Raising kids as an Atheist

This is relatively new territory for me.  I suppose a bit of background might be in order for context.  In the early days of my youth my family was one of those Christmas and Easter Catholics.  Religion didn’t become a big part of our life until my parents divorced and my dad married my now stepmother.  She went to a church that was very different from what I had experienced.  This was when I was about 12 or so.  From that point I had the notion that church = good and no church = bad.  We became a “good christian” family after that.

I was then raised to be a Christian after that and all that comes with it.  Feeling guilty for thought crimes at the age of 17 is a pretty heavy burden.  So I did all the things I was supposed to in order to again the approval from my father (which rarely ever came) and the sky Daddy (which never came).

After leaving religion I am now faced with how I am supposed to raise my kids.  I can’t look back on my childhood (for more than just the religious reasons).  My son who is 4 has some recollection of having been to church and some of the seeds that were planted there.  For example, I haven’t revealed my lack of faith to my father yet.  One day he came into town and wanted to have dinner with us.  We set the table and food was put down and we were all seated.  He gives me the “grace?” look.  I had a small panic attack.  Was this going to be the moment when I have that conversation with him.  I wasn’t ready for that!  My son sitting next to me grab my hand and his hand and bows his head and says “Thank you Jesus for this food, Amen”.  Saved by my 4 year old!

Now in this moment I was glad for it as it saved me from either an awkward conversation I wasn’t ready for, or a lie and a continuation of pretending to be something I wasn’t.  But it made me realize that I need to have a plan here.  I need to put together a road map of how I’m going to teach him about the world.  I’ve already started him out on using the scientific method to find the answers to questions but there is more to life than that.  I don’t have it all figured out yet but hope to get it going and not just continue to make it up as I go along.

3 thoughts on “Raising kids as an Atheist”

  1. Your children have been given a better gift than any religion could ever hope to provide, that of being free from religious coercion as a youth, and for that they will be far better off than their indoctrinated, harassed cohort.
    The statistics on non-religious kids becoming religious is extremely small, much smaller than the reverse. They should enjoy the family life that you will letting them experience, the process of growing up without bizarre propaganda infesting their sense of their identity.
    “Passing” to your inherited family is always permitted, in my view – keeping the peace with them may be far worth it than giving them a ridiculous pretext for ostracism.

    1. Thanks for the kind words and interesting statistics. I just remember the overwhelming feeling of guilt over just about every thing I did or thought…I don’t wish that on anyone!

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