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  #21  
Old 28th February 2015, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

I have also never hidden my lack of belief but have not IMO forced it on my daughter. Imagine my surprise when she publicly announced : "My Dad does not think that gods exist."
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  #22  
Old 28th February 2015, 01:20 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

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Goldenmane said View Post
I'm an atheist activist, and I've never hidden that from my kid.

I have never, however, told Bugalugs that 'there is no god'.

Rather, we have discussed the fact that I don't see any reason to believe in gods, ghosts, magic, and other forms of woo. When he was five, he asked me if Santa was real, and that provoked a discussion about fun little fictions.

His favourite podcast to listen to while we drive is Skeptics Guide, and they are always careful to be scrupulous about avoiding any sort of dogmatic position.

Sometimes he asks me questions, like the time not so long ago when he asked, "If you think gods and all that are bollocks, why do you have a Bible?"

That provoked a discussion about examining claims, evaluating evidence, and knowing what you're talking about. It also segued into discussing some of the ludicrous bullshit that resides within the leaves of that abhorrent tome. He was particularly not taken with the idea of a bunch of kids being mauled to death by bears for calling a man baldy - partly because his old man's a bit of a baldy.

Anyway, my point is that I don't really hold with the idea of telling kids that there is no god. I prefer to raise them to think clearly for themselves, because the very notion of a dogmatic sort of atheism is anathema.
There is probably no Loch Ness monster either, at least in the sense of a living fossil marine reptile. So long as one does not make it an absolute claim, I think saying that there is no god is legitimate. If one "primes" with an absolute rejection of absolutism, I don't think one has harmed anyone. There is no absolute proof of anything.
We can just reasonably assume no gods, unless or until evidence makes us reopen the question.
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  #23  
Old 1st March 2015, 09:52 PM
AisforAtheist AisforAtheist is offline
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

My answer to the original question is between 3 and 5 years old.

I was asked by my 2 foot tall terrorist 'where does everything come from' and spent 15 minutes on accretion, abiogenesis through to blokes in helmets building the road we're on, only to be told 'Duh dad, God made everything'. As far as a 3 year old is concerned, a much more compelling argument than I produced. At that moment I realised it wasn't going to wash to just come out and say 'Doesn't exist' straight up.

Herewith an excerpt of 'A is for atheist, a book for grownups aged 3 and over', authored by me.

M is for make believe. Make believe is the best fun you can have. Sometimes you want to play make believe firemen. And you want Ella and Luka to play make believe firemen with you. But Ella wants to play make believe fairies and Luka wants to play make believe cars. They don't want to play make believe firemen with you. They want you to play their make believe. Soon there will be an argument, then a fight and everyone will have to MOVE AWAY. This will be no fun at all. So it would be better if everybody just didn't play make believe but instead everybody helped each other to co-operate and play nice together and built a huge giant jigglyboggler out of Lego.

N is for No way no how will that jigglyboggler ever get made.

O is for Oscar! That's you. Your dad wrote this book for you, it's a pretty good book, but not as good as a dinosaur book or an Egypt book.

P is for pretend. Which is things that aren't really real even though you sometimes think they are. Somethings are just pretend, like dragons and pixies. Even Buzz Lightyear is just pretend, even though he is in movies and there's toys of him. He's not a real person, he's just pretend. Movies and books are mostly just all pretend. I LOVE them a lot even though I know they are pretend. Some people say they love God but I think he is just pretend too. It's ok to love pretend things .

Q is for quiet. If you stop reading this book and be really really quiet what noises can you hear? I can hear cars and also electricity buzzing.

R is for religion. Religion is when a lot a lot of people all play the same make believe game together. The make believe game is that they all have an invisible friend. Like if everyone in your old kindy all played make believe invisible friend dinbydob together, and they all pretended to talk to invisible friend dinbydob and listen to what he said. And if everyone at your new kindy played make believe invisible friend monkyponk at the same time, that would be another religion. Those could be dinbydob religion and monkyponk religion. But the religions that grown ups play are called Christian religion, Islam religion, Buddhist religion, Jewish religion. Some grownups don't like playing make believe religion because there's so many many rules, and it's not super fun. And some grownups always think their invisible friend is the best, and their invisible friend is really real and everyone else's invisible friend is just pretend. But really all invisible friends are just pretend no matter how much people say that their invisible friend is really real.


**Disclaimer. I have never actually shown or read the book to him or his siblings, but writing it did force me to think about explaining such matters in terms a 3 or 4 year old could understand, which was useful in subsequent discussions around the subject.

Last edited by AisforAtheist; 1st March 2015 at 09:55 PM.
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  #24  
Old 17th April 2017, 02:01 PM
Bruce Daly Bruce Daly is offline
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

Maybe this book of mine might be of some use
isthereanybodyupthere.com
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  #25  
Old 22nd April 2017, 09:04 AM
Banjo Banjo is offline
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

Perhaps ask oneself, "Should I deceive my child?".

Take it from there.

Also, perhaps ask about other gods. Does Sterquilinus exist?

The entire One God idea kind of goes against nature. There's no "one" of anything unless the species is about to become extinct.

I've been an atheist since 4. Actually my entire life. I feel it made me stronger. While in hospital for many months I watched the religious give up and fall into the arms of Jesus. Me? I had one life and so hung on.

Does one want a weak or strong child?

Up to the parent.
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  #26  
Old 22nd April 2017, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: When to tell a child there is no god ?

Richard Dawkins's The Magic of Reality is written for 10 years old and up to any age. A classic. Evolution has the greatest explanatory power.

Actually Dan Dennett says Dawkins is working on a new book.
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