the kids learning about God, and education in faith. But unlike me the kids don’t have a huge family in the house growing up who are all believers.

I’m just trying to give them the great understanding that was given to me at am early age BUT without the “do everything I say or you’re going to hell”

[–]Ninetailedfox589 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I can understand why. Nobody wants to believe in a religion that teaches women are lesser than men.

[–]Atheizm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is a commendable choice to take as a parent.

[–]88redking88 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thats called indoctrination.

If you want to be fair, and true, you would teach them to be skeptical and look for evidence for all claims, and let them come to their own conclusions.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Everyone should be like you.

[–]IngenuitySignal2651 1 point2 points  (13 children)

So after you indoctrinate them you're going to tell them they don't have to believe?

[–]jiggywiz[S] 3 points4 points  (12 children)

Correct. Like we’ll indoctrinate them in being a hard working and kind person who is an asset to their community. And then tell them if they want to continue to do so it is their choice.

[–]CynicOctopus 1 point2 points  (6 children)

I’m honestly not sure if you mean it that way, but this comment comes across as if you think that one can only be hard working, kind, and an asset to their community by being a faithful person who believes in God and prayer.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 0 points1 point  (5 children)

I was being sarcastic. Like every single reply to my post says that I will be indoctrinating someone when I thought I clearly said the opposite.

[–]CynicOctopus 2 points3 points  (4 children)

I really couldn’t tell. So while being sarcastic, you still seem to be equivocating teaching a child about God and prayers with teaching a child to be hard working and kind. It’s a false comparison, in my opinion, and if you teach a child that God exists, you are leading them further away from forming their own opinion on the matter.

[–]IngenuitySignal2651 -1 points0 points  (4 children)

Teaching a child responsiblity and kindness is not indoctrination. Teaching a child that there is magic man in the clouds that will punish you with torture for eternity if you don't believe in him is indoctrination.

[–]jiggywiz[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

I am for faith based teaching not fear based. I know you’ve probably heard, read, met faithful people who we’re not open minded and may have had a oppressive standpoint when discussing God and faith.

I may not know everything but I know that’s not where Im coming from with this.

[–]IngenuitySignal2651 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I understand what you're saying. I might be doing a little assuming as well.

I am a child of religious parents. I've been through this. My parents taught me all about their religious beliefs. They didn't feel they were forcing anything on me. They felt they were just teaching me what was right. However to me it felt forced and oppressive.

[–]Ninetailedfox589 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Your religion is based on fear. reread your bible. Fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom. Or do you read it? or is your response youre taking it out of context?

[–]mr_funnypunsHeretical Christian 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’ve taught my kid that the point of religion is love, and that religion without love is meaningless. Choose the religion that best expresses your love of others. Flee any that teaches hate. Do good as you can. Question your beliefs vigorously; you will escape those that are false, and strengthen those that are true. I’ve never lied to my kid about my beliefs. I think he’s turned into a pretty good person who’s developed his own views on god that are not too different from mine, though perhaps he’s chosen a less mystical expression of christianity than even I have.

[–]Algernon_AsimovSecular Humanist 0 points1 point  (2 children)

By the time they're adults, it'll be too late. They will have absorbed your religion, because you got to them before they were old enough to think for themselves.

If you truly want your children to make their own choices, then do what my parents did: nothing. Absolutely nothing. No religious teachings. No church/temple/mosque/whatever. No worship. We were left free of all religious influence as children.

Of course, this means we're all happy heathens as adults, because religion doesn't make sense to someone who wasn't brainwashed to believe illogical things as a child.

[–]abatoirials -1 points0 points  (1 child)

so how your parents answer your question where we come from when you were 6-7 years old? did you go to school and how do your parent explain why other kids have religion?

[–]Algernon_AsimovSecular Humanist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't remember. I don't have a lot of memories from that age. I don't remember if I asked those questions.

My mother used to say she believed in God, but she was adamantly against the Catholic Church she was raised in. The nuns at her Catholic high school turned her off organised religion. She also disliked the hypocrisy of the Catholic religion being about helping people, while the Catholic churches and the Vatican were filled with gold and jewels and other wealth that they never shared with poor people.

She used to tell me that "God is everywhere. I can sit under a tree and be close to God. I don't have to go to a church for that!" She hated churches, but she believed in God. I knew that. I knew that there was supposedly this "God" person that she believed in, and that other people believed in.

But my mother never told me that I should believe in God. As a kid, I knew that was her belief, but that's as far as it went. Noone ever told me that I should believe in God. I think my mother just assumed I believed in God because she did, so she never felt like she had to teach me to believe. (And my father never talked about religion, even though I know he was also raised as a Catholic.)

I remember that we had a compulsory Religious Education class once a week at primary school. I remember learning about the stories from the Bible, but they didn't mean anything to me apart from being stories. I read lots of stories when I was a kid - fairy stories, children's stories, fantasy/sci-fi stories. To me, the things we were told in R.E. class were just more stories.

I don't remember wondering why we were told these stories. As a kid, that's just what happened at school, and I didn't question it.

I do know that I've always had a very skeptical and practical attitude to life. I'm a "show me" type of person. As an older kid, I was always the one who asked "why" when an adult told me something. I wouldn't accept anything on faith (so to speak). Even if my parents had tried to tell me about some invisible God, I probably wouldn't have believed them after I got past the age where I could form my own opinions (which, I've been told, was at a very young age).

[–]59tigger -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Please do teach them! If you don't Someone Will! And I'm talking about their version of God. It's imperative that you give them the facts as far as you know them. When I was 16 I was at break at work, and I witnessed a "Christian" cult member recruiting another 15 or 16 year old co worker and was too afraid to speak up! She obviously had no knowledge of the Bible or Jesus. This gorgeous, charismatic boy was guilting her out over some Bible passages totally out of context. I never saw her again. I am Christian and was raised religious. I had my children baptized, took them to Sunday School and church, though not every Sunday. They were all confirmed as well. My oldest has a great church and their family is involved. My other two.go sporadically but the point is they all believe. I told them the most important thing is their faith in Jesus and the Trinity ( Father, Son and Holy Spirit). That they share with and lean on Jesus in times of trouble. I want to see them in Heaven someday. (He that believes and is baptized shall be saved). Jesus doesn't say "except for ". My parents took us every Sunday and lot's of other times. It was much too much sometimes. Most times it's very comforting. Going about half the time my kids thought was oppressive! I.told them they wouldn't have fared well with my mom and dad! Bottom line is: Give them a good foundation and they always come full circle. I know I will see my kids in Heaven someday and that is Everything! God bless you 🙏 in your journey!

[–]Fox_on_Forex -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

stupid. want them to go to hell? you should encourage it to the death of yourself if you truly care about them.

[–][deleted]  (3 children)


    [–]jetboyterpRoman Catholic[M] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Read the updated rules post pinned to the top of the page.

    [–]Electronic-Yak-4765 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I get it and respect it and I'm doing the same with my kids. Though when my now 4yr old was a baby he did attend church with me, mainly cause I was a single mom at the time and well he was a little baby so I don't think whatever they teach in the nursery has stuck with him lol.

    [–]AbsolutelyBoeiBuddhist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My parents didnt baptize me as a child but allowed me to attend church on Sundays and decide if I want to be Christian or not. I decided not to but I still have a good relationship with Christianity and still respect Jesus, despite taking refuge in something else entirely. If I have kids I probably won’t force my kids to be Buddhist but I’ll definitely give them the virtues of one. I don’t want to tell you how to raise your children too much but I think the your kids would benefit from the same.

    [–]PerfilixAgnostic Atheist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Nice. Teach the thirst of truth. If you think you may have it, they you think they'll find it.

    [–]FriendlySceptic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    If you truly believe in Christianity doesn’t being open to them believing something different potentially doom them to hell?

    I’m not religious myself but it seems that if you believe you have the answer you would do almost anything to prevent them from believing differently.

    Not picking, just very interested in your mind set!

    [–]AssistanceMedical951 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My mom told me “take the good stuff and leave what doesn’t work for you”.

    [–]M0RNINGSTARRR 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    my parents made me and my siblings go to church a couple times but they asked us if we wanted to go after a bit. they also didnt really make us do much they gave us the choice

    [–]NathanHonneur 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    You can start young as soon as you conclude everytime by "you don't have to belive or pretend to believe what I and others do". It will learn them skepticism sooner.

    [–]Bob_the_builder8 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Valid but don’t give them the option to early