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← Guidance in turning my children to reason

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Ted Foureagles

I have never been religious, and so can't understand the depth to which it can affect a person. However, my Father was an atheist and my mother a Christian. I was almost 4 when I rebelled against going to church with Mom -- it seemed that the adults there were acting crazy, and it scared me (I had just figured out the Santa Claus scam and that adults could and would lie to me). Mom, who always valued freedom of conscience over dogma, posed a compromise: In return for not attending church, I was to read the Bible first word to last, and be prepared to discuss it with her each night. Her reasoning was, "You needn't be pious but you shouldn't be ignorant". It took me two solid years to get through that strange damned book, and I was a convinced atheist by age 6. Mom accepted this and never tried to convert me. We remained close throughout her life, and I think that our almost nightly Bible discussions helped that while they moved me away from her faith.

I relate this because I imagine that your wife, whatever her beliefs about her children’s ‘salvation’, may fear alienation from them if they leave her faith. That she is supportive of your atheism speaks well of her and of your relationship, but no one wants to feel alone in their own family. I suspect that you are sensitive to not wanting your children to have to choose between Dad’s way and Mom’s. Perhaps there is some non-combative way to include her and her faith in your attempt to teach your children values of reason. I doubt that it would be easy, but the potential outcome could be much better than a house divided. Best wishes! I, for one, would be interested in hearing how it goes. By the way, my wife was Mormon and it was, well, difficult.

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Mon, 06 Aug 2012 19:22:58 UTC | #950454