You hear it a lot: teaching your kids to be an Atheist is no different and no better than teaching your kid to be a Christian/Muslim/Hindu etc. It’s brainwashing them, just the same.
I actually used to think this was a frustrating and somewhat valid argument. That is, until I actually became a parent. Continue Reading
Back in December, when Declan was about 8 months old, he was having an awful time sleeping. He had had some teeth come in and in the haze of many middle-of-the-night wakings, I had pulled him into bed with me. He learned very quickly that he liked it there and wanted to stay. I had been conscientious from the beginning of making sure he knew how to self-soothe. I had been through that with my daughter and had made sure he was always put down while still awake. He had been doing really well until he realized there was an alternative. And like all humans, young and old alike, he was quick to unlearn what didn’t suit him. Continue Reading
I get a lot of emails and comments from parents who are recently “out of the closet” atheists and are feeling very alone. Many of you readers are the only atheist family you know and are struggling with how to parent and don’t have anyone to talk to. The comments I read always make me feel frustrated – there really are a lot of us out there but we haven’t figured out yet how to form a cohesive group without getting churchy about it. :) I am glad that this site has made some of you feel less alone and I am always happy to hear from you. Continue Reading
(The title of this post comes from a band I used to listen to in Junior High when I was pseudo-angry and really cutting edge but still deeply nerdy. They’re actually worth a listen if you can stand academic rap. )
In the past I have called for fellow Atheists to come out of the closet. Richard Dawkins is leading the charge to encourage non-believers to stop hiding
behind the term “agnostic” and tell the people they work with, live with and love that they are Atheists. I believe strongly in this principle and know that it is the surest way to gain acceptance and end the ignorance that so often accompanies the “A word”.
And yet (this is where the hypocrisy comes in) I haven’t done the same in my own life. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone who knows me knows I’m an Atheist. My family, all my friends and anyone who ever happens to bring up the subject of religion within a 10 mile radius of me, all know how I feel. (Although I have learned to be a little less
psycho militant about it as I’ve gotten older. It doesn’t exactly endear you to people.) On this blog however, I have remained anonymous and it has been nagging at me for ages.
There were several reasons why I chose not to use my name and simply go with Atheist Mom. It provides me with a sense of freedom to write about whatever and whomever I choose without the fear of repercussion. Mostly, I was concerned that my in-laws might be offended by what I have to say about their
cult religion. My husband also has a completely irrational fear that I would be endangering our kids by posting their pictures online next to the word “Atheist”. Irrational but not crazy. So, we’ve reached a compromise – I will post our pictures but not our last name. Is that still wimping out? It’s a tough one – I want to introduce you to my family and my life but I also want to protect them and my husband is a pretty private guy. I’m trying to remain true to my ideals without pissing off the man I love.
So, there I am – up in the right-hand corner. Atheist Mom…also known as Caroline.
And here are my adorable babes:
Yesterday our close friends baptised their baby in the Greek Orthodox church. We happen to know that the Dad is an atheist and the Mom, well, she may believe in God but I would hardly call her religious (let alone orthodox). Like many cultures, religion and family are intimately tied together and these celebrations are opportunities to do just that – celebrate. The ceremony was held at the same church where we attended our friends’ wedding – where he (a red-haired Scot) was officially baptised into the Greek Orthodox religion and partook in all kinds of weird ceremonial dress and dance to do it. It was a total blast to watch – nobody could help but draw parallels between what we were witnessing and the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.
Our daughter had never been to a church before and was full of awe, confusion and questions about what on earth was going on. In hindsight I maybe should have prepped her about what we were about to see but to be honest, I was more focused on the ouzo-infused after party than the event itself. As we sat in the hot and ornately decorated church (the walls are covered in gold, stained glass, pictures of haloed saints, complex imagery and oh, did I mention gold?), she asked me “Why is that man singing? What are they putting on the boy’s head? Why are they putting oil on his head? Why are there candles? Why do I have to be quiet? Why is the boy wearing that hat?” I am afraid I didn’t have many good answers for her. I couldn’t explain those things to an adult, let alone a three-year-old.
I explained that this was a church and that some people believe in God and they go to church. She knows that we don’t believe in God – that’s about as far as the conversation has gotten. When she asked me “Why do some people believe in God?” I sat there, baffled for a minute. “Because it makes them feel good honey. Just like you have pink blanky.”
She was happy with that and I realized, some of the tough questions really can be answered that simply.
I’ll try not to spew venom about the irony that this article is found on CNN’s “Belief Blog” because the article itself contains such good news. Provided it actually happens. And spreads like a plague.