Sunday, August 1, 2010

Raising Atheists or What, I'm Not Getting Laid?

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know I have kids, Ali and Will (5 and 8). They are surprisingly happy (is there something wrong with them - are they sick?) children, but from what I understand this is normal. I consider it a "phase" and that when they enter adolescence they will become dour and sullen. It's not that I'm looking forward to that, but at least I understand dour and sullen far better than rainbows, smiles, and unicorns.

Oh, did I mention that I'm raising my kids as Atheists?

There is some debate on what to call the process of raising kids in a non-god(s) household. I've heard folks say that they are raising: freethinkers or critical thinkers. Me? I'm OK with Atheists. That's fine you say tomato I say tomato - our children have a  lower chance of being abused because they don't go to some authoritarian, superstitious institution know as: church, synagogue, or mosque.

I do have a beef with are those parents who say, "I'll just let my child to make their own choice," and leave it at that. At home there isn't any real discussion of critical thinking (in any area) and the child is expected to pick up those skills at school (my main lesson at school was avoiding ass kickings).  I call if lazy Atheism. It's kinda like the parents are letting their hands off the wheel in this particular area of raising their child. Well, this will come to a surprise to many, but the kid is going to make his/her own decisions anyway. A parent's job is to make sure their child has the cognitive tools to make smart decisions.

Do you know why it's important for young people to have those cognitive skills?

Religious loonies prey on the young, the weak, and the stupid.

Having been young, weak, and stupid I know these things. What? Is this a natural segue into one of my personal tales of being young, weak, and stupid? Yes. Yes it is.

I should say that I'm not making this up.

I was 19 and decided to backpack around the UK for a month. Realizing that there are strength in numbers I tried to convince some of my friends to journey along with me. Many promised they would, none did. Undaunted I threw a variety of useful stuff into an army duffle bag (that army poncho came in handy) and off I went to London.  I did the youth hostel thing  (if you're travelling on the cheap it's a good deal) and quickly realized that I was not a second class citizen (or subject - the local term) and I could drink alcohol. I found that I could drink a lot of alcohol too.  Good times. However, this meant that I was young, weak, stupid, and drunk.

I was walking down a street in London on lovely afternoon having done some geek - heavy touring (I think I had been to the British Museum that day) and looking for a decent pub for lunch and a pint. Suddenly, this attractive woman in her mid twenties started talking to me.  I really don't know what her opening line was, she was pretty and I was listening. After a minute or two we walked over to a coffeehouse/bookstore that had just opened. It seemed like a normal non-crazy place at first.

Then she eased into the God talk.

Then she talked to me about the wondrous Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Yes, she was a Moonie and I had found myself in a den of crazy cultists.

Know what? I didn't care. This was the closest chance of me getting sex for a while. I wouldn't have cared if she sacrificed kittens to her Dark Overlord Bob. I was in it to win it.

Obviously, it didn't work out in my favor. It turns out that she had a husband who was a black belt in some martial art and he was competing in Germany. I learned that after going through their brainwashing video series (cheap production values - I wasn't impressed). On the plus side, they did feed me. I attended a spaghetti dinner at their main cultist hive in Leicester Sq and watched the movie Ghandi. She was a tad disappointed that I decided to go back to the States and not stay with them in the hive. Meh, no one got what they wanted.

The moral?

There is no moral.

This is Purgatory.


  1. It's so great to see that bringing up your children as critical thinking atheists is working out so well for your family. Christianity is full of threats that if you don't have the kids in church, in youth group, and don't do it "god's way", your kids will turn out bad. Involved, caring, loving parents are the key. Proactive parenting always trumps the passive head-in-the-sand, let-them-figure-out-what-they-believe style.

    Also, funny story, i.e. "no one got what they wanted." LOL

  2. I think it is still important to let your kid choose, but teach them the skills they need to make informed decisions. Right now I would consider your children the children of an atheist instead of atheists themselves.

  3. @ briandthebible - you know the kid is going to choose (as will all kids) I'm just acknowledging the fact. If you consider a child who is 8 and is being raised a Christian not a Christian then you are being consistent. However, I disagree with your assessment. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck odds are it's a duck. My boy doesn't say God during the pledge of allegiance, theoretically he wouldn't be accepted by the Boy Scouts (don't take atheists and God is in their pledge), and if you asked him if there is a God he would say no.

  4. I think that counts as a shaggy dog moral...


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