Post # 1
This is more of a “kids” question than a “babies” question, but a post I saw on OffbeatMama (one of my favorite blogs even though I’m not a mama!) got me thinking – if you are agnostic/atheist/non-religious, how do you plan on raising your children in terms of religious education?
My DH was raised non-religiously and feels very uncomfortable when people discuss Christianity because he has no understanding of it. Before me, he didn’t know Bible stories like Adam and Eve, didn’t understand why people made such a big deal over Jesus Christ, and on. To me, understanding religion, especially Christianity since it is the prevalent religion in the US, is really important in being culturally aware and also being able to make your own choices about how you want to live your life religiously/spiritually.
At the same time, we’re agnostic and it would be dishonest to raise our kids going to Sunday School every week just so they can have some sort of religious foundation. I’m thinking of getting lots of Bible story children’s books and teaching them ourselves, but it would obviously be easier and more comprehensive with a third party.
What will you all do?
Post # 3
I was not brought up religious and am not a religious person. I like the idea of learning about different religions with my kids. We will see when the time comes (I don’t have children yet) if this is how I still feel but I hope I still do.
Post # 4
I think its always positive to raise your child with an open mind and expose them to all different things. I think the best thing to do, especially in your situation where you want your child ro be aware even though you don’t necessarily believe, is to take them to museum exhibits about different cultures/religions, read them books about them, talk about them, etc. You don’t need to send a child to Sunday school to teach them about God, you can do it at home and in a more ‘this is what some people believe’ way
Post # 5
I did grow up going to church on Sunday (and Wednesday) and my husband grew up going to Catholic school (but not church). We’re not particularly religious, but I do want our children to be exposed to Christianity (along with other religions). I want to give them the tools to make their own decision about religion, and I think the only way to do that is via knowledge. I also like the sense of community that can come from being involved in a religious group. Finally, I do think that some Bible stories provide a good framework for living your life (be kind to your neighbor, etc). As a result, we have decided that when we have kids, we will expose them to church (probably not every week though) and as they grow, allow them to make there own decision regarding their beliefs.
Post # 6
I was born and raised into a very religious family. While I do hold some of the same key Christian beliefs as my parents have–and had–I do not think we will be raising our children in the same way at all. We both have similar faiths and while raising our children I feel like giving them the choice to choose what they believe is right. I can’t force them to believe once they are old enough to think on their own.
Post # 7
I’m Catholic and my husband is Lutheran. Neither of us like the other’s religion or their churches where we grew up so we’ve tried to find another religion to have our child grow up in. There is actually a great Presbyterian church up the street from our house.
Ideal? Nope. Compromise? Yep.
I don’t see how its dishonest to raise a child and send them to Sunday school even if it’s not something that you or your husband wish to partake in. Rounded educations are wonderful for children.
Post # 8
I do not think that it is important to teach your children about Christianity if you are not religious. It doesn’t make sense to me. I agree that it is important to be socially conscious but this does not mean you need to teach them about Christianity. Why not talk to them about ALL religions? Why not talk to them about being Jewish, christian, etc.. if you want to talk to them about religion.
We are not religious and do not plan to teach our children religion. I was raised in a non-religious home but I learned about religion thru other people. I will explain different beliefs to my children when the topic comes up, but I will not teach them about one above all others. Because we don’t “beleive”, it doesn’t make sense to us. Just like I will teach them about different cultures, I will teach them about different religions but I will not hold one up above the others. For me, it will be more like “other people believe this and that” and will also explain that people beleive different things.
Post # 9
I’m not religious- we will teach our children the basics of most religions (I say most because there are a lot of religions 😀 ). I want my children to have an understanding of the world around them and to be open to different things. If they choose to follow a religion I support that.
Post # 10
I’m agnostic and FI is an athiest. My dad is also an athiest, but at school I got taught religion. I think we will give DS a choice as to whether he wants to participate or not at the program the school offers, but there is no way he would do sunday school or go to church.
Post # 11
I am struggling with this as well. My husband’s parents regularly attend church but strictly non denominational. My MIL grew up going to church, but was never assigned a specific religion (I mean, christianity, but not a specific type). My FIL grew up Catholic and disagrees with a lot of what they teach. My dad is a severely lapsed catholic who has a problem with organized religion of all kinds, and my mom was never much of a churchgoer (although she believes in all the tenets of christianity).
My husband is pretty indifferent about how we raise our kid with regard to religion, and I am undecided. I would kind of like some sort of church exposure, not necessarily for the religious teachings but just the general community and morals that go along with it. I imagine we’ll maybe just visit a few of the churches nearby, because I do know I want my baby to be baptized.
Post # 12
My dad is a lapsed Catholic, my mom is a secular Jew. They didn’t do much to formally introduce me to religion.
But i never felt like I didn’t understand the basics of Christianity. Our culture is so steeped in it; it’s hard NOT to learn about it! I think your husband might be the exception – most kids I know who were raised without religion still understand that Christianity teaches that Jesus was the son of God, that he died for humans’ sins, etc. They might think that’s weird, lol, but they understand it.
Post # 13
I raised my child to have a strong moral character, and to “do unto others” and to believe there are powers that are greater than herself. God is not a four-letter word, I just don’t believe in organized religion for various reasons.
Also, I agree with what MightWombat says 🙂
Post # 14
I grew up in a non-religious household while FI grew up going to church but now considers himself atheist.
We plan on raising our children the same way I was raised. If they have questions about religion we’ll answer them but I don’t think we have to go out of our way to teach them different religions. You’d be surprised how much kids pick up.
Post # 15
I wasn’t brought up in a religious household. We didn’t go to church and I didn’t go to Sunday School although I was baptized as an infant. I went to vacation bible school for a week every summer and loved it but never really understood that it was a “religious” thing. I just thought it was a fun place with these fun stories and fun crafts and fun activities. I feel like it was the perfect way to expose me to it without being overbearing on me or being hypocritical. Now as an adult I have found religion and I am very glad that I found it and I was able to make my own decision about it. My church doesn’t baptize infants. They want the children to be old enough to make a decision to accept God into their lives if they so choose to. It’s up to the children when/if they’re baptized. They don’t have a Sunday School exactly, just a place called Kid City where they get to learn the stories through activities and fun crafts. It’s one of those big “mega” churches which actually just works for us. We are somewhat religious but we don’t feel guilty if we miss church, we can go Saturday afternoon/evening if we feel like sleeping in and our child will be able to go there and make their own decisions about their religion. If they choose not to get baptized and want to learn about other religions or choose not to partake at all we will support that as well.
Post # 16
This thread is really interesting. I’m a christian, and I think it’s great that so many of you are willing to expose your kids to different religions and allow them to make their own choice. I’m saying that because even if my parents weren’t christians, I still would be. I’m so grateful for being able to make that decision. Also from my experience with sunday school, there is really nothing harmful/controversial that they will teach young kids. It’s very basic and there tends to be a focus on the fact that God loves them and how special and unique they are. Also on how they should treat others.