Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 General Skepticism
 Raising children without religion
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  09:32:39  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm raising two.

Both are very bright, courteous, well behaved kids.....no really.

My son is 11 and daughter almost 9.

I would never dream of filling their heads with anything but reality, but there is one area where that seems to cause a little difficulty.

Death. They both have issues with dealing with the concept. We talk about all kinds of things. Like "life is a gift" and just enjoy the time you have. Don't worry about things you can't control...etc...

Any other tips?

My daughter in particular gets a little obsessed at times and borders on having panic attacks. She's afraid that she might die while sleeping and gets freaked out hearing about anyone's accidental death.

I've also tried using technological advances as a buffer. We've discussed how far we've come in extending the average lifespan. We talk about what the near future might do with A.I. & nanotechnology. Obviously they can't comprehend the details....but they get the gist of it.....longer life, possibly a lot longer.


I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  10:50:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that you're 99.9% of the way there by talking to them and by respecting reality. I think a lot of kids don't really have an adult to talk to in that way.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  10:56:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My pair were raised without religion and are doing ok, although this economy has hurt both.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  11:18:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Being in constant fear of death is like being dead already, to enjoy life you must not be afraid to live it.

That might be a bit heavy-duty for a 9-year old.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  14:13:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's a tough problem, death. I certainly haven't solved my own worries about it, nor do I expect to. Atheism isn't exactly a solution in itself, after all. (Of course, all religion offers is a fool's paradise.)

I remember when I was a young man, I sometimes woke in a cold sweat, with the sense of having had a dream which informed me with vivid certainty that I was going to die, specifically of cancer. Such dreams were intermittent until 1984, when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After surgery, chemo and recovery, I never had such dreams again. I suppose, as a Civil War veteran would say, "I have seen the elephant."

Now I simply worry about death a little, from time to time. Death is an unimaginable void at the end of life. Naturally, it's scary, in fact, that is probably literally so: It's very scariness comes from our survival instinct.

What I try to think of are these ideas: I consider that human life if among the longest of all animals. I consider that individual immortality is simply a myth. The closest we may come to immortality is through having some effect upon human culture, and through those we have nourished.

I would remind my kids that life is for the living of it, and that whenever they have worries and fears, they should confide in friends and relatives. They should go outside on a clear night and look to the sky and consider, as Sagan told us, that we are made of stardust. They should consider that our thoughts come largely from the now-dead who have preceded us, and likewise that our thoughts may live on in the minds of those who come after us.

Perhaps the best we can do to counter the fear of death is to accept our place in the vastness of Deep Time and Deep Space.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2009 :  14:54:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My daughter dealt with death at a young age so I had her remind me of all the things that person meant to her. Her memories of that person were enough to keep that person with her. Doesn't work nearly so well if someone close hasn't died yet though. I guess it wasn't so much dealing with death as reminding her that life is all we can control. Seemed to work well with her.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

jakesteele
New Member

USA
37 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2009 :  12:28:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send jakesteele a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I strongly recommend that you allow them the knowledge and awareness of different religions and have them study spirituality/religion and the psychology behind it. Have them go to Wiki and look up every major religion and read about it, especially its core beliefs. Also, at the same time, introduce them to Dawkins, Shermer and William James, The Variety of Religious Experiences, I think it's called.

It sounds like you are exposing them to your view point only. Atheism is nothing more than a world view, a reality tunnel like everything else. You can't prove it is and you can't prove it ain't, just like religion. When it comes to the metaphysical realm, which by definition is ineffable, beyond human comprehension in its totality, at that level you can't prove a negative and you can't disprove a positive.

Give them some free reign. Maybe you daughter will find some solace by studying these things.

Sacred Cows make the tastiest hamburgers
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25977 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2009 :  13:35:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by jakesteele

It sounds like you are exposing them to your view point only. Atheism is nothing more than a world view, a reality tunnel like everything else.
Atheism is not a world view. You can't build an overarching conception of how the world works upon "there probably are no gods." Atheists necessarily get their world views from something other than their atheism.
You can't prove it is and you can't prove it ain't, just like religion.
"You can't prove that god exists" is the important part. There's no reason to believe that for which there is no evidence.
When it comes to the metaphysical realm, which by definition is ineffable, beyond human comprehension in its totality, at that level you can't prove a negative and you can't disprove a positive.
I fail to see why something which is "beyond human comprehension in its totality" should be given any credence at all, unless you start with the by-definition unknowable premise that something that's indescribable exists. Such is how your argument is self-refuting. You suggest that there is something called "the metaphysical realm," but then say it is ineffable, in which case the truth of your premise must be completely unknown. It's not that we can't "disprove a positive" about it, it's that we can't gauge the truth or falsehood of any statement, positive or negative, about something that cannot (by definition) be described.
Give them some free reign. Maybe you daughter will find some solace by studying these things.
Yes, feed her some hopes with absolutely no basis in reality, that's the way to ground a kid. astropin's talking about serious anxiety problems, and can't be expected to tell his kid something like, "a whole bunch of other people cope by appealing to beings which I don't believe exist, why don't you read about them?"

Hell, a quick, Wikipedia-style gloss of Christianity would simply increase the anxiety, wouldn't it? If she's worried about dying in her sleep, it seems to me she'd be even more worried if she thinks that she might die in her sleep without having the right kind of faith, since there are thousands of different sects, most of which think that the others are dooming their adherents.

I wish I had advice to give you, astropin. The death question hasn't come up with my 8-year-old, except in the case of four goldfish, a cat and a dog. He took all of them in stride, but that may be because he wasn't close to any of them. On the other hand, if he gets it into his head that a tornado is going to hit the house, it takes 15 minutes of explanations to calm him down again.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

jakesteele
New Member

USA
37 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  03:31:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send jakesteele a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing I'd like to establish is that I'm an atheist, also. I don't believe in god(s). And yes, atheism is a world view, “a framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it.” It's a way of achieving cognitive closure, “the human desire to eliminate ambiguity and arrive at definite conclusions (sometimes irrationally)”. It's a way of arriving at an explanation for the most basic of questions for a sentient being to ask: Who am I, what am I and why am I? Modern atheism invariably gets down to a person viewing life, the universe and everything in a reductionist, mechanistic manner in which humans are little more than sacks of meat and water with highly evolved chemical reactions where life is just an incredibly huge, astronomically unlikely, cosmic fluke, and we're just a bunch of clever apes hurtling through space on a big ball of dirt and water with no purpose and no meaning.

Studying religions gives a person a context in which to view atheism. Before I became an atheist I studied religion, philosophy, spirituality, metaphysics, paranormal and whatever else I could find. That helped me to arrive at an atheistic world view that fits comfortably into my own skin. Had my parents required or insisted I believe in atheism, I would have undoubtedly rebelled and become something else.
Studying different religions actually complements atheism. By studying other religions I was able to formulate a moral and ethical compass that was a distillation of all the major religions which boil down to the same basic tenets. That is something Atheism lacks; a moral/ethical compass or a rudder. Sure, they have posted their obligatory version of the Commandments on their main site, but I found that atheists in general are all over the map pertaining to morals, ethics and scruples, and be default, gravitate toward Aliester Crawley's Law, “The whole of the law is do what thou wilt.”

But I do believe in allowing people to access information, study, asses, ask questions and arrive at their own conclusions as opposed to having somebody else's belief system forcible imposed. Yes, they are young, but they are also at an age where these things start becoming very important.

It's like explaining sex in just the mechanist sense and not explaining romance, falling in love and why, falling out of love and why, man and wife creating family. It's not like they aren't going to find out about these things, anyway.


Sacred Cows make the tastiest hamburgers
Go to Top of Page

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  05:05:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by jakesteele

One thing I'd like to establish is that I'm an atheist, also. I don't believe in god(s). And yes, atheism is a world view, “a framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it.” It's a way of achieving cognitive closure, “the human desire to eliminate ambiguity and arrive at definite conclusions (sometimes irrationally)”. It's a way of arriving at an explanation for the most basic of questions for a sentient being to ask: Who am I, what am I and why am I? Modern atheism invariably gets down to a person viewing life, the universe and everything in a reductionist, mechanistic manner in which humans are little more than sacks of meat and water with highly evolved chemical reactions where life is just an incredibly huge, astronomically unlikely, cosmic fluke, and we're just a bunch of clever apes hurtling through space on a big ball of dirt and water with no purpose and no meaning.

Studying religions gives a person a context in which to view atheism. Before I became an atheist I studied religion, philosophy, spirituality, metaphysics, paranormal and whatever else I could find. That helped me to arrive at an atheistic world view that fits comfortably into my own skin. Had my parents required or insisted I believe in atheism, I would have undoubtedly rebelled and become something else.
Studying different religions actually complements atheism. By studying other religions I was able to formulate a moral and ethical compass that was a distillation of all the major religions which boil down to the same basic tenets. That is something Atheism lacks; a moral/ethical compass or a rudder. Sure, they have posted their obligatory version of the Commandments on their main site, but I found that atheists in general are all over the map pertaining to morals, ethics and scruples, and be default, gravitate toward Aliester Crawley's Law, “The whole of the law is do what thou wilt.”

But I do believe in allowing people to access information, study, asses, ask questions and arrive at their own conclusions as opposed to having somebody else's belief system forcible imposed. Yes, they are young, but they are also at an age where these things start becoming very important.

It's like explaining sex in just the mechanist sense and not explaining romance, falling in love and why, falling out of love and why, man and wife creating family. It's not like they aren't going to find out about these things, anyway.




Sorry to burst your bubble but, atheism is simply "the lack of a a belief in god(s)" all of that other stuff is a personal philosophy and not universally applicable to atheism.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  06:49:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by jakesteele
I found that atheists in general are all over the map pertaining to morals, ethics and scruples, and be default, gravitate toward Aliester Crawley's Law, “The whole of the law is do what thou wilt.”
This misconseption of Atheism seems to be very common among evangelical Christians who doesn't understand what Atheism is really all about.
I agree with BigPapaSmurf.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  07:10:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by jakesteele

That is something Atheism lacks; a moral/ethical compass or a rudder.

and...

atheists in general... gravitate toward Aliester Crawley's Law, “The whole of the law is do what thou wilt.


I can't imagine anything more rediculous than an atheist deriving his moral compass from a distillation of the moral teachings of the very world views that he has come to reject. That is insanity.

Atheism itself is no more of a world view than asantaclausism. Lacking a belief in Santa does not in any way inform me about the workings of the world around me, it simply means I should not expect gifts under my christmas tree unless someone else provides them. Lacking a belief in gods is much the same. Saying "god didn't do it" does not inform me about what did do it and how I should behave to extract maximum benefit.

And the "do what thou wilt" is a typical, but uninformed, criticism of atheism seen mostly from silly anti-atheist propaganda. None of the atheist I know, myself inclused, practices "do what thou wilt", for that is the road to anarchy, a most unpleasant situation.

You've thought about this a lot?



"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  10:18:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jake, your idea of how atheists operate is severely suffering from ignorance of the subject, flavored by wrongheaded fundamentalist talking points. Those ideas are also as insulting as they are wrong.

Many of us atheists are probably among the most morally conventional people you'd meet. Why? Because we try to act in ways proven to be beneficial to both society and ourselves.

We don't cobble together our morality by cherry-picking from theistic fairy-tales. Most of us also probably spend more time than True Believers do in considering right-and-wrong decisions, simply because we know parroted commandments from thousands of years ago are, to speak charitably, unreliable. For us to parrot Aleister Crowley, who was hardly a paragon of morality, is about as unlikely as us wanting to obey every one of the Ten Commandments. (By the way, modern Neo-Pagans overhaul Crowley's amoral "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," by adding "an it harm no-one.")

Your idea that atheists think of people are mere automatons is absurd. Yes, we think people are part of the material world, but even the simplest organisms far exceed machines in their deep complexities. Evolution is so far beyond human design that calling even an ant a mere machine is ridiculous.

Quote us a quote from a major atheist author who shows such disdain for humanity.

[Edit: Spelling.]

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 08/17/2009 17:33:53
Go to Top of Page

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  10:36:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am an atheist partly because I see beliefs in the supernatural as being the antithesis of any kind of useful morality.

How can it be more moral to place a higher value on things that can't exist than on things that do exist?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Go to Top of Page

astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  10:58:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My kids are free to explore whatever subjects they wish to. We talk about religion all the time.

I've also had the same 15 minute discussion on the likelihood of a tornado hitting our house.

Kids are great. They have very active imaginations which lead to some amazing conversations. But, they can also be quickly confused on the probabilities of certain events occurring.

My daughter had a recent dream where her brother got into a lightsaber fight with Darth Vader. But after fighting for a bit they decided to stop and be friends. Then Darth Vader came over to our house and made us some baked ziti.



I remember my son and I watching a discovery channel program about the sun. Of course near the end of the show it gave a great visual of the sun turning into a red giant and engulfing the inner planets; he freaked a little. That was years ago and to this day he will still occasionally ask about what our(humans) plan will be to leave Earth before that happens. I think he's planning on being around when it does.

Kids have no real concept of the timeframes involved, especially when talking about the universe or evolution. Hell most of the time I don't think I really grasp the time frames involved. Little glimpses, but not a true understanding. I think Dawkins "The Selfish Gene" gave me the best glimpse I've ever had.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25977 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2009 :  13:52:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by jakesteele

One thing I'd like to establish is that I'm an atheist, also. I don't believe in god(s). And yes, atheism is a world view, “a framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it.” It's a way of achieving cognitive closure, “the human desire to eliminate ambiguity and arrive at definite conclusions (sometimes irrationally)”. It's a way of arriving at an explanation for the most basic of questions for a sentient being to ask: Who am I, what am I and why am I?
Aside from the other criticisms you've already received, I have to say that the above is true only to the extent that by not believing in gremlins, I arrive at an explanation for where my car keys are. Atheism just eliminates one possible answer to the "why am I?" type questions. One possible answer among zillions.
Modern atheism invariably gets down to a person viewing life, the universe and everything in a reductionist, mechanistic manner in which humans are little more than sacks of meat and water with highly evolved chemical reactions where life is just an incredibly huge, astronomically unlikely, cosmic fluke, and we're just a bunch of clever apes hurtling through space on a big ball of dirt and water with no purpose and no meaning.
Modern atheism does no such thing. Modern atheism, at the very least, recognizes the difference between some allegedly universal purpose and meaning, and the purpose and meaning we each supply to our own lives, anyway. Besides, Christianity (for just one example) is actually devoid of purpose and meaning, unless glorifying God is an end to itself (which would be pretty pathetic).

Studying religions gives a person a context in which to view atheism. Before I became an atheist I studied religion, philosophy, spirituality, metaphysics, paranormal and whatever else I could find. That helped me to arrive at an atheistic world view that fits comfortably into my own skin.
That's fine, of course.
Had my parents required or insisted I believe in atheism, I would have undoubtedly rebelled and become something else.
Undoubtedly, which is why most Christian parents' kids turn to atheism.
Studying different religions actually complements atheism. By studying other religions I was able to formulate a moral and ethical compass that was a distillation of all the major religions which boil down to the same basic tenets.
Sounds like a lot more work than necessary.
That is something Atheism lacks; a moral/ethical compass or a rudder.
As I said, atheism isn't a worldview. Thanks for agreeing.
Sure, they have posted their obligatory version of the Commandments on their main site...
You make it difficult to believe that you're an atheist when you talk about atheists in the third person. Besides, what is the atheists' "main site" which has an "obligatory version of the Commandments?" I must not be an atheist, since I know of no such site.
...but I found that atheists in general are all over the map pertaining to morals, ethics and scruples, and be default, gravitate toward Aliester

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.58 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000