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← Guidance in turning my children to reason

SS's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by SS

Your story is eerily similar to my own, I was also raised in the Mormon church, I have 5 kids and my wife still takes them to church.

I became openly atheist about 2 years ago so I'm still going through the same aches and pains you are about to experience. I have tried a lot of different approaches that didn't turn out so well, but here are a couple things I have learned.

Don't force anything and don't make any ultimatums, these will only make things worse. If you think about your own path to atheism, the time that it took and the self-searching needed to come to the conclusions you now have, you can easily recognize that no one made you an atheist; it was something you had to grow into. Being able to admit that everything you were taught and everything you hoped for might be a lie is not easy and takes an extreme amount of courage. Give your wife as much time and space as she needs.

Also be mindful of how your kids are going to look at things, especially the older ones, not long ago you were the one taking them to church and sitting next to them singing hymns. Now you are telling them that it’s all a lie, that the promises of religion and the idea of god(s) are not real. This can be very difficult for them to understand, especially since your wife may be telling them the opposite; besides, it’s much more rewarding to talk to them about science, evolution, physics and astronomy and I love to see my kids get excited about life how and much there is to learn and experience. Teaching them critical thinking skills will go a lot further than picking on a specific point of religion. In fact, the most productive talks I have had with my kids about religion is when they ask me questions rather than me going out of my way to expose them to its fallacies. Ironically, some of the best talks we have had are when they get home from church and ask me what I think of a lesson they had or even better, when they tell me they didn't agree with what they were teaching in class.

Anyway, I am no expert and I know everyone's situation is different, but hang in there; things should get better over time. My wife and I have found a lot of common ground and understand each other better than we ever have before and my kids have gone from saying "I know the church is true" to "I'm not sure and I’m still thinking about it.".

I wish you the best of luck.

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 21:15:39 UTC | #950632