How to start teaching a child about atheism?

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
mysticrose's picture
How to start teaching a child about atheism?

I'm wondering how an atheist will start to teach an innocent child about their belief when the child see other children going to church or hear about some religious teaching. It is easier to teach a child about religion by letting them attend in Sunday schools or bible study. As an atheist parents what would you do?

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Rob's picture
You should never teach your

You should never teach your kids not to believe in something. I think the best approach would be to let them question everything as long as they respect what other believe. I have progressively come to realize that all we believe in is ultimately not very important.

Zaphod's picture
Exactly Rob, I agree with

Exactly Rob, I agree with your approach completely. The idea is to give them the ability to think for themselves enabling critical thinking skills and thus allowing them to believe whatever they want to, by coming to their own beliefs they can grow to respect and learn more about the beliefs of others and the importance of what people believe. It should be made clear what you believe or don't believe and why if you are asked, but people should remember this is about what the child or children believes not what they want the child or children to believe when offering guidance.

I don't understand why anyone would ever want someone they care about to not come to their own conclusions about their own belief system should they decide to have one. Though I do understand why people who fear hell may want to teach their children to believe in their God and religion so as to avert such a place of eternal damnation. I also understand people wanting to pass on a familiar foundation of morals that think can help the person throughout their lives and make them a well rounded individual. However, I think there are better ways to build a foundation of morals than religion and I think the thoughts and beliefs of others should be observed or studied but always respected so as to build on an individuals own belief structure if said individual should choose to have one and if not, then to at least be better able to understand the belief structures of others and respect them.

mysticrose's picture
It will be harsh for their

It will be harsh for their young minds to understand the complexity of believing to god or not. I would just let my kids enjoy playing and learning until such idea come into their mind. I'm a theist parent, but it will be fine for me if someday my kids concluded that they are in favor of atheist's beliefs.

SammyShazaam's picture
I don't know how, but it

I don't know how, but it seems like as soon as we enter into "adulthood" we forget how amazing we were as children.

If a child was born into an Atheist family, then the question of god or no god would never be as intimidating as it would be to a child who was raised a theist. It has no significance to their lives, their beliefs, or to their trust in their parents honesty and mental faculties, which really in my mind would be the hardest part of letting go of the parent's religion.

SammyShazaam's picture
There's not really much to

There's not really much to teach about atheism :) Just don't spend so much time talking about god and theistic subjects!

As far as other kids, I'm sure they'll deal. Kids are awesome like that.

efpierce's picture
I am letting my children

I am letting my children decide for themselves. I wasn't allowed to do that as a child and it made me resent certain aspects of religion and religious people in general.

Matty Arnold's picture
'Teaching' atheism would be

'Teaching' atheism would be an indoctrination, and would make me no better than the religious indoctrination that I find so abhorrent. Children are biologically built to question things in order to learn - they are born scientists. I would emphatically encourage those questions, never give a cop-out answer, and teach them the benefits of skepticism and that changing your mind in the face of new evidence is not to be avoided but to be relished.

AnimalLeader's picture
It really comes down to the

It really comes down to the same thing though. If you teach atheism, you are being as guilty of forcing them to believe in nothing as religious people force their kids to believe in something. That beats the whole purpose of true atheism in my opinion. A real atheist is open for anything to be possible, but we do not believe in things that can't be proven with science and logic.

mysticrose's picture
It means that they need to

It means that they need to understand science in order for them to understand why they are not doing what other kids does such as going to the church or praying? Maybe atheist parents should introduce the evolution theory to their kids once they started asking about religion.

Zaphod's picture
I thought about this and I

I thought about this and I think if my kids started to ask me about religion I would tell them about the different religions probably starting with a online search and try to encourage them to learn more about them. I would try to make whatever information they wanted available or tell them how to obtain it. I would tell my kids that should observe what the religions have in common and how they contrast I would tell my kids, if they asked and I am sure they would, that I don't believe in a God per say but try my best to let my children come to their own conclusions about what they believe and what they don't. I would tell them to look into genocides and holy wars that have been started in the name Gods due to peoples religious beliefs and explain how these actions were in most cases in direct contrast with what these religions put forth I would ask them for a report on the different horrible things religions of the world have done in the name of deities. I would teach my kids to compare and contrast religions to government. Furthermore, I would tell them that it is not right to completely discredit something that can not be proven untrue any more than it is right to claim something true that can't be proven. But this is where I think I would start, I would tell my children that they should take in everything they can about the religions of the world before they should decide to choose one if that was what they wished to do so as to find the one that fits them best. However, I am pretty sure that after they did this they would probably be an atheist like I am but I would want them to come to this conclusion on their own and not because I forced it on them. If they managed to find a religion that suited them I would try to support their decision and I would talk with them about this religion to try to learn even more about the religion they chose so I could talk with them on a level of understanding and know if they missed something. After I felt confident that they really understood the religion if they decided it what the religion of their choosing I would have to accept that and wish them better for it, but at least I would know that they understood and respected the beliefs of others and more importantly knew that the figureheads were just that figureheads and not the authority of their belief and so the religions would be theirs not the other way around.

mysticrose's picture
Very well said Zaphod. As

Very well said Zaphod. As parents we should really teach our children to observe everything in their surrounding and encourage them to always search for wisdom. We should not push something that we believe and let them discover things as they grow up.

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.