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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 02:26 AM

So from the atheists that I have talked to about their beliefs, or lack thereof, it seems like a big issue for a lot of them is the fact that children are raised to believe certain things, and to be a member of a certain religion. So I thought I would gather your viewpoints on this.

Do you think it's right to raise your kids religiously?

Personally, if I ever have kids I would raise them to be Christian, but also let them be aware of other religions and ways of life. If they ever came to me and told me that they did not want to be Christian, I would be disappointed but I would make it clear to them that they should believe whatever they feel is right. I don't see anything wrong with giving your children something to believe in, if you believe strongly that it is true.





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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 03:07 AM

well faith really doesn't matter to me. I think it makes sense to if you have something you really believe in to pass it on it makes all the sense. I see the reason behind it.
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 03:32 AM

No, I think it's wrong to to say to any child that Christianity (or any other religion) is true, which is what someone mean's they will say to their child when they state that they will bring their children up as Christian.

"Jesus and God are true, and so is Santa. Oh wait, Santa's not real, but Jesus and God still are!". For a child, God and Santa are on the same level. They can't reason out evidence for themselves, they simply believe a) what they are told or b) what feels right. Neither of which is good evidence for God or Santa.

No, I will not raise my children with religion, and I won't allow my partner (should s/he be religious) raise them with religion either.
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 03:47 AM

I don't think its possible not to raise kids under a certain set of beliefs. Even if you're atheist.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 04:24 AM

It's not a matter of right or wrong, just a matter of opinion. My opinion is that religion won't even be a topic until my child brings it up. I prefer my children to come to their own conclusion about religion on their own without my influence, unless they ask for it. That's how I did it and I couldn't be happier about it.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 05:06 AM

I'll most likely take my kids to church with me and try to bring them up in the Christian faith. But, I'll also encourage them to learn about other faiths and use their own judgment to determine their beliefs. If they were to come to me and tell me that they had chosen a path besides Christianity, I would be completely accepting of their choice. After all, I wasn't raised Christian. I chose that path for myself. The least I can do is give my kids the same opportunity to determine their own beliefs and explore other options.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 12:43 PM

I think it's unnecessary.

This is because you're telling a child that x is true and they don't even question it because they think you're right just because you are their parents. How could your parents be wrong? Evidently they can ... and can be wrong a lot of the time. But that isn't noticed by a child of such a young age. And that is understandable.

But, the problem I have with raising a child into a religion is that they become too scared to leave the religion if they think it's false. If a child thinks that they want to follow another religion or they don't want to follow a religion at all then they'd be too scared to say. Clearly, some will say 'i won't force my child to believe' or 'I won't be disappointed' but for the most part that's complete bullshit. Even if they don't notice it. It's easy to make a child feel guilty for thinking for themselves without actively doing it themselves.

Also, the problem with raising them into a religion is the simple idea that you talk to them about hell (for the three main religions) and that will scare the living daylights out of a person that has doubts. They tend to start thinking to themselves 'what if I'm wrong?' and stop questioning their beliefs just because they're scared of a concept that hasn't been proven.

So yea, I'm now against raising children into a religion as I think it does more harm than good for the freedom of thought for the individual and I'd rather they come to a religion out of their own efforts. If they end up thinking Christianity or anything of the sort is true then they would have done it out of their own will. There's no such thing as a 'muslim child' or a 'christian child' most just had that religion forced down their throat and they only see that as the truth and they aren't exposed to critical thinking enough.

Obviously it is difficult to raise a child without imposing any form of beliefs on them but don't threaten them with hell (to me saying you could go to hell is a threat, not a kind warning) , don't make them feel guilty for disagreeing with you just let them be independent. To me, that's the best thing you can do for your child.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 03:06 PM

I don't think I'd raise my children that religious, I'd be excepting of anything that isn't wrong, such a hitting or hurting others, and allow them to be themselves.

I don't think I'd even be able to raise my kids to be religious, because my ideas of a good sunday is sleeping in and playing around that afternoon.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 04:13 PM

Even when I was a Christian I was absolutely against the idea of raising them into any particular belief, because I wanted them to figure it out themselves. Same goes now I'm an atheist.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 06:35 PM

I was not raised religious and there are pros and cons. It allowed me to come to my own conclusions, but it also forced me to do so without a basic faith of any kind so I had to weed my way through most religions before realizing that I had at least one problem with every one and put together bits and pieces of different belief systems to come up with something I can believe and live with.

For that reason, I want my children to have more of a "faith foundation" than I had without forcing them to believe in any one thing. When they ask me a question about God or what I believe I will tell them honestly and make sure to let them know that not everyone agrees and that there are a lot of different religions out there, but religious belief (or lack thereof) doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else.

I'm not going to tell anyone else how to raise their children, but I'm not going to agree with everything they choose to teach them.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 08:14 PM

I'm raising my kids in the Catholic faith for many reasons. I was raised like that and had no problem with it, I like the religion and I want my kids to go to private schools which are the best around here and all private schools are Catholic and last because I want to but I won't force them to continue in it if they choose not to in their later years. I'll just give them the opportunity to pursuit in it and they can decide later what they want.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 09:32 PM

It's not my choice - it's theirs. No decisions regarding religion will be made for my children until they're old enough and wise enough to make their own. [:
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 11th 2012, 11:41 PM

My kids will be atheist as fuck.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 12th 2012, 03:29 AM

I would let my children decide what's right for them. Who am I to tell them what to believe? Especially when they're young, I would stress the importance of being a good person over the importance of being a good [insert religion here]. I'm only speaking for myself, of course, and I make no judgement as to whether it's right or not. There are pros and cons to raising your children religiously, obviously.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 12th 2012, 10:38 AM

Personally I think it's closer to tantamount to indoctrination, rather than edification, but who am I to tell people how to raise their children?


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 13th 2012, 01:42 AM

I don't think it's a question of "Is it right?"

In all honesty, that is a decision parents must make, and I fully believe that no one should be telling someone how to raise their children.



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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 13th 2012, 10:43 PM

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Originally Posted by Toz View Post
My kids will be atheist as fuck.
So much for freedom of religion then.

Anyway, should I have kids (and there's quite a big "if" on that front at the moment) I would in all likelihood raise them with awareness of my faith and probably have them baptised, if only as an insurance policy. Insofar as whether they want to undertake any of the sacraments of the Church, however, I would leave that up to them to decide as they see fit and would always treat religion as an open topic for discussion. I would also encourage them to make themselves aware of all different kinds of beliefs, ranging from Bible-thumper to atheist, so they could fully understand and engage with the world on this level. Knowledge is the key thing as far as I'm concerned.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 13th 2012, 10:50 PM

It will suck for my child because I am going to become a pastor.
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 14th 2012, 01:25 AM

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So much for freedom of religion then.

Anyway, should I have kids (and there's quite a big "if" on that front at the moment) I would in all likelihood raise them with awareness of my faith and probably have them baptised, if only as an insurance policy. Insofar as whether they want to undertake any of the sacraments of the Church, however, I would leave that up to them to decide as they see fit and would always treat religion as an open topic for discussion. I would also encourage them to make themselves aware of all different kinds of beliefs, ranging from Bible-thumper to atheist, so they could fully understand and engage with the world on this level. Knowledge is the key thing as far as I'm concerned.
What, beliefs on a spectrum now? What?


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 15th 2012, 02:36 AM

I would introduce them to my religion, because it's what I would have the most info on, but leave them open to others as well. I would make sure they know that I'm okay with whatever they believe in.
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 15th 2012, 12:37 PM

I'm going to teach them about my religion, but be very open about my respect of other religions and about having studied many of them in the past. I want my children to see that I'm not a religiously prejudiced idiot like half of the Christians I know or have known throughout the course of my life, and I want them to see that I'll love them no matter what choices they make. If they choose to share in my religion, that's great, but if they don't, then I'll pray for them and leave it at that.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 15th 2012, 09:11 PM

The problem many atheists have (and I am one myself) is that they can easily become dogmatic like any other group.

To me, issues such as whether or not a person should have the right to raise their child a certain way religiously do not matter. Nor does whether or not currency has the word "God" displayed on it (as it does in the US, which is where I live). The only things that concern me, as an atheist, are things which effect me as an individual. When a society uses religion as a means to stifle individuality, I take issue. Otherwise, I could care less.

Religion has been used by many parents as a means of instilling ethical beliefs and values within their child. If this is important to you, it makes sense to use something like this. There are other ways you can achieve this, as well, but religion is one way to do so and most people who use it were brought up to use it. It's familiar and convenient, so it makes sense.

But on topic, I have no problem with how an individual or a couple chooses to raise their child in respects to their religion. I should have no control in deciding those things for others, and they should have no control in deciding them for me. My philosophy is very much "live and let live" on matters such as these.
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 16th 2012, 12:46 AM

Personally, I consider myself a Christian, although I do not attend church anymore. I was raised agnostic, by parents of two different religions, so we never went to church. I went to church with friends as I grew up, so I was introduced to many religions before I decided Christianity is what I believe in. I think this worked out perfectly for my sister & I, & I will probably do the same for my kids. Not really go to church, but they're welcome to go with their friends or family members & believe what they want. I'm not sure I would even want to go to church again anyways. I'm turned off to the idea of churches.



   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 16th 2012, 07:06 AM

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So much for freedom of religion then.

Anyway, should I have kids (and there's quite a big "if" on that front at the moment) I would in all likelihood raise them with awareness of my faith and probably have them baptised, if only as an insurance policy. Insofar as whether they want to undertake any of the sacraments of the Church, however, I would leave that up to them to decide as they see fit and would always treat religion as an open topic for discussion. I would also encourage them to make themselves aware of all different kinds of beliefs, ranging from Bible-thumper to atheist, so they could fully understand and engage with the world on this level. Knowledge is the key thing as far as I'm concerned.
It was a jest. The way I see it, I will raise my children with the understanding there is no God. I intend my kids to be definitive proof that you can be born into an atheist family and still live an ethically and spiritually fulfilling life. If they have questions about religion, I intend to answer them to the best of my knowledge, and I'm not afraid to find out stuff for them as well. If one day, they elect to partake in mythology for spiritual fulfillment, then they are free to by all means. But that doesn't mean I soften my blows when discussing the matter with them. I will treat religion then with the same sense of respect I do now- I revere it in a historical context, but I do not respect the institutions more than is necessary, and I will fight for a person's right to believe what they will.

Just, when it comes to my kids, they will be raised atheist while they are my responsibility.


Sorry if I rambled a bit. It's kinda sorta 4:20 for me.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 16th 2012, 07:15 AM

Meh I kind of want my child to discover religion themselves and I won't tell them what religion I am.
I don't mind what religion they are, though I do prefer atheism.
I was taken to Bhuddist Temples and I didn't listen to them the tiniest bit and that was when I did consider myself Bhuddist.
edit: I'll use teachings from various religions and tell them to my child.

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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 16th 2012, 07:18 AM

I think its much more important to teach your children morals and ethics versus religion. I dont think i will raise my children with a specific religion ( mostly because I do not have one), however I will teach them that there are many different religions out there and they have the freedom to choose whichever one pleases and fits them the most, I'll teach them that its more important to be good people versus having a religion, if they choose one; thats great, if they dont; thats okay too. I want to teach them that having a religion doesnt automatically make you a good person, that believing in God, doesnt make you a better person than anyone else, that who you are and how you treat others determines your character, religion may just add to that. however if my future wife has a religion and she feels she would like to raise our children of that faith, I would be fine with that, as long as she opened them up to other beliefs and the freedom to choose along the way.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 16th 2012, 07:43 AM

I grew up in an Atheist household, and it ended up working well for me. My parents told me that they were nonreligous, that God does not exist, and that it's something that other people believe in. Of course, naturally, I questioned, and did my own research. Came to the conclusion they were right. I will probably raise my children the same. My partner also was raised this way, and he has the same intention, so it'll work out if we end up together.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 17th 2012, 05:55 PM

Quote:
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It was a jest.
I know mate, don't worry. Hence the "" afterwards.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 17th 2012, 06:42 PM

I won't raise my children into a religion, and will probably try to educate them once they get to a certain age about what religion is and all the options out there. If they make an informed decision to join one, that's fine, and if they don't, that's fine too. I would never want to raise a child into anything they have no real say in.




   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 19th 2012, 09:49 AM

If I ever have children (highly unlikely), they will be raised with a moral code - such as, you don't like to be hurt so don't hurt others sort of thing - but no religion.
We all accept the basics - treating all living things with respect and so forth - and that is how my children will be raised.
They will also be raised highly educated, with as much knowledge as their minds can handle.

Religion is a matter of faith, not anything solid, so when they are older - closer to teenagers I guess - then philosophy and religion may come into it, but only if they bring it up themselves. I do not believe that religion is necessary to raise children who are hard working and conscientious, in fact I have seen many children raised in non-religious homes who are far more morally and ethically aware than those from religious homes, because those from non-religious homes have been taught to question things and reason things out for themselves.

Yup. But I don't think there's particularly any right or wrong way to raise a child.

(I was raised in a home that was apparently Christian . . . what a joke.)
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 20th 2012, 04:24 AM

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I know mate, don't worry. Hence the "" afterwards.


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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 22nd 2012, 11:08 AM

I like the way I was raised. I am born in a Punjabi family and though we are not very religious, we occasionally visit the Gurudwara and celebrate the Hindu festivals and all that. But I have always been given a free will to make my own choices and learn about other religions. My family knows that I am crazy about Churches and Christianity. I always visit the Church on Christmas and no one in my family minds that.

My mother doesn't mind my belief in any religion as long I believe in some kind of God. She has always told me what her beliefs are and has left it up to me after that. She believes that we should be close to God, pray to him in the good and bad times, He can be someone that we can talk to when we have no one else to go too. And religions teach us a lot more things like being good to others and doping good stuff. That is how I would like it to be for my kids too

My brother is an atheist. And no one minds that too. He does cooperate with mum's beliefs at times, sits in the prayers during Diwali celebrations occasionally visits the temple with us as a family. But at the end of the day my mum knows that he is an atheist and respects that as long as he is respecting her beliefs.



"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it."

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
   
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Re: Raising children into religion. - April 23rd 2012, 06:32 AM

I'll certainly raise my children in the Christian faith. Will I insulate them from others? Definitely not.
   
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