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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:02 PM


The doubting parentís guide to the holidays

Posted at 05:06 PM ET, 12/05/2012
Dec 05, 2012 10:06 PM EST
By Mari-Jane Williams

Answering awkward questions is an inevitable part of parenting: Where did I come from? Why doesnít Santa ever die? Why is that lady so big?

Often, though, the toughest questions are about God and religion. For parents who are not religious, the holidays highlight those queries and at times make us second-guess our choices.

Itís one thing to be ambivalent about religion yourself, but as parents, we want to make sure we expose our children to as many different views as possible.

ďItís easy when youíre childless to sort of float and do what you think is right for you,Ē said Dale McGowan, author of ďParenting Beyond Belief,Ē (Amacon, $17.95). ďAs soon as you have kids, all those questions come to the fore. A number of friends of mine were entirely nonreligious, but once they had kids, they felt that they ought to be going to church.Ē


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Reply The doubting parentís guide to the holidays (Original post)
rug Dec 2012 OP
dballance Dec 2012 #1
cbayer Dec 2012 #2

Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 03:47 PM

1. If you are an Atheist or a "Doubter" why should you


have to indoctrinate your kids with religion any more than religious parents shouldn't indoctrinate their kids? Where is the parity here? If you don't believe then you are not obligated to take your kids to church in some sort of desire to try to be fair and unbiased. You have every right to be biased and pass disbelief and atheism along to your kids. Just like all the religious people have every right to be biased and pass religion along to their kids.

Hopefully your kids will grow up to be reasonable, logical thinking people. At some time if they desire to become religious then fine. That is their choice. As a parent though, you have unprecedented influence over you children's thinking. If you take them to church then they will believe that's all good and proper when it might not be (think Catholic priest sex scandals worldwide). They will think you approve and will tend to gravitate toward being religious even if you are not. This isn't rocket science. It's basic human psychology. Kids, for the most part, try to please their parents by doing what they think their parents want. You take them to church therefore you must want them to be religious.

So don't feel you have to take your kids to church. You don't. There is plenty of religion they are exposed to outside of a Sunday service. Just do the right thing and teach them to be good, loving, charitable people and let them make their own decision on organized religion.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:06 PM

2. I think a lot of UU congregations offer what is suggested here.

But I am not sure it is necessary to take kids to church to teach them about other religions.

As to the holidays, many families celebrate christmas without the faintest hint of religion. I don't see why that's a problem.

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