Introducing God to atheistic youngsters...

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Randigale
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Introducing God to atheistic youngsters...

Postby Randigale » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:51 pm

So, I was in a cult when my babes were babies. I got out and became atheist in 2004 and have remained such until relatively recently.

My kids (6 and 7) say they don't believe in God. They both say things like- if there was a God, He would help us. That being said, my daughter does pray, but she thinks she's praying to her daddy because, as she says, "he's the one that gets everything done."

Anyway, I don't want to sit down and have a talk with them because I don't want them to believe just because I said so. And, I can't take them to church until I find one that I am totally comfortable with and will definitely go to on a regular basis, as per my husbands request.

They see me read my Bible and I always tell them that God made dessert when we enjoy a watermelon or something of the sort.

They are very grounded, which is what my problem is with most children's Bible curriculum. They focus quite a bit on miracles and my kids will shut down if I talk about those things. My daughter can see a magic trick done right in front of her and say that even though she doesn't know how it's done, there must be an explanation. I would prefer to introduce them to the personality of Christ as opposed to the miracles.

So... what to do?

Thanks.

Calla_Dragon
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Postby Calla_Dragon » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:36 pm

I've run into this issue with my kids too. My inlaws are Christian, but I am pagan and my husband is more or less atheist as well. We approach it from the standpoint of this is what some people believe, but it's not what all people believe or what all people should believe. A person's beliefs are their own and each person has to explore and decide for themselves what they feel is right in their hearts. I don't think kids are encouraged to trust their instincts and listen to their hearts as often as they should be. I was allowed to determine my spiritual path from a very early age separate from my parents' beliefs and mine are very different from theirs, but that's ok.
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

Randigale
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Postby Randigale » Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:57 pm

Calla_Dragon wrote:I was allowed to determine my spiritual path from a very early age separate from my parents' beliefs and mine are very different from theirs, but that's ok.


How did they do that?

See, I'm afraid that if I don't teach them enough I'm leaving them open to cults like I was. But, if I go too far, I'm going to take away their freedom by teaching them what to think while they are still so young. I need to find something that walks the line between too much and not enough.

Calla_Dragon
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Postby Calla_Dragon » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:20 pm

They exposed me to many belief systems and let me choose for myself. They didn't push their own personal beliefs above any of the others. They mostly kept their beliefs to themselves until mine were established.

In the past I have gotten a lot of flack from people regarding values so I want to pre-emptively address that here. Values are different. Belief systems generally have a value system that coexists with it (i.e. Christian values, Jewish values, etc) but those values can exist outside that belief system so they're not exclusive to those belief systems. My parents instilled good values in me without attaching it to a particular belief system.
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

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Re: Introducing God to atheistic youngsters...

Postby Mark » Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:50 pm

Randigale wrote:So, I was in a cult when my babes were babies. I got out and became atheist in 2004 and have remained such until relatively recently.

My kids (6 and 7) say they don't believe in God. They both say things like- if there was a God, He would help us. That being said, my daughter does pray, but she thinks she's praying to her daddy because, as she says, "he's the one that gets everything done."

Anyway, I don't want to sit down and have a talk with them because I don't want them to believe just because I said so. And, I can't take them to church until I find one that I am totally comfortable with and will definitely go to on a regular basis, as per my husbands request.

They see me read my Bible and I always tell them that God made dessert when we enjoy a watermelon or something of the sort.

They are very grounded, which is what my problem is with most children's Bible curriculum. They focus quite a bit on miracles and my kids will shut down if I talk about those things. My daughter can see a magic trick done right in front of her and say that even though she doesn't know how it's done, there must be an explanation. I would prefer to introduce them to the personality of Christ as opposed to the miracles.

So... what to do?

Thanks.


Good evening.

The best way of all is to let them see Jesus in the path YOU walk.
don't be afraid to talk to them openly about Him when it seems appropriate.
But the main thing is to be real with them.
Walk the talk ma'am.
and one day, when the chips are down, they will remember Who
it is that gives You guidance and peace.
Oh, one more very important item; pray for them, lots.

Mark

Randigale
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Postby Randigale » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:40 pm

I guess I'm just having a hard time because I told them when they were very young that there is no God and now they still don't believe. I don't want to indoctrinate them, but I want to fix what I did.

Maybe I should do something in my home school. Like some kind of religious study or Bible class. But, everything I can find for children is only about miracles and it is not possible for me to sell miracles to my kids.

I feel like I made this huge mistake that I can't fix.

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:43 pm

Maybe consider doing unit studies on many different belief systems and see if they find something that speaks to them.

I'm sorry if you stated it before, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but why is it so important that you get them to believe in one thing over another at this point in time? Are they unhappy in their beliefs? Are they searching for answers they haven't found yet?
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

Randigale
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Postby Randigale » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:01 pm

Calla_Dragon wrote:Maybe consider doing unit studies on many different belief systems and see if they find something that speaks to them.

I'm sorry if you stated it before, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but why is it so important that you get them to believe in one thing over another at this point in time? Are they unhappy in their beliefs? Are they searching for answers they haven't found yet?


No. I just feel like they only don't believe because I told them not to. Honestly, though, trying to discuss God with them is doing a better job of deconverting me than it is converting them.

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:11 pm

If this were me, I would convey the message that there are a lot of different ways to believe and no one belief system is right or wrong, but it's up to everyone to decide what's best for them and then expose them to different belief systems.

I know from my experience I would catch one that would speak to me and I would explore it further. I made a few mistakes but I came to find one that I am at great peace with.

This seems to be causing you a lot of stress. If I were in your shoes, I would consider what your goal was by doing this. I would also live my life according to my beliefs - "walk the talk" and let your kids see you doing that. Regardless of what your actual belief system may be.

I have a lot of confidence that things will fall into place for your kids. They seem like they have it together for such tender ages (my son is also 6 and doesn't have a belief system to speak of yet). I wouldn't beat yourself up for things done in the past and instead focus on the future. I truly believe that if you give a child all the information you can and the tools to make good decisions for themselves that they'll come out alright. It's the ones that are told to this or that and never taught to think for themselves that fall into problems, IMO.
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

Randigale
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Postby Randigale » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:17 pm

I think it is very telling that I can't find a way to introduce God to my kids because they are intelligent and practical. Maybe I should re-think my beliefs instead of worrying about theirs.

I'm going to a UU church on Sunday. Perhaps my answers lie there....

Thanks for your help.

Calla_Dragon
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Postby Calla_Dragon » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:24 pm

Randigale wrote:I think it is very telling that I can't find a way to introduce God to my kids because they are intelligent and practical. Maybe I should re-think my beliefs instead of worrying about theirs.

I'm going to a UU church on Sunday. Perhaps my answers lie there....

Thanks for your help.


I've never felt intelligence had anything to do with it. People from all walks of life believe or don't believe in a supernatural existence. I feel it has to do with more what's in your heart and what you feel at peace with.

Anytime. As always, just my personal opinion and viewpoint :)
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

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Re: Introducing God to atheistic youngsters...

Postby Ramona » Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:00 pm

Randigale wrote:my problem is with most children's Bible curriculum. They focus quite a bit on miracles and my kids will shut down if I talk about those things. My daughter can see a magic trick done right in front of her and say that even though she doesn't know how it's done, there must be an explanation.


There are so many different "versions" of Christianity--don't rule anything out. Just keep searching. I have always believed that God operates within natural laws (not because He has to, but because He wants to) and the real definition of miracle is "something we don't yet comprehend with our finite understanding of the universe." I would say my reaction to the miracles is the same as your daughter's reaction to a magic trick, and it totally fits my church and my religion. Even though I don't know how Christ and the prophets and apostles do what they do, I know there's an explanation.

Ramona

su
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Postby su » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:48 am

Randigale,
Having been in a cultish group also, I understand the confusion that it can create in a person (not to mention the bitterness against organized religion). Don't give up on Jesus just because you haven't figured out how to explain him yet! As Ramona said, keep seeking (and He will be found!) You can pm me if you want to talk about the cult exprience.
Perhaps you would benefit from reading some good apologetics books. Anything from C.S. Lewis, a very intellectual man, (Mere Christianity) or Josh McDowell (Evidence that Demands a Verdict). I would say, get yourself grounded first, then you can share with your kids what you find. Not to say you can't share your journey along the way, but you can communicate that you believe you were wrong in the past. As you have seen, kids do learn what their parents teach, and that is a good thing. As they grow, they learn to think for themselves, and we should teach them to do so.
Calla Dragon, you said:
I'm sorry if you stated it before, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but why is it so important that you get them to believe in one thing over another at this point in time? Are they unhappy in their beliefs? Are they searching for answers they haven't found yet?

Some of us want to pass on our beliefs to our children because we believe 1) there is truth and 2) we want them to have the same mission of showing the world the love of Christ. :D

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Postby iamnettie » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:50 pm

I would also suggest, things by Lee Strobel
The Case for Christ
The Case for Faith

Both come in student versions. When I did Ministry we read the student versions. It took a look at faith and Christ from a scientific perspective.

Just an idea.

ETA:
Here is the new kids version they have released:
Image
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310711469&QueryStringSite=Zondervan

Image
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310711476&QueryStringSite=Zondervan

Image
http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310711483&QueryStringSite=Zondervan

Calla_Dragon
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Postby Calla_Dragon » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:13 pm

su wrote:Calla Dragon, you said:
I'm sorry if you stated it before, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but why is it so important that you get them to believe in one thing over another at this point in time? Are they unhappy in their beliefs? Are they searching for answers they haven't found yet?

Some of us want to pass on our beliefs to our children because we believe 1) there is truth and 2) we want them to have the same mission of showing the world the love of Christ. :D


And that's understandable, however it sounds like Randigale, herself, is still athiest for the most part so I'm not sure why the push for Christianity is important if she already has her beliefs and feels comfortable with them. Is this not the case?

Truth is different for everyone and it's based on each person's perception of reality and that will differ from person to person. There is no one truth since it's always colored by one's own reality. It's fine for parents to want to pass what they perceive to be truth onto their kids, but only if it's for the right reasons, IMO. Belief in something because you feel you should or you were told to are not the right reasons, IMO. If your belief in something came from reflection, meditation/prayer and it's something you feel in your heart to be right, that's awesome for that person. However, I'm not understanding the push to up and change belief systems when she and her kids both seem pretty content where they are, based on their postings. There is no one right belief system or one right way to do things - only what feels right to you in your heart. That's where I was getting confused by the original post - if she's happy and the kids are happy, what exactly is the issue?
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.


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