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Teaching children about religion/God/Heaven in a non-religious household???

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am somewhere between agnostic and atheist.  my husband calls himself catholic but is not really practicing - never goes to church etc.  I was raised without any real religion but celebrate Christmas and Easter as somewhat secular holidays.    That is how my family is too.  I believe that all religions have valuable teachings and a valuable place in society but when my 6 year old has recently asked me what is church and why people go?  what is religion?  what is god?  what happens when you die?   - I am at a bit of a loss.   I wonder if anyone has come across any books about religion that are not religious for kids.  I'd love for her to explore and develop her own ideas without being dogmatic .    Any thoughts?

post #2 of 9

check your local library. I got some very nice books on religion when my kids were going through this asking phase. One, which I can't remember the title of, talking about religion in general and had more details about the major world religion. It was styled like a DK book. We also got books out about specific religions -- Judaism, Christianity, etc. This ended up leading into a curiosity about mythology. 

 

so my advice is to ask your children's librarian. thumb.gif

post #3 of 9

I used to be a little more of a traditional (but liberal) Catholic back in the day.  (I've become more spiritual now rather than religious.)  However, when it came to my children, I never felt right giving them "concrete" answers to their spiritual questions (ie. What is heaven like?  Who is God? etc. etc. etc.)  I told them what my personal beliefs were (because they asked) and then discussed what other people believed.  I provided some books on the subjects.  I don't recall the exact titles, but there were quite a few child-friendly ones at a library near me.  I kind of let them go from there. 

 

My 11 year old now kind of has Christian views.   She doesn't blindly believe what the Bible says and is disgusted by how some people have interpreted the teachings.  My 9 year old son has had mostly pagan beliefs since he was 4 and decided that "God must be a woman as She creates life."  My kids also respect each other's beliefs and have never tried to change the beliefs of others. 

 

While I think I probably have offended some family and neighbors with this (as nearly everyone within a 100 mile radius from me is Catholic)   - it's worked out well for us. 

post #4 of 9
subbing!
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I just ordered abook from amazon called "What is God?" - I'll let you know how it is when I get it but it looks like what i'm after.  I don't want to answer my daugher's questions really because I barely know what I believe, let alone how to describe it.  I often think of attending a UU church but both in my area are about half hour away and it just hasn't fit into my schedule and not sure if it ever will. I think kids are naturally sprititual and I know my dd already has some clear ideas about things.  She told me matter of factly a few years ago about how you forget your last life while you are a baby in your mommy's belly.  I have no idea where she got this idea.    

 

If you ladies could remember the exact book titles about different religions and spirituality for children, I'd love to hear your reviews.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkeleyp View Post

I am somewhere between agnostic and atheist.  my husband calls himself catholic but is not really practicing - never goes to church etc.  I was raised without any real religion but celebrate Christmas and Easter as somewhat secular holidays.    That is how my family is too.  I believe that all religions have valuable teachings and a valuable place in society but when my 6 year old has recently asked me what is church and why people go?  what is religion?  what is god?  what happens when you die?   - I am at a bit of a loss.   I wonder if anyone has come across any books about religion that are not religious for kids.  I'd love for her to explore and develop her own ideas without being dogmatic .    Any thoughts?



You could check out the UU bookstore for ideas. We have the DK book A Faith like Mine which is good for kids about your son's age.

We read lots of books, myths etc from different religions and talk about how similar elements of the mythology is.

You might want to check out a UU congregation if you have one near you. Also look at Dale McGowan's books Raising Free Thinkers (which is excellent) and Parenting Beyond Belief (also good) which are for parents but have resource lists.

 

 


Edited by Callimom - 2/11/12 at 8:18pm
post #7 of 9

This is a really neat series of eight graphic novels on the life and teachings of the Buddha, from a Japanese, somewhat modern and secular view point.  Really exciting and entertaining but still shows a lot of the concepts and background in a very alive way.  It's called "Buddha" by Osamu Tezuka, a very well known Japanese manga artist.  It answered a lot of my kid's questions about Buddhist concepts they encountered reading translated Japanese literature, and there were so many interesting parallels with Western ideology.  Not a DK book and not for younger than preteens, but I think a neat, non religious exploration (totally story oriented and not preachy) of a fascinating religion and Eastern culture.  Here's a link to a manga review:

http://www.graphicnovelreporter.com/content/buddha-review

 

post #8 of 9

I've got a fair few books in my amazon.com store that explain religions and spirituality in general to kids from an objective, non-preachy perspective.  This has been a quest of mine for many years, lol--trying to find kids' books about religions that didn't push said religion, if that makes sense?  I don't think I'm allowed to link to my amazon store here, but it's in my public profile.  winky.gif

post #9 of 9

Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

check your local library. I got some very nice books on religion when my kids were going through this asking phase. One, which I can't remember the title of, talking about religion in general and had more details about the major world religion. It was styled like a DK book. We also got books out about specific religions -- Judaism, Christianity, etc. This ended up leading into a curiosity about mythology. 

 

so my advice is to ask your children's librarian. thumb.gif


definitely this. there are a lot of books that tell about a religion from a child's perspective, including photos from rituals and celebrations.  i believe strongly in religious literacy—that we should be aware of the basic beliefs of the people with whom we share the world. there is a "Religions of the World" series by Rosen publishing group that is very good for this purpose.

 

I highly recommend a slim photo book called Faith by Maya Ajmera that depicts children of world religions.

 

prolific children's author Demi has written wonderful illustrated biographies, including some of religious figures.  the books are detailed, historical, and very respectful.  I particularly recommend the book about Muhammad saws.

 

my daughter loved the various Native American stories about how the world was made. we then read the story in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. she could compare the stories, explore her own ideas. Your librarian can help you with this, too.

 

in addition, i especially like this Quaker bookstore as a resource for great religion books. (write down titles and check your library)

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