What Will My Children Be Like?

After going through a radical shift in my own religious views and thinking, I often wonder what my own kids will be like. Honestly, I get worried that they’ll find themselves uber-involved in some fundamentalist church as a form of rebellion to me.

I know I’m pretty ahead of the game here. I don’t have kids. I’m a long way off to having them, too.

Sometimes I read The Friendly Atheist. Today, the post is called “Handling Children Who Are Not Atheists.” I think one of the main concerns any “enlightened” parent or person faces, is that we don’t want to indoctrinate others like we were once indoctrinated. We like to see other people think for themselves, and occasionally or often, think radically different from the crowd thinking.

I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life as a minister, a reverend. A large portion of my activities were geared toward indoctrinating others, or supporting groups who indoctrinated others.

I’m not a fan of indoctrinating people.

Children are just little people. They need to be taught and molded, but one day, they’re going to need to think for themselves and be good adults. How do you do that without indoctrinating them?

The Friendly Atheist quotes a book by M. Anton Mikicic called god is redundant . Mikicic says (as quoted by TFA) and I agree,

“What advice do I have for my kids? Educate yourselves! As Bertrand Russell said, “What we need is not the will to believe, but the will to find out.” I do think one of the vices of religion is it teaches you to be satisfied with not understanding.”

and

“My hope for my kids is that they’re happy and confident, free to explore the diversity of life, and to discover the things they love the most.

Those are some of my hopes for my children–education and happiness to explore the diversity of life. If my children find happiness in religion, I probably won’t be extremely happy, but I will be happy if they explore religion curiously, intelligently and with kindness.

5 thoughts on “What Will My Children Be Like?”

  1. My son (5 1/2) is pretty sure he doesn’t believe in God, but only because that’s what we believe. He still believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny, so who knows. We’ve told him that its up to him what he wants to believe. We read Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan. Its got some really good stories in it. Check out their website http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/
    I’m sure your kids will be well rounded, critical thinkers. 🙂

  2. This is a question I always ask myself. My 14-year-old son spent 10 years of his life in a compound and saw our sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, pain after leaving the cult. One thing he is sure about, he won’t belong to an organized religious group. My problem now is that after we left, my husband and I are still struggling with our feelings about God. Sometimes I think I’m an atheist, sometimes I find myself praying, so I can’t teach my son anything yet.
    We live in Georgia and all of his friends go to Baptist Church, he doesn’t seem to be attracted to it, although I found the Bible app on his Ipod. I’d love to hear more from other people

  3. Even though my own son isn’t old enough so that I’d know certainly which wold view he will eventually hold to I’m hoping that if he sees good examples and nurturing in his faith he will choose that road. But I’m pretty sure in spite of my wishes he will be the only one to decide what he believes when he is a man.

    At least I hope he decides for himself as I have already seen some pretty drastic and terrible results from people deciding to give up their right to think for themselves….sigh.

    And no matter what he decides I hope that he is a man that I can actually like and respect as a person having strong suits in intelligence and kindness as well Lisa. 🙂

    One woman who was bludgeoned out of Christianity and chose Paganism who I happen to have considerable respect for told me a few days ago that she also realizes her kids may choose Christianity and even if she wasn’t comfortable with that prospect she does understand it will be their own choice someday.

    And if by any chance my own experience with thought reform, rampant and manipulative group think, and believing in someone who said they were good but in reality was manipulative and destructive scum happens to give me the chance to save my son from some of my own troubles I will be grateful.

  4. I have two teenage daughters who have been brought up essentially as atheists, and I think they are doing fine. They have their problems and issues, but not too different from any other teens. Bringing them up atheist, they look at religion very differently — objectively. And it all seems so absurd to them. When they hear of a belief that a particular religion has, they just look perplexed, like “how can anyone believe that?”. It’s refreshing. Of course, we live in NJ, in the NYC suburbs where atheism and agnosticism are much more prevalent, and the diversity of religion and cultures makes sure no one religion dominates or creeps into the schools. So it’s a bit easier to be an atheist.

  5. What an interesting post! I didn’t want to indoctrinate my kids the way I was indoctrinated, and I just assumed that, someday, they’d decide for themselves whether to believe, what to believe, and how to live. Now I have grandkids who have never read a Bible story, adult children who never explored any form of religion, and a niggling bit of doubt that they missed out on something important because I feared doing too much. Thanks for the interesting site!

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