Friday, 11 December 2009

Christian VS Atheist parenting

Recently I met a friend who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years. She had been raised in a fairly large Christian family, and who had many siblings. During our conversation, she asks me how my lady and children were doing; I told her everyone was fine, and then I ask her about her family. She said her dad had died, and her mom was in a nursing home, one of her sisters was on crack-cocaine, and other drugs, and was infected with HIV, and one of her brothers was doing life in prison, and another one would be out of prison real soon. She then told me her youngest brother had been shot to death, in another state, in a gang related shooting.

Then she asks me if my kids were married, and if I had any grandkids yet. I told her all 3 of them, were in still in school, in one higher learning institution, or another. She then said: you must feel “blessed” to have 3 boys doing so well; they must be going to church, and staying good. I told her none of my kids had ever been in a church; other than to attend funerals.

She then said: Oh, I forgot, you don’t go to church either. I then told her, I am a lifelong atheist, and my lady and children, were all atheists and agnostics. She then asks: did you ever even tell them about Jesus, or let them read the bible. I replied: we raised our children, without them being exposed to superstition and fear; at this point, this is where thing went south, and real fast too! She then said: don’t you even love them, or care about where their “souls” are going, when they die? Did you even let them pray? I replied: we simply didn’t practice religion. She then said in a loud voice: that’s just wrong, you should have let them go to church, and let them decide, if they wanted to accept Jesus or not.

At this point, I was getting a little pissed off. I told her we had raised our children to be logical, and think for themselves, and simply not to be followers, and act like sheep; that I had started teaching them about science at a real young age, and of the natural world of reality (it’s not even conceivable to me to tell them something so completely irrational, that the first man was made by god, from the dust of the earth; or the first women was made from his rib – or a ghost raped a little girl, and made a baby Jesus). By the time most of them were 10 or so, if someone would have told them, if they just believe in the rid-women, and the baby-Jesus story - and if they do, they’ll live forever, somewhere in the fucking sky; they would have ran away screaming. She then said: you’re both fucked up parents; who never should have had children. Then she left.

At that point, for a few moments I just stood there shaking my head. I’ve seen too many times the results of a good Christian upbringing. You see these ignorant people beating their children, while shopping in stores. Their children grow up believing they can do anything they want; as long as they repent their sins to Jesus. The prisons are bursting at the seams with Christians.

Personally, I believe the way we raise our children is no one’s fucking business – least of which, some deluded Christian. We raised our kids to explore the world and learn; not to be enslaved by a silly fucking myth. We never spanked our children, or abused them in anyway; when they did something bad, we simply talked to them. The only thing’s I ever said that came even close to a religious threat was “if you guys don’t stop acting bad, I’m going to start worshiping volcanoes.” This would usually create an outburst of laughter; followed by a hug, and most often they’d say “dad, we know you wouldn’t throw us in a volcano.”

The questions I’m asking here is: are we as atheists somehow obligated to teach our children religious ignorance and stupidity. I hear this same form of stupidity, echoed from those who want both evolution, and the creation myth taught in schools, and then just let the children decide which one they want to believe. And is there a better way to handle this type of verbal exchange with Christians