Atheism and Raising Children
Posted: 12 October 2007 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-12

Hello, this is my first post in any forum related to atheism, and it comes directly after reading Sam’s book ” Letter to a Christian Nation”. I have many here waiting to read, which include RD/CH/DD/BR, etc, but just can’t express how great Sam’s “little book” hit home for me.

Real brief, I sat in church most of my life listening to someone tell me how to live, and where I was going to go if I didn’t follow, which I didn’t “follow” in my mind! I sat there knowing all the different beliefs that existed in the world, and wondered why yours is right? What about the other people that believe, in what they believe? Then I read about 99% of scientists are non-believers, and this led me here as I speak.

This is my question, and I told my wife I’d post it for peer-review here with like-minds. My son asked me to do a paper on God vs Evolution because he’s confused about his school telling him evolution is false theory, and this is my fault because I sent him to a Lutheran school. Until I had kids I’d never thought this would pose a problem, but my God(pun) did it ever.

I’ve spent my time bustin’ up the Bible without the likes of SH/RD/CH,etc, b/c I knew they would help to do it easier then I could do, and Sam hit home with my theory, really hit home.

How do I continue at this point, with a wife that’s all about believing, a family that thinks I’m the devil, a school that is blind to knowledge, and everything inbetween? I responded to those people in the only way I could, ” if hell does exist, I’ll be dam proud to be there with all 99% of scientists(and others) that are honest and work hard to think clear. My wife said “you won’t have the time to talk to them,you’ll be burning”. I said ” bullshit, I’ll get breaks and a lunch”. It must be Union!


Thank you for listening, Tim Friede(this feels dam good to get off my chest).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2007 01:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2168
Joined  2005-11-15

First of all, nice to meetcha : )! Now take some deep breaths, because it sounds like you are just ALL fired up over there. . . which is totally understandable.

Let me assure you that you’re certainly not the only person living with a spouse who believes in stuff that you don’t buy into. . . and who has a child to consider. I’m not one of those people, but there are several who post here, and they seem to have managed it all just fine. Probably not without considerable challenge, but still : ). 

Apart from browsing this forum, maybe have a look over at Internet Infidels, since they tend to talk a great deal about [believer] family and friend issues there, not to mention the challenges of raising a child when the parents may not be in full agreement about what he’s to be taught. Their Secular Lifestyles subforum is towards the bottom of this link:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/

[ Edited: 13 October 2007 01:36 PM by Mia]
 Signature 


Welcome to Planet Earth, where Belief masquerades as Knowledge!

This way to the Unasked Questions—->
<—- This way to the Unquestioned Answers

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-12

Point taken, and thanks for the info. Had a bad day!!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 October 2007 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  27
Joined  2006-11-24
Tim Friede - 13 October 2007 12:56 AM

This is my question, and I told my wife I’d post it for peer-review here with like-minds. My son asked me to do a paper on God vs Evolution because he’s confused about his school telling him evolution is false theory, and this is my fault because I sent him to a Lutheran school. Until I had kids I’d never thought this would pose a problem, but my God(pun) did it ever.

I’ve spent my time bustin’ up the Bible without the likes of SH/RD/CH,etc, b/c I knew they would help to do it easier then I could do, and Sam hit home with my theory, really hit home.

How do I continue at this point, with a wife that’s all about believing, a family that thinks I’m the devil, a school that is blind to knowledge, and everything inbetween? I responded to those people in the only way I could, ” if hell does exist, I’ll be dam proud to be there with all 99% of scientists(and others) that are honest and work hard to think clear. My wife said “you won’t have the time to talk to them,you’ll be burning”. I said ” bullshit, I’ll get breaks and a lunch”. It must be Union!

Tim,

Welcome to the forum!  I hope you find help here and elsewhere.  You are clearly in a tough spot.  I am lucky.  My wife and I have never been religious (since we were teenagers), although her family is devout Roman Catholic and mine was Protestant.  We have three children whom we never took to church.  They are good, wonderful children who know right from wrong, but haven’t been burdened with the fear of going to Hell and all the other baggage that religion makes us carry.  I can tell you from experience that children do not need religious dogma to turn out fine.  They need good and loving parents to serve as models and an educational system that encourages critical thinking and rationality (rather than blind faith and superstition).

I wish I could give you some easy answers.  Has your wife read “Letter from a Christian Nation” or “The God Delusion”?  There are so many good books on religious belief.  One that I liked that is a pretty easy read but covers lots of ground is “Atheist Universe” by David Mills.

The best weapon against the absurdity of religion is information and rational thinking.  If she is open to dialog, maybe you have a chance.  Talking is the only way out of this abyss.  Is moving your children to a public or secular private school an option?  You have to continue to do what you are doing with your children.  Give them the information.  Kids are smart.  If they see that you are a non-believer and a good person, they will begin to put together the logic that one doesn’t have to believe in unseen gods and that non-belief is not evil, just a rational way of looking at the world.

Freedom from religion is liberating.  I hope you and your family find your way there.  Best of luck.

curve_ball

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2007 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2007-04-13

Tim,

  I enjoyed reading what you posted. Perhaps aside from the issues addressed, there are some neighbours/friends/acquaintances that frown upon your decision. I personally believe it is intellectually unhealthy to claim you know there is no God. However, as many would agree here, it is also intellectually unhealthy to claim you know there is one. This fairly simplistic reasoning has halted alot of religious conversations in a hurry. Just a thought.

All the best to you

Pete

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2007 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-12

Curveball/Pete, I started my wife out with the Dawkins/Harris debates, and frankly, she started to sweet and wiggle all around in a frenzy. She could only make it 5 mins. Then things went in a bad direction, and I could almost sense she believed it b/c they spell things out so well(I know she did).

She said she will read Sam’s book, and so will my son. The GD might be to heavy at this time. They made these decisions on their own, because I’ve vowed not to push. At this point I need to educate myself better on the subject, and calmly/smartly pass on what I feel is important in a tactful manner. I need to work on that. I guess I owe that to Darwin(or any logical thinker).

School at this point is a tough nut to crack, and I’ve decided to let my 11 year old finish up at his current Lutheran facility, because he’s partially done, but more harm might be done if I pull him out know. My second will be going somewhere else.

I was real nervous posting what I did(with my real name), but I’ve never felt more free. Long time coming. The only reason I did is because at the very moment I shut Sam’s book,my son walked in and said ” dad, do you know what the teacher said to me about evolution, shut the book on it”(literally). My first post was a direct correlation to that moment. I guess turning to this place helped me vent that very moment in time.


Many thanks for taking the time to respond. TF

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2007 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  12
Joined  2007-04-13

Hey Tim,

  I’m glad this emancipation has been brought about with some conviction on your behalf. Everyone admires conviction. I guess Christopher Hitchens is right in saying it is a ‘celestial dictatorship’. Sometimes you can be in such deep thought, contemplating the things that matter the most, and all it takes is someone like Sam Harris to be the purveyor of a crystalline clear way of thinking that represents what you’ve been thinking for a long time.

Pete

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2007 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-12

That’s as clear as clear can be! The obvious needs no more attention, and that’s why I’m enjoy this place(and others). TF

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2007 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17

Tim, I can appreciate your problem and can’t really offer any immediate fix but a good start would be getting the book “Prisons We Choose to Live Inside” by Doris Lessing (the new Nobel Prize winner in Literature).  It is a short book (100 pages or so), the text of a series of radio lectures she gave for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) in 1985, and deals directly with issues of rationality and belief.  Read it, and then give it to your wife to read.  I think she will find it far less threatening, and more persuasive than Sam Harris.  Save it for your son when he reaches 10th or 11th grade.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2007 02:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  119
Joined  2006-10-29

You might consider offering books that are a bit less threatening. Either Dan Barker’s or Julia Sweney’s books come to mind. Both are intimate experiences about their own deconversions and are probably less likely to put your wife off.

[ Edited: 15 October 2007 02:34 AM by Andrew_S]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2007 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-12

Thanks, will do.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed