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#1 gracie1978

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:14 PM

So.... I'm a crazy ass atheist.  Just so you have context.

DS's friends are all going to a lovely local Catholic school next year, we will be heading to a public school in another suburb.

One of these friends who is 4, started randomly talking to DS about God creating everything when we were walking home together.  It kind of didn't go anywhere because DS didn't understand and just ignored him.

But I'm thinking it'll come up more next year when these kids start at their religious school.

Any ideas or tips on how to deal with it?  I'm going to need to watch myself from muttering things like sky fairy...

Edited by gracie1978, 10 September 2019 - 12:15 PM.

#2 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:23 PM

We just go with some people believe in a god or higher power as they need to believe their is more than just existing.

I don’t say we don’t believe in god because I don’t know what my kids beliefs will be. I say what I personally believe and so does DH (we are on different pages with this) and that our kids are free to choose what they wish to believe in.

We use it as a teaching lesson on tolerance of others but also explaining that it’s not ok to use religion to hurt others or dictate the way they live. Age appropriately of course.

#3 lozoodle

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:23 PM

I just say to my kids when the topic comes up that everyone has their own beliefs and none of them are right or wrong. Seems to be enough to make them move onto the next topic.

#4 Dadto2

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:24 PM

View PostMands09, on 10 September 2019 - 12:18 PM, said:

Yeah we had that with the ELC we sent our kids to at 3/4 they would do a 15 minute ‘church service’. I just told the kids that some people believe in god and it makes them feel happy to think that god exists. We don’t believe in god and it was okay to have different opinions. I tried not to use ‘god isn’t real’ type language as I didn’t want them to say that to their friends and make them upset.  My husband on the other hand was pretty quick to stomp on any talk of ‘god does this.... god is awesome’ talk that did start at home from the weekly brainwashing sessions.

Yeah this.

I'm quite anti-religion, but I try hard to remain impartial and objective with the kids.

#5 Oh Peanuts!

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:28 PM

We’ve been reading ‘how did I get here’ by Philip Bunting. A great book that discusses the science behind everything in a way that 4/5 year olds understand.

I’m just introducing the kids to what I believe, with the hope that it’ll make conversations about religion etc easier to address when they crop up. Not sure if that approach works just yet, but it’s the plan at this stage.

#6 gracie1978

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:31 PM

I'm thinking religion would actually make death conversations easier to deal with...

#7 MoreCoffeePlease

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:34 PM

My dd goes to a catholic school and asks lots of questions about god and science

we just say that people believe different things and in different gods (or none) and the bible is stories to help people understand things not necessarily fact.

What is an ELC doing having church services???????

View Postgracie1978, on 10 September 2019 - 12:31 PM, said:

I'm thinking religion would actually make death conversations easier to deal with...

yes it does

#8 No Drama Please

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:41 PM

I was raised to be atheist but I don’t have any strong views one way or the other so I just say some people believe this and other people believe that and just go from there. DS has friends who lots of different religions and some are really into it (fasting etc) so I don’t push it one way another. I ask they kids what they think, then say that’s interesting, then we try look up more info, find stuff out.

Growing up I used to hate it when I asked mum about God and she’d just dismiss it with its all rubbish, and no further information, so with the kids I tell them to learn as much as possible about anything they are interested in and go from there.

I do tell the kids I personally don’t believe in religion, because it all comes from peoples ideas and information that’s handed down, so there’s a lot of room for misinformation and confusion, but the concept of a higher power I say I think that’s possible, because I don’t know if that’s been proved 100% true or false either way.

#9 MoreCoffeePlease

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:49 PM

View PostMands09, on 10 September 2019 - 12:48 PM, said:

It’s part of the religious school. You are somewhat told what you are signing up for so we did know.

thats ok then

#10 seayork2002

Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:51 PM

When our son asks questions we phrase it as 'some people believe...'

whether it is religion or science based questions.

I am trying hard not to influence him too much on how he should beleive so if someone was talking to him about God creating tree, for example, if he was fine with the conversation I would not butt in or correct it.

If he asks me personally personally 'how were trees created' and did not mention religion I would explain seeds turn into trees.

Our favourite topic on on walks seems to be every single minute detail of space with him surpassing my knowledge by a million times so I spend it mostly listening to him. I am not sure how to answer if God just created earth or the whole of the universe/galaxy thing and if there is aliens would they believe in God so I leave that well alone

Edited by seayork2002, 10 September 2019 - 12:53 PM.

#11 Avocado tree

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:03 PM

The “some people believe” conversation is an easy explanation, and it’s really nothing to get concerned about.  It is only as big an issue as you want to make it.

#12 Anonforthistime

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:13 PM

View PostAvocado tree, on 10 September 2019 - 01:03 PM, said:

The “some people believe” conversation is an easy explanation, and it’s really nothing to get concerned about.  It is only as big an issue as you want to make it.


In the same way that you would want people of faith to respect you not believing in a god, it is important that we all teach our children to respect that some other people do believe in a god. Religion is just one of many kinds of differences you will teach your children about.
Tolerance and respect from and for all belief systems is the way for all of us to live together.

#13 Grinchette

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:19 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 10 September 2019 - 12:23 PM, said:

I just say to my kids when the topic comes up that everyone has their own beliefs and none of them are right or wrong. Seems to be enough to make them move onto the next topic.

My children attend a Christian school but we're Buddhists.  They've been taught from an early age, that we respect differing beliefs just as we would have them respect ours.  Their friends can talk about their religion (we don't but Buddhists don't really tend to preach per se.) and we listen but it doesn't mean we have to believe.  (An example I gave was how I listen to my colleagues talk about the Bachelor but it doesn't mean I have to watch it too!).  It's actually improved as the children mature.  They no longer have blind faith in things and start to analyse teachings more.

#14 Luci

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:22 PM

View PostAvocado tree, on 10 September 2019 - 01:03 PM, said:

The “some people believe” conversation is an easy explanation, and it’s really nothing to get concerned about.  It is only as big an issue as you want to make it.

I just said to my kids that some people believe but I don’t. And that they can decide for themselves when they are older. That seemed to suffice.

#15 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:28 PM

yeh we do the “some people believe” - we are atheists and my kids go to public schools...they’ve always nominated non-scripture or secular ethics over RE (NSW) - but, in spite of that, they have always been exposed to religion - christianity, judaism, islam being the main ones - due to friends, family - also the benefits of a multicultural society - there are huge cross overs between culture and the various religions which they see through street festivals, decorations, night markets etc. we don’t shy away from religion and always welcome the discussion - the good and the bad. the very very bad. they need to know it all - you can’t sugar coat it.

#16 SM3s Fight Song

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:30 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 10 September 2019 - 12:23 PM, said:

I just say to my kids when the topic comes up that everyone has their own beliefs and none of them are right or wrong. Seems to be enough to make them move onto the next topic.

I just go with this.  And that beliefs a personal choice, its ok to believe or not, it doesn't mean eithers right or wrong as long as you let others have their beliefs.

#17 aquarium2

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:59 PM

Being atheist, my daughter goes to a public school and I have always told her that some people choose to believe and others don't and that she is to respect other people opinions.

At around the age of 6 going on 7, she decided that she too didn't believe in the super natural and became fascinated with the story of evolution and started taking books to school on the big bang theory.

Unfortunately, this has led to some issues. She was pressured by other Christian and Muslim children to believe in a god and been made to feel ashamed for not doing so.

I had to ask the parents of these children and the school to reinforce the idea that children are allowed to have their own opinion and shouldn't be shamed either way.

My catholic friends were horrified at the idea that I was asking them to enlighten their children with the idea that is was ok not to believe and one in particular refused to suggest this to her daughter, saying it can't be open to question and there was no way she would suggest this to her daughter.

Next time these children were over at our place I took the opportunity to suggest that we all have to respect one another's opinions and that it was ok for my daughter to not believe.  Some of the children were shocked at the idea that it might be open to question.

So sad to see children brainwashed from such a young age and have such bigoted and narrow minded views passed down from adults.

Edited by aquarium2, 11 September 2019 - 10:15 AM.

#18 boysescakes

Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:09 PM

I’m an atheist and was brought up like that. The kids nanna is a practicing Anglican and the kids have gone to church with her on occasion.
Both will be at an Anglican school next year. Eldest has already been there for two years.
I’ve never spoken about it with them? I have no issue if they ask me stuff about it.
I don’t care if they believe or not. I think having knowledge on different religions is power and they can make there own mind up on the subject. I certainly won’t sway them one way or the other.
I think even if you don’t believe, it’s good to know about the different religions out there and why people believe what they do.
I work with an Indian lady and she has strong religious beliefs. I find it fascinating, her families rituals and beliefs.
Unless you are hurting someone with these beliefs, it’s nice to be respectful of such customs.

#19 knottygirl

Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:18 PM

I think everyone should be able to make up their own mind. My oldest son believes in god and will sometimes ask to go to church. I don’t see an issue with it.

I have a friend that devoutly went to church. Kids were raised in the church they were very committed. Then they started questioning their own believes and stopped going. The kids are really confused and upset. They have been told their whole life that not going is a sin and now they aren’t going.

#20 PoolsideMasterchef

Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:20 PM

DH is strongly atheist.

We just told our kids that different people believe different things and they are free to make up their own minds what they want to believe.

We also talked about respecting people's differences and if they want to know more about church they can go with my Mum, who goes to church every Sunday.

They then asked what happens at church but decided it sounds boring!

It hasn't been a big deal. Some of our friends are Christian, they haven't tried to convert our kids, and we are respectful how we talk about their beliefs.

#21 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:31 PM

a good way (i think) to teach your kids about religion is to point to current examples - let them see how politicians and other people in power twist religion to fit their ideals and objectives - where some people may think a person’s religious beliefs informs their views and influences their values - it’s really the other way round - people have ideals and values, desires and preferences  and they manipulate existing religious dogma and ritual to fit those ideals - Morrison and his brand of prosperity theology is a good example. the conservatives want to punish the poor and privatise welfare - he can sell this as a religious imperative, it’s then beyond reproach - and he is beyond reproach. it’s quite brilliant. scarily brilliant.

#22 gracie1978

Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:49 PM

Thanks for the great advice

I'm surprised by how triggered I was listening to another child tell my son about God.

#23 purplekitty

Posted 10 September 2019 - 03:19 PM

If religious beliefs or statements conflicted with science and/or knowledge that was always corrected with our children,otherwise tolerance for beliefs were practiced but not tolerance for bigoted or hateful expressions of that belief.

#24 IamtheMumma

Posted 10 September 2019 - 04:15 PM

Initially I did the some people believe thing when the kids were younger but as they've grown, I've said that there is no such thing as a deity as there's no evidence to support it. While I teach the kids tolerance for other people's beliefs (they can believe whatever they want), I tell them they won't get the same respect from some religious people. They've experienced that for themselves first hand unfortunately.

I also teach them they cannot function on the belief that because someone says they are religious, they are good by default. The same with not acting in a good way because they are religious. I've used the Stolen Generation, Manus & Nauru, the harassment of Julia Gillard and funding cuts to services as examples. I think this is an important message because we're seeing so many horrors yet are being fed a lie about compassion. Words of compassion do not match the actions of those in power.

#25 Jersey Caramel

Posted 10 September 2019 - 04:34 PM

I think the conversations will get more nuanced between the kids as they get older.  4 year olds are very black and white, and obviously haven't fully developed abstract thinking. We are a christian family,  but even I cringe at the stuff that comes out of my 5 year olds mouth after scripture classes sometimes! I am constantly saying,  that's what some people believe,  but not everybody does and that's ok. But it's the same with other subjects too - once he gets an idea,  it is fact. I know he will grow out of it, as our older kids did.

I actually find the God situation easier than Santa with this age group - kids telling other kids that Santa doesn't exist seems to create even more problems than telling them that God does/ doesn't exist! :lol:

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