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Approaching religions with kids

Forum: Atheist and Agnostic Parenting


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February 28th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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When it comes to religions, I want to expose my daughter and any future kids to all the religions. I think it's important, from a political standpoint, for the kids to understand the basis of many other people's beliefs. I don't want to restrict them so if they do decide to have a religion, they are free too. I would say Dh and I lean to Buddhists beliefs and myself a little more new age.

So my question to you is how do you like to approach religions with your kids? I was thinking about telling them about Jesus, like any other fairy tale, but then realized if my daughter said anything like that to my extended family.. Oh boy, that would be fun. (NOT!) So I want to keep it respectful so they can unbaised opinions of the religions. Your thoughts?
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February 28th, 2007, 09:07 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,496
We will be teaching from a historical standpoint mixed with some nice socratic method and logic once they get to be old enough. We also plan on teaching them how to behave at religious gatherings and services and why they need to be respectful even if they do not believe in that particular religion (or any if it comes to that).

You don't have to teach Jesus as a fairy tale, either. There are four or so other texts (Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and Lucian are the ones I know off hand ) that mention him. You could talk about those but also talk about why there may be doubts about his existence (all these texts were written well after Jesus supposedly lived).

This is where my socratic ideas come in. What can we learn about someone from these passages in other texts by other authors? What does it mean if they were all written after Jesus lived? What about the history and lives of the authors, does that mean anything?

That kinda thing.
taking jm breaks if you don't see me around much
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March 1st, 2007, 12:46 AM
*kyle*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 5,117
I think... I will teach Jesus as a real human being who did exist (best evidence says there was someone who could have been him) but that other people have assigned a lot of meaning to him due to their own emotional, political, and personal needs.

My kids will certainly be able to learn about all of the world's religions, in a sociological sense. They will know, for instance, that Christmas trees are a pagan winter solstice tradition, and that the historical Jesus was not born on December 25... that Dec. 25 was a date claimed by one religion to supercede another (paganism).

The bible stories well, we could learn them as stories that were written by humans for human purposes, which have to do with social hierarchy (gender, race, bloodline) and other political reasons. The idea of heaven, hell or other afterlife stemming from humans' fear of death, need to feel they'll be "rewarded" in the next life if not in this one, while those who do wrong will be "punished" (since life itself is often unfair that way), their resistance to saying "goodbye" to dead loved ones forever... etc. etc.

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March 1st, 2007, 09:27 AM
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Great tips girls. Thank you.
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