Friday, September 5, 2014

What to do if your kids become religious?

It's a scary thought if you're an atheist parent. Your kid comes home one day and says, "Dad, I found God! I'm going to church now"

How disappointing.

What do you do in that situation? I'm going to take some tips from my friend Dale McGowan, who's written a lot about atheist parenting.

First of all, let's reverse the situation since many of us have been in that position. You're an atheist, your parents are religious, and you share that with them. Your parents hopefully raised you well. They want you to make your own decisions and be happy, and you've come across a belief system that makes sense to you.

Their reaction shouldn't matter. They should love you no matter what, even if they disagree with you.

So if your daughter says she's religious now, who cares? Love her. It's none of your business and it makes her happy.

But that's not the answer you want to hear, so let's keep talking.

What religion is she? There's a big difference between joining an evangelical megachurch and a unitarian church. Is she more of a Deist or a hard core fundamentalist?

Let's say she goes the crazy Mark Driscoll is my hero path. Even if she does, who cares? Love her.

If you want, feel free to have a respectful debate. Especially if they're younger and open to a conversation about these things. Challenge them. They believe in God? Well what about people who believe in different Gods? Are they wrong? Why?

I hope you do the same thing if your child says she doesn't believe in God. Oh? But so many people do believe, so are all those people wrong?

Plays devil's advocate!

By the way, religion isn't the only serious thing your kids are going to decide that you may have strong opinions about. What about who they date? What they major in? Who they vote for? You can't control it all. But hopefully, you raised your kids well enough so that they use good judgment. Religion works the same way. Teach them to be good people, and let the chips fall where they may.

What's your alternative, anyway? Are you seriously gonna say I demand you also not believe in God? That's the same sort of awful indoctrination so many of us want to get away from! Who cares if your children are atheists if they didn't come to that conclusion on their own?

And if you really want your kids to become atheists, then I would just make one suggestion: Have them read the Bible. That should do the trick


Video by Hemant Mehta, 2014

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