9 comments on “Parenting in a Vacuum

  1. I totally agree with you. Children are born atheist and wouldn’t know of any God, if it weren’t for parents putting that into their heads. I grew up in a very indoctrinating religion (LDS), I was told what to believe from the moment I was born. I was never given an option as to what was true or what I could believe. I was told what to believe, and if I didn’t believe it, then there must be something wrong with me. Because of this, I have very strong feelings about indoctrination. I am not raising my kids to be any religion, and I’m not raising them to be atheist. I’m raising them to think, and decide for themselves. They can be whatever they want to be and believe whatever they want to believe, and they can change their minds however many times they want. I just want to teach them to make educated decisions.

  2. I disagree, and here’s why. Take the 5th Commandment for example. It says Honor your father and mother. The commandments were not given as prerequisites to be loved. They were given as a way to show love to God for all that He has done for us. As a parent, we love our children no matter how many times they mess up. But as children, the best way to show our parents that we love them, it to obey them. When they disobey, they are put in time out. There is distance between us and them. But when they obey, they are walking closely by our side. Sin separates us from God. And adherence to his word brings us closer to His side. BUT, he loves us just the same no matter what. And He desires a close relationship with each of us. His love is not conditional on our behavior. But our behavior is a reflection of our love for Him. And If your religious beliefs have this backwards, then blame the religion, not God.

    I do agree that Children are born “atheist” in the sense that they have no inherent belief in God. But, they are also born without a lick of common sense too. So I’m not sure that this analogy works to your advantage. Children are, however, born completely dependent on their parents. And there is no denying that without parents, a newborn would be able to survive more than a few days.

    As a parent, you are responsible for teaching them right from wrong. As they get older, you will may let them start to make their own decisions, but you must also be willing to let them face their own consequences. I think this is a very rational approach. For example, if my 6yr old wants to stay up late, that’s perfectly fine with me, but he had better not complain when it’s time to get up for school in the morning. Regardless of what choices you make, the bottom line is that the world does not revolve around you. And whether you like it or not, you must conform to some set of guidelines in order to function in this world. I don’t have to meet the lawmakers to be subject to their laws. And I also don’t have to be a perfect citizen in order for those laws to provide protection for me as well as everyone else.

    When the bible talks about the day of judgement, we are not being judged based on what we believe. We are being judge on what we have done. This is no different than a court of law. You either broke the law, or you didn’t. You are either guilty, or you are innocent. But IF you are guilty, then a price must be paid in order for you to go free. Jesus Christ paid that price when he died on the Cross. It’s as simple as that. But if you reject that payment, and choose to take your own punishment, then that is your choice. It is as simple as that. It’s not some “weird story” unless by “weird” you mean that you are just confused by the fact that someone you’ve never met would do something so sacrificial for you. This should blow all our minds. But that doesn’t make it weird.

    The bible does not teach that people are not “equal” in the sense that some are better than others. Evolution teaches that some are more evolved than others. The Bible says “ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.” But clearly, if there is such a thing as a lie, there must be such as thing as truth. If there is darkness, there is light. If you reject that absolutes exist, then on what grounds do you build your foundation for logic and truth?

    By this point, a common objection to Salvation through Jesus Christ is 1) what about those that lived before Jesus Christ, how were they “saved” or, 2) what about those people in the world today that have never heard about Jesus Christ, how could a just God dame them Hell (it’s not fair, etc..). If you are at all interested in the answers to these questions, I’d be happy to answer them. They are both in the bible. But I don’t want to overwhelm this comment with details that are not relevant to your original post.

    Thanks for your time,

    • Hi Jackie – thanks for your comments. Although we disagree fundamentally, I always appreciate differing opinions. Having said that, I don’t think you realize perhaps, just how Atheist I am. Saying something like “Jesus died on the cross, it’s as simple as that” is a bit comical in my opinion. To me it’s obviously not as simple as that. I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in Jesus. There is not a lot of evidence that he even existed (outside of the bible) let alone that he rose from the dead. I certainly wouldn’t look to him or his relationship with his “father” as a good parenting example.

      You also say that children must obey (or they are put in a time out) – umm, that is not a parenting goal in my household. It’s presumptuous to think that because you demand obedience and punish using time outs, that everyone else does too. We don’t do time outs and I don’t expect my kid to obey me. Obviously as a parent there are times when you need your kid to listen but I have to say that most of the time, when my kid looks at me and says “No Mom, I don’t want to do that” a little part of me is ecstatic. I want her to have her own opinions and be able to say no. She knows there are times when I need her to listen and there are times when she has some say. Blind obedience and listening “just because I said so” is not something we strive for.

      Of course the Bible teaches inequality. Have you read what is has to say about women!? Slaves?! Gays?! Blacks?! I’m not even going to go there. The bible categorizes people and so do religions. You are saved or not-saved, member or non-Member. You are Christian, or Muslim, or Baptist or Lutheran. These are all titles designed to strip away individuality and focus on something as silly as religious affiliation. As for evolution teaching that some people are less evolved…what on earth are you talking about? Evolution does not teach that. At all. In fact, it is the great equalizer of humanity. Scientific nomenclature categorizes us all as Home sapiens. Black, white, male, female, Muslim, Christian, American, African – we are all the same.

      Jackie – those objections to “salvation through Jesus Christ” are valid but not even close to the most common. I don’t have any questions about them. I don’t need to be “saved” because there is nothing to be saved from. There is no hell, no God to punish me and no Son to save me. And to you that might sound terrifying. To me it sounds comforting.


      • I do hear what you are saying. And I respect where you are coming from. I did not mean to imply that I expect my children to obey me, but rather that clearly as parents we try our best to do what is best for our kids out of love. I don’t want them to obey because I am on some sort of power trip. I merely hope they will obey because I want to spare them from certain things. That doesn’t mean I want them to grow up in a bubble. I fully support their right to fall and get back up again. But I wouldn’t want them to take a bullet simply so they might have the opportunity to learn from it. There’s a big distinction.

        Yes, I have read what the bible says about women, slaves, homosexuals, blacks. I am not naive to the running theme of inequality throughout history. But the historical accounts found in the Bible are NOT the theme of the Bible, nor is it the message from God. You need only look at the creation account in Genesis BEFORE the fall took place. God didn’t create Eve to be inferior to Adam. She’s not a slave to him, or a sex object, or anything like that. She is literally the most glorious thing in all of God’s creation, and she is taken from Adam’s side to represent their equal value before God. She wasn’t formed from a toe bone.

        You and I both have knowledge of the Bible. But clearly we see completely different themes shining through. Just so you know, I wasn’t raised by a preacher or anything. I was raised Catholic and can relate to many of the same memories you had growing up (Easter and Christmas). My passion in college was science. And in High School I wrote a research paper in Psychology Class that was aimed at proving how infidelity is not a sin, but a a biological drive.

        I have great respect for science. But I don’t think it contradicts the bible. Even the creation of the earth in Genesis is consistent with science in ways that I would not expect any ancient text to be. I have actually started writing a book that contains roughly 30 objections to God. Reasons why people don’t think God is necessary or even possible. For each objection, I am proposing logical statements that I feel make the case that we truly can’t just dismiss God entirely. I wonder if you would be interested in adding to my list of objections? I could email the objections I’ve already come up with, and you could add any others that you think are missing. You raise some very intelligent perspectives in your blog, and I believe you could give me insight that I have not even considered.

        Thanks :)

      • In response to your statement that “There is not a lot of evidence that he even existed (outside of the bible) let alone that he rose from the dead.”

        I asked said the same thing a few weeks ago actually. I did some research and found that there are some non-christian accounts of Jesus. But they were all written AFTER his death so it is considered nothing but hearsay by atheists. I do think it is interesting though. Especially the mention that appears in the Annals of Rome by Cornelius Tacitus. “Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians” (Wikipedia). Supposedly he is known for his reputation for reporting only facts. And the brief mention of Christ is not really meant to add support for his teachings. Nor does it paint Christians in a positive light.


        “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

  3. Another GREAT post! I totally agree with you. I love that when my kids ask a question, I try to give them an answer based on facts. Not the “God made it/God did it” that I got as a kid. I plan to expose them to religion, many religions, but in a way they can hopefully have enough information to base their religious choices on how they truly feel not because they are scared of “hell”. I don’t mind if they grow up to be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist – I just want them to make a choice they truly believe in. Not one they have been indoctrinated into.

    P.S. I can’t figure out why Christians feel the need to post comments on an ATHEIST blog!

  4. “Kids don’t invent God. They don’t usually require that you introduce am omniscient, omnipotent being into their lives in order to help them make sense of the world. They have what they need. Raising an Atheist (at least during the early stages) doesn’t require you to do anything at all. You just don’t talk about God. You don’t teach them about it. When they have questions, you answer them honestly.”

    This is such a great point.

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