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The appropriate way to teach kids about religion


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  #1  
August 6th, 2012, 04:18 PM
Frozenoj's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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A comic by The Oatmeal has sparked discussion about the appropriate way to teach your kids about your religion (and possibly others). http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-i...rite_color.pngWhat do you think? Should parents teach their religion as THE truth from birth? Or should they do more like the dad did in the last panel? Should religious exploration be encouraged?
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  #2  
August 6th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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I personally am going to raise my daughter as a Christian. "Should" is a dangerous word. What works for some people doesn't work for others. Some people probably don't think I "should" raise my daughter to believe that Christianity is truth, and others might. Christianity is truth to me. It's what I believe in, so I believe the right thing to do is raise my daughter in that religion as well. If someday she decides that Christianity isn't right for her, it will probably hurt me, because I'm going through that right now with my husband and it DOES hurt me, but he has agreed that even though he is angry with God, we should still raise our daughter a Christian, but it wouldn't make me love her any less.
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  #3  
August 6th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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I believe in a lot of things, a little from each faith, as well as science. I will not be teaching my children 1 faith and that it's truth, because I feel that nothing is truth in that sense and there is a lot of grey area. I encourage my children to explore all types of faith, as well as science, and make up their own minds. This could take a year or their whole lives.
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  #4  
August 6th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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I believe that children should be introduced to numerous religions and should not be taught that one way is the "right" way. I believe they should make a decision on what to follow when they are old enough to decide on their own, with influences from a variety of places, not just the home.
I am an atheist and my husband is a Christian. My kids go to VBS, but we do not go to church on a regular basis. If DH ever decides he wants to go back to church, I would let him take the girls if/when they wanted to go. They will also learn about my lack of belief eventually. I also use every opportunity to talk to them about other religions. I am definitely the last "dad" in the cartoon.
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  #5  
August 6th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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For me, it's about the last dad in the cartoon. I'm a big fan of teaching kids about all religions and then letting them decide which, if any, is right for them. The best way to do things, IMO, is to give a child all options and let them follow their own path. Another key factor to all of that is to teach a child to respect all religions and the people who believe in each one.
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  #6  
August 6th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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I think that it's impossible for anyone to really know the truth until they die. I have beliefs about what I feel to be true, but I know I could be wrong. If I am, I don't want my kids to also be wrong just because I told them my truth was the truth, you know? I want them to figure out for themselves what they think is true as their salvation (if there is such a thing) is ultimately up to them.

So I will tell them what I believe to be true, and give them my reasons for believing so, but I will let them explore other religions if they want to. I don't think I want them going to any church for the first several years of their lives though, until they can start to see the difference between reality and make-believe. Little kids will believe pretty much anything you tell them.
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  #7  
August 6th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with the idea of comparing religions to colors- it's completely different to me. Saying your favorite color is Green is not the same as believing in something with your whole heart.

I intend on bringing them up in Church, teaching them how I believe. If when they grow up, they decide not to follow that, so be it. But I will take them to Church and teaching them according to the Bible.
I am going to teach them about other religions though, I do feel that they should know what else is out there.
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  #8  
August 6th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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The more my son is exposed to all kinds of religions, spirituality, and faith, the more confident he will be in whatever decision he decides in the end.
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  #9  
August 6th, 2012, 07:51 PM
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I am a strong supporter of exploration when it comes to this. I encourage my children to learn and explore, and I teach them along the way. I would feel like a failure as a parent, in this aspect, if I took a "my truth is the right truth" path, regardless of my convictions, and did not give them the tools or room to grow and learn on their own too.
People who are given room to explore and learn about others, including religion, are more likely to be understanding, and accepting of others, imo. I simply cannot imagine not wanting this for my children.
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  #10  
August 6th, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May14th2011 View Post
I'm not sure I agree with the idea of comparing religions to colors- it's completely different to me. Saying your favorite color is Green is not the same as believing in something with your whole heart.

I intend on bringing them up in Church, teaching them how I believe. If when they grow up, they decide not to follow that, so be it. But I will take them to Church and teaching them according to the Bible.
I am going to teach them about other religions though, I do feel that they should know what else is out there.
They aren't comparing religion to colors. What they are trying to convey is that you wouldn't ever force something on your child that they didn't believe in (in the example, they used a color. Could have been a tv show, or a song, or a food.. it's not important). So why would a parent force their child to believe in a religion with out giving them the opportunity to make the decision for them self?


DH is not a believer, but he's not an atheist either. He will tell you he is just a free thinker. He will happily tell his son that when people die they go to Heaven, because it makes Reme happy. If telling him we all go to Hell made him happy, we'd do that too. We have touched on religion, his grandmother and I are the only people in his life who have true faith (and saying that about me is pushing it really), he is very curious about Jesus, and God, and the other figures he hears about. I have permission to be fully open and honest with him. But he also asks about other religious (not in the most PC of ways sometimes) and is very interested in how different people are. He isn't being raised one way or the other, his future sibs won't be either (they will be baptized, but that's out of my family tradition and not religious belief).. they'll never hear (at least from us) that any other religion is wronger than the next, though the practices of some that restrict women probably should never be taught by their father....

Raising my kids with religion means I have to go to church. And while I do find comfort in my faith, I despise church. I just do not have the attention span for it. And I refuse to be my mother by sending them and not going myself....
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  #11  
August 6th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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I'm surprised so few people are saying they will be raising their kids x-religion! I think it's fine people are letting their kids explore and decide for themselves (as that's what I plan to do), I just didn't expect it. Maybe that's because I live in the bible belt.
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  #12  
August 7th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozenoj View Post
I'm surprised so few people are saying they will be raising their kids x-religion! I think it's fine people are letting their kids explore and decide for themselves (as that's what I plan to do), I just didn't expect it. Maybe that's because I live in the bible belt.
I was raised Anglican. I've attended services in many faiths since my friends come from all over, and a Saturday Sleepover meant church with their family on Sunday. No biggie. But despite Sunday school, being a taper, crucifer, server, singing in choir, being a reader, regular services... I had no faith. It was forced on me. I went because I HAD to.

i don't want to be that kind of mom. We called ours a hypocrite. We had to go to services, she got to stay home and enjoy an hour of peace and quiet. She went to church 3x a year (two Sunday school concerts and Christmas eve service)... and we found it very hard to accept.

Now I'm an adult, I have found comfort in faith (I say faith rather than religion because it's more of a relationship with God vs a relationship with a church or the bible). But I still do not like going to church.
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  #13  
August 7th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plan4fate View Post
I was raised Anglican. I've attended services in many faiths since my friends come from all over, and a Saturday Sleepover meant church with their family on Sunday. No biggie. But despite Sunday school, being a taper, crucifer, server, singing in choir, being a reader, regular services... I had no faith. It was forced on me. I went because I HAD to.

i don't want to be that kind of mom. We called ours a hypocrite. We had to go to services, she got to stay home and enjoy an hour of peace and quiet. She went to church 3x a year (two Sunday school concerts and Christmas eve service)... and we found it very hard to accept.

Now I'm an adult, I have found comfort in faith (I say faith rather than religion because it's more of a relationship with God vs a relationship with a church or the bible). But I still do not like going to church.
Church is honestly one of the biggest turn offs for most people. It is the reason DH doesn't do anything religion/faith related now. For a long time, I rebelled against everything that had to do with being Christian because of church and the people in it.
But like you said, there's a difference between Faith and church.
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  #15  
August 7th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May14th2011 View Post
Church is honestly one of the biggest turn offs for most people. It is the reason DH doesn't do anything religion/faith related now. For a long time, I rebelled against everything that had to do with being Christian because of church and the people in it.
But like you said, there's a difference between Faith and church.
I read "The Shack" a few years back, during a really awful point in my life and it really changed me. The guy who wrote it... made more sense to me than 25ish years of teachings from church. Go figure? I think my father dying shortly after gave me a bit of a push, the idea that he was gone, for ever, and nothing remained... just didn't work for me. Hence, heaven. Reme has a stillborn uncle in heaven, and he talks about him a lot... so the idea of Heaven (aka an afterlife of any kind) just works in our house.


I don't mind going to church once in a while... I like hymns, I like the social aspect of it. I will baptize my children (DH is allowing it, but he won't be attending the service because they'll require him to get up and "lie"), but it's mostly because it's important to my grandmother (who is my world). But I just get so freaking BORED in church.. gah, I have the attention span of a 2 year old.


I just feel that if God wanted me to go to church, he'd give me a good sign to do so. So far, nothing. I lost a lot of faith in the bible when I did some research into how often it has been changed to suit someone's opinion (like King James).


I'd never stop my children from going to church if that is what they want. Like Purly Rocker I'd have to draw the line at something cultish however, at least while they live at home.
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  #16  
August 7th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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We raise our children in our faith. We believe it to be the truth and so we raise them that way. Of course they already are, and will continue to be exposed, to other faiths and religions - we don't live in a bubble. Just because something isn't universally accepted to be the truth doesn't mean we don't teach it to be so. We are raising our boys to be respectful to all people. In our society that is generally seen as good thing and so it isn't likely someone would tell me - no, you should teach your children that you choose to be respectful but they should explore alternatives and that being disrespectful is just as good as choosing to be respectful. They are exposed to disrespectful behavior but we don't promote is an acceptable alternative to the way we raise them. In other societies though, respect, especially for women or girls, is not widely taught to boys and young men. I would say, I don't care what society I live in - being respectful is good thing regardless of where you live or what society you live in.
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  #17  
August 7th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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  #18  
August 7th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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I will raise my children in the Christian faith, using the bible as my tool. However, they will know that other people believe in different things, they will learn about other religions (I'm still learning, never got that chance!). I will encourage them and accompany them if they want to attend a different church or such. Everyone is individual, and although I hope that my children will believe in God the way I do and follow the bible, I will support and encourage them if they decide they believe otherwise.

My foster children attend church with me. They have the choice to attend their class, or sit with me. Sitting with me means boredom, because I attend a deaf church, so there's no talking, just signing. They've always chosen to go to their class. My foster kids also attend the Christian school I teach at, because that is what is convenient for me. Convenience is a big deal when you're single mom to 4 kids! We all go together and leave together. They come to my class at the end of the day until I'm ready to leave. The school always enrolled my foster kids, even if their class is technically full. It's what works for me. If I ever had an older child express that they didn't want to attend the Christian school, I would certainly enroll them in public school. If they didn't want to attend church at all I would try to make arrangements for them. Basically I do what works for me unless someone protests lol.
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  #19  
August 7th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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I will raise my children Catholic and teach them all that the Catholic Church teaches. I love my faith and believe completely in it. I have been to other churches and haven't felt as strongly about them as I have the Catholic Church. I am very passionate about my faith and plan to pass that passion on to my children. Yes, I will make my children go to mass with me and they will go to Sunday school, but I will also talk with them about the church and why we believe the things we believe. I don't see how giving children something to have faith in is a bad thing.
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  #20  
August 7th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bellasky View Post
I will raise my children Catholic and teach them all that the Catholic Church teaches. I love my faith and believe completely in it. I have been to other churches and haven't felt as strongly about them as I have the Catholic Church. I am very passionate about my faith and plan to pass that passion on to my children. Yes, I will make my children go to mass with me and they will go to Sunday school, but I will also talk with them about the church and why we believe the things we believe. I don't see how giving children something to have faith in is a bad thing.
I don't think anyone thinks that, atleast they haven't said so in this thread. For me atleast, I don't think saying x faith is the truth is good because there are many faults in all faiths. You can have faith in more than one religion, which is why I encourage my children to explore all faiths and decide if one or more is right for them, or none at all.
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