Why do we have to be so PC?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2005
Why do we have to be so PC?
Wed, 07-07-2010 - 4:08pm

I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who isn't particularly religious, but is spiritual and believe in some kind of "positive energy" or something.

Anyway, she's about 6 months pregnant and for some reason, the idea of teaching children about religion came up. And of course she gave the very PC answer of, "I'll teach her about all religions and let her make up her own mind." Really?

I feel like this is what all atheists are *supposed* to say when it comes to teaching their children about religion. Like if we told them what we really believed, we'd be depriving them of religion or something. I think that's crap. I mean, I wouldn't exactly tell my kid, "Religion is BS. There is no God. All those people are completely deluded." Although I do kind of think that. And I probably would want to expose my kids to different ideas, but that's just more so he/she understands the world than anything else! Just like I'd want to teach my kids about other cultures.

But I would tell my kids about what I believe in -- determinism, materialism, secular humanism, etc (in kid language of course), and when they have friends tell them about their beliefs, I'd talk to them about it and say that different people believe different things and no one knows for sure, but that her father and I do not believe there is such a thing as "God."

I feel like that is so not PC, but that really pisses me off. Why is my belief system and my world view not good enough to pass down to my kids? No one bats an eyelash when religious people get their kids baptized or whatever religious ceremony their particular religion has for babies and young children. It's expected that they will teach them their beliefs. And I get that most religions come with a while community that they want their kids to be a part of and atheism to a large degree lacks that. But it bugs me that religious people are expected to teach their religion to their kids while atheists are supposed to expose their kids to all kinds of fairy tails and then be all happy when their kid finds one to believe in. I don't know about you, but I would be so disappointed if a kid of mine "found religion!" Don't get me wrong, I would love them and support whatever choices they made. But I'd be bummed just like any Catholic would if their kid "came out" as being an atheist or pagan or whatever. Why are they allowed that and we aren't?




iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Wed, 07-07-2010 - 7:09pm

Oh NO!
I totally DID teach my children about other religions. First through their myth stories. How weird are those??? Christian and all, weird and nonsensical stories. My kids noticed on their own that they all sounded equally illogical and ridiculous. Equally unlikely. Equally man made. We looked critically at the likelihood of those stories being true or being fictional "explanations" of questions for which we have no adequate answers.
Also with books about a variety of belief systems. Also with our involvement with families of various belief systems.
And, third, books books books. News. Movies. Learning about various other cultures. Learning that accepting the lifestyle of others doesn't mean you have to take on their belief system.

So, Julie, I would say that you have thought alot about how you hope to handle these questions and I agree with most of what you said. There is no reason why you shouldn't be forthright and honest with your children. In fact, it is our duty as parents to give them facts and information and REASON with which to move through the world.
So, rest assured! There is no reason why an atheist parent need be milquetoast about their atheism! I could NEVER, in good conscience, produce those ridiculous stories as fact to my children!!!!!!!
Makes me ill to even think about it!
You will find, actually, that little ones already come equipped with their own magical thinking. They believe in magic. They WANT to believe in magic. So the tight rope for me was to balance fun and imagination and joy with honesty and fact without being a buzz kill.
At this point, my children are vociferous atheists and wonderful human beings!
If they were to choose a religion as an adult, I would honestly be surprised. But I would support that kid with all of my might!


P.S. Just my own personal nose thumbing...I almost always choose the "magic dust" icon when posting on this board...LOL.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2005
Wed, 07-07-2010 - 7:26pm

Yeah, I've never been worried about what to say to kids. I've always known I would tell my children what I believe and would be surprised and a bit bummed if they "found religion." Of course I would teach them about various religions just like I would teach them about various cultures.

My post isn't really coming from a concern about what to tell my future kids. It's more an annoyance that society expects atheists to be so much more open minded about everything than everyone else! And like we don't have a belief system and world view to pass on to our children. So we're at least supposed to teach them about all religions in hopes that they'd pick one. I DO have a belief system that I want to pass down to my kids! When I tell people that I hope my future children will not be religious, I get gasps even from other atheists!! Apparently I'm supposed to hope that they find a religion to adhere to even though I "failed" to do so myself. WTF? Is it so wrong to hope that my future children share my belief system?

Edited 7/7/2010 7:30 pm ET by caliclimbergrl
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Wed, 07-07-2010 - 10:13pm
I've never gotten that from anyone. I guess I've noticed it a bit online. But, to know me is to know that I am an atheist. No one that I know would ever expect me to prepare my kids for a religious belief! LOL
I do see it in the media and online, though. I know what you are talking about. It is ANNOYING that this assumption is made.
Now I'm hoping that someone comes up with this "concern" for me! I have LOTS of things I would say to them!
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 11:47am
Quote: "And of course she gave the very PC answer of, "I'll teach her about all religions and let her make up her own mind." Really?"

Yes. Really. But of course I don't teach religions in some bright shiny light either. I don't paint Christianity as the religion of virtue where it is all about, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I show the hypocrisy and mideeds of God in the Old Testament. I may paint Jesus in a positive light, because I see him as a positive person. However, I will also point all the evils done man in his name.

I sure the hell ain't going to paint Islam as the, "Religion of Peace." I point out it is a religion which once it takes over cannot be questioned without violence and rioting. While there are some good Muslims in the US, the ones in those sandpits of injustice are just plain repressive of anyone's freedom.

For Scientology I'll point out the religion is very new. It was created by a Science Fiction writer who in his younger years claimed the best way to make money would be to start a religion.

For Mormonism there is the, "All About the Mormons" episode of South Park that explains everything in detail.

etc... There is good and bad for most religions. For a lot of it you can see the faults by looking at the early days of its creation. Unfortunately, Christianity and Islam is much harder since two thousand years of church mischief has obscured any reality.

As an atheist, I see nothing wrong with teaching world religions and letting my child pick their own path. I studied them. I studied the people and their culture to various degrees.

Quote: "I feel like that is so not PC, but that really pisses me off. Why is my belief system and my world view not good enough to pass down to my kids?"

It is your parenting style. Who cares? Do you think a Christian gives a rats ass what you think if they're beating the world of God into their child's brain every single day? They're teaching that there is ONLY one way and if you deviate from that you're going to spend eternity in a firey torment. We all have our ideas of a good parenting style. You just gotta run with it and ignore what is, "PC."

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 4:28pm

The lovely part about being a atheist is there is nothing we are really "supposed" to do. We don't have a manual. We can do as we choose based on our own personal experiences and beliefs.

Personally, I do teach my kids about other religions. It's important to understand what

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2006
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 6:14pm

I understand what you mean.

Disney Sig
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 1:06pm

I agree, Julia. I think you absolutely should teach your childern what you know to be true. The only reason I would want my children to learn about all of the different religions is just so they're aware of others in the world, not so that they can necessarily make a choice later on down the line. Though, if they do then that's fine too. Maintaining a good relationship with my children is more important to me than their personal beliefs. I will never understand how some parents are willing to disown (or even distance themselves from) their children over religion. My own grandmother included.

It's good that you're thinking about how to handle all of this stuff now. Unfortunately, it's not something into which a lot of people put much throught.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 1:11pm
LOL! The "All About Mormons" episode is one of my favorites (that and the World of Warcraft episode). Did you hear about the Mormon musical that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have put together? Last I heard, it was due to hit Broadway in March of 2011. I hope it does well and makes its way to this area.

Avatar for lola528
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 3:58pm

I started taking my grandkids to the U-U church and put them into the UU Religious Education program when a neighbor child assured my granddaughter that she was definitely going to hell for reading Harry Potter, and the kid's parents wanted to start taking dgd with them to this huge Christian church/center that has its own Starbucks, so she could be saved. YIKES!

I think the RE program that the UUs run is pretty good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 4:58pm

There are, simply, too many cultural references to various religious concepts/people/writings that it would be a detriment to not understand those things. Additionally, kids listen and hear and, therefore, have MANY questions. It is my practice to steep all answers in an understandable background, as fully-formed as possible. Our lives are not lived in a vacuum and it behooves us to know and understand the POVs of others.
The kids and I have had WONDERFUL conversations about religions and the religious. I am amazed with their levels of understanding and with the further synthesis of thinking that they have come up with.
I guess it comes down to trusting that your children will take in the information and make informed decisions.
Because when they HAVE had kids pull the "you're going to HELL" card on them, they have handled it well and with a sense of confidence.
It only happened once, but it was discussed a hundred times!

(This has been a fun conversation!)