Now that I have children, I *might* want to expose them to religion

Good morning!

This is something my hubs and I have chatted about on and off. We are not religious nor spiritual. But after having children, we feel maybe it would be nice to expose them to it. We’re from San Francisco, and the Jewish community there is quite dominant. I actually really enjoyed living in a city with a big Jewish influence. I also quite enjoy Buddhism. I interpret it as a way of life, not as a religion.

So anyhow, any of you in the same position, where pre-kids you were atheist/indifferent/not religious, but after having children you think it would be a good idea to give them a spiritual foundation, expose them to some culture and customs and traditions, feel a closeness to their “people?”

I’d love to expose them to the above, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, maybe even Dao. Not satanism and witchcraft, thank you.

Or is this just something parents of little kids all go through and when they’re older I’ll regret it? Just talking out loud, perhaps open up a discussion about parenting and religion.

Atheists, people without children, feel free to input, but please keep on topic.

I’m not religious and am quite happy to condemn people’s daft beliefs, however I will aim to teach my kids about the different religions of the world, because without that knowledge they won’t be in a position to question those beliefs.

I love the way you specify that you won’t teach them about satanism or witchcraft as though they are worse than the other religions you listed. Endeavor to educate with broad brushstrokes and let them do the rest, like any subject they’ll either show an interest or they won’t.

Before I answer, are you going to cross post this on Tease? :laughing:

Stuartca, tru dat.

Rodeo, do i ever cross post on :slight_smile:

Rodeo, do i ever cross post on :slight_smile:[/quote]
I do not know, 914. That is why I ask. I have my personal preferences too, yo. :sunglasses:

I’d like to answer your question, though. It’s a good question. :thumbsup:

I think it’s good to introduce them to the major religions whenever you get those chances and have their attention. When it’s Christmas, you can explain to them the story of the birth of Jesus. I’ll add in that this is the religion that Gramma and Auntie believe in.

When we went to Malaysia/Singapore, I took the girls on trips to a church, a Buddhist Temple, and a Mosque and explained as much as they would listen to.

I let my sister-in-law take my kids to Buddhist reading/fun nights. I went once myself, and it all seemed good, but boring for those over 10. Whenever you visit a temple, you can tell them the basics of Buddhism, Daoism etc. I tend to stick to the basics.

When I was in Jerusalem, I went into a bookstore with another traveler; when we started asking questions, like “Who was Rachel?” (We’d just visited Rachel’s Tomb), the friendly man in the bookstore took pity on us for our lack of knowledge, and he gave me a copy of the Good News Bible-Special Edition-In Full Color. It was from a stack of Bible’s that someone had left to be given away. I’ve gone through the pictures in the GNB with my kids, and they seem to get something out of it. At least they know what that part of the world looks like. :laughing:

My mother (Catholic) also sent me my Little Golden Books - Bible Stories that she read to me when I was little. I’ve read them to my girls, but to be honest, they are a little dry for kids. The public library on ChienGwo has better religious books for children.

I’ve read about 5 to 10 thousand books to my kids, and I think they just look at these few religious stories they know as fairy tales that many adults believe in. I kind of feel I owe it to my mother and kids to expose them to the basics of Christianity. I doubt many kids raised by me would suddenly want to go to church or the temple on their own. What they choose to believe as they grow up is up to them, but I hope they always feel they can discuss it with me and others without being worried about the repercussions.

I would teach, do teach, my kid about anything and everything. I’d much rather it come from me than some stranger somewhere.

Good morning!

Religion sort of is a way of life, for adherents, at least.

Catholicism is a sect of Christianity. Remember that there is an important distinction between philisophical and popular Daoism. Should your kids decide to practice one of the monotheistic religions, they should have no problem also enjoying philisophical Daoism.

They should learn about morality. They will get some of that in school, how to live with other people. They will get most of their cues from mommy and daddy. So be a good examples.

I started to go to church more after I had kids. For kids, church is mostly play time. Sometimes I would hear my daughter singing some song to herself, like in a store while you are shopping, “Love thy neighbor”. I thought that can’t be bad.

Just got back from church (Catholic) and it reminded me why I go sometimes.

None of the ‘you only get to heaven if you love Jesus’ rubbish. Sermon was about how every religion in the world teaches compassion, but the world teaches competition (and politicians can’t be trusted). But that by trying to be first, we actually end up last, so we should be more humble and serve each other rather than seek out victory.

Good stuff. Then again, i don’t remember ANY of the sermons I ever heard as a child - in fact, I think I only realised that the priest actually gave a sermon when I was around 13 or so.

I haven’t taught my kids religion per se. Just prayer.

Hinduism, they take from the dances, plays, and basically from our way of life - Hinduism does not have tenets, and atheism is a big part of Hinduism!!! They learn about legends and Gods like Ram and Krishna on festivals much like they learn the story of Jesus on Christmas. I don’t shield them from anything, when they see a Mosque they know it is a Mosque and I ask them to say a little prayer and their father being a Sikh takes them (with me) to a Gurudwaras on their Birthdays or whatever and they pray there and we go to Churches all over the world and I’ll tell them about David and Goliath etc. and they listen in rapture.

What I’m teaching them for now, is that we pray and respect religious sentiment and that we follow a certain decorum in places of worship. The teachings? I think they’ll choose if they want to follow a particular doctrine.

Much the same as I won’t my kids know what is a good book, I am most certainly not giving them any instruction in any religion.

Any pollution or trickle on down with regards to theory will gush from their own cranium. I prefer to think one chooses one tactic, but theory, well, maybe I just couldn’t get into that particular book.
I am glad that my kids can advance and withdraw in good order. Their deployment are sound.
Let them find their own way…
Isn’t that why we fought for an empire?
That’s why I did, in any event…

You have to ask yourself whether the sense of community, direction and belonging that the church might provide is worth predisposing your child to a religious delusion. You might not think of religious faith as delusional yourself but in reality it definitely fits the bill. Lots of psychologists are coming out of the closet about it these days. Anyway, there is no way a person really has a fair chance to decide for themselves about the legitimacy of supernatural claims once they have become emotionally attached to a particular “faith” as a child. I happen to agree that people should study religion but along with it they should also study the humanist analysis of it. That is probably asking too much of a child.

I grew up in a family where people of all religions and ideals were welcome, even though we followed none. I remember being eight or nine years old, and every week making tea for a different religious group that dad had invited for a chat. The Baha’i, Hare Krishna, Buddhist, Seventh Day Adventist, the United Pentecosts, the Latter Day Saints… a rather long list for our town of 8,000. We had reading material from all of them, as well as the Koran even though there was no Muslim community in our town at that time. We had cookbooks and religious books and music. We also had books on Black Magic and Voodoo. We were taught to respect, try to understand, and not mess around with any of them.

I’d really like to try and pass on this respectful interest in others and their beliefs to my children. A practical first step is to visit the Museum of World Religions in Yong He. I took my children there last year. Every religion is handled with respect and care. There are bilingual handouts for each religion, so you can get a quick run-down if you are not familiar. The scale models of the places of worship are amazing. The children’s play area is also very well-done.

We also read a lot of different books from the library, that introduce the beliefs and traditions of various religious groups around the world. My kids are still fairly young (6 and 8), so I don’t bring up too many big questions. If they ask, I’ll do my best to give an honest answer and let them know that my ideas are only based on what I know, which isn’t everything. We are also very lucky to be attending a school where the principal values compassion above competition, which is something I believe in very much, above any religious principles.

Satanism makes more sense than Christianity, have you actually looked it up?

When I was a kid my parents gave me a “Religions of the world” book, which talked about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. My parents didn’t bring me to church, but we occasionally accompanied my grandparents to church at Christmastime, and occasionally attended Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist ceremonies given by friends of the family. One thing I am grateful to my parents for is not indoctrinating me into any religion; not telling me that any of them are the True Truth, but that there are many different religions, and many of their inherents believe in them with conviction.

Living in Taiwan, you’ll have the opportunity to bring your kids to colorful temple festivals, which they’ll find fun.

I think exposure to a variety of religions, but with indoctrination into none of them, is the way to go.

My wife is a Christian, and my daughter goes to Sunday school every week. I’m not the biggest fan of the Almighty, but I don’t see any real harm in her being exposed to the doctrines. It certainly allows me to play the foil to what she is learning at church, and gently show her a more questioning path through the garden of the Lord, rather than a blind acceptance.

“Daddy, God looks after everyone, and when you are sick, you pray to him and he makes you better.”
There are a lot of counter-ideas you can tenderly plant into a 6-year-old’s head after that statement.

One of the things I like about the public education system in Taiwan is that there’s no religious worship. At schools in the UK at primary level, this is mandatory. There must be an act of worship every day. You can opt out of it, but then your child becomes singled out and potentially stigmatised.

Neither my husband nor I have any religious beliefs. My father was an atheist and I wasn’t christened as a baby. My husband was brought up rather lackadaisically Church of England, which is best summarised Eddie Izzard:

So we haven’t introduced our son to any religion. That’s something for him to decide about when he gets older. But once he started attending school in the UK, he started to come home from school saying things like God is watching him in case he’s naughty, and had an assumed acceptance that God, Jesus etc, really exist. His school wasn’t a faith school (which is another public school option in the UK), and we were sending him there to be educated, not indoctrinated.

I don’t have any objection to him learning about all kinds of different religions and belief systems, but I do object to him being told that any religion is the ‘true’ one, and that what some other people happen to believe are literal facts. What was most confusing for him was that he was being told these things by his educators, the very people whom he’s supposed to trust are telling him the truth. As parents it was quite hard for us to explain the nature of what he was being told, without undermining the authority of the people that were doing this.

Eddie Izzard, bloody brilliant.

Personally I don’t see any point “exposing” your child to religion if you don’t believe any of it. That in itself is a form of indoctrination: you’re saying (if only indirectly) that you think it’s all a load of bollocks, but you feel duty-bound to tell your kid all about it anyway. Kids tend to pick up on your vibes and they’ll probably show as little interest in it as you do.

I’m a Christian, but my dad is Buddhist. I loathe organised religion of any kind, including the kind Izzard is poking fun at, and most especially the kind that has a political agenda and way too much political power (e.g., Catholicism or Islam). I am also appalled by the kind of facile Jesus-as-Santa-Claus teaching that goes on in certain schools (as per Nuit’s and petrichor’s posts). I think it’s this kind of thing - religiosity and religion-by-numbers - that turns most people off the concept of religion.

If the OP wants to teach his kid about religion but in a critical way, he could do worse than read some of C.S.Lewis’s work. Lewis was an atheist and intellectual who became convinced that Christianity was “real”, but he spent much of his later life analyzing his new religion. Some of it descents into navel-gazing, but he was a very smart guy and wrote interesting essays on the basic tenets of Christianity.

A little more:

In my family, religion just didn’t really feature as part of our life. We weren’t anti-religiuos; we simply were non-religious, and went about our daily lives with barely a mention of religion, just as one might barely mention stamp collecting. I wasn’t kept from religion, though. On the way to the candy store I would pass by a number of different churches and temples. (I remember there was one church I’d pass by on the way to the candy store after getting my weekly allowance: it was “Church of Christ, Scientist”. It conjured up images in my mind of Jesus in a lab coat with test tubes!) So I was well aware of religion. I had classmates who were Jewish, as well as a few Muslims. I’m sure I had Christian classmates as a kid, but nobody seemed to talk about it; it was probably one of those things that “goes without saying”. Then we moved to England for a few years and I attended CoE schools, in which we had religious services during assembly. But it was quite routine and none of us kids took it seriously.