Do you care whether your children believe in G-d? - Page 8 - Mothering Forums

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#211 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:24 PM
 
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Siobhan,
You rock!
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#212 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
I do understand that many atheists think belief in God requires cognitive dissonance because science "disproves" the possibility of God,
I agree with the rest of your post about cognative dissonance. I did want to say that, to me, atheism isn't about proving God doesn't exist. Atheism is the statement that there is no evidence of a God -i.e. the universe, as we understand it at this moment, does not require a God in order for it to be the way it is.

We have an imperfect understanding of the universe. If someone were to find replicable, verifiable, scientifically measurable evidence for a deity, I fully trust that scientists, even "devout atheists", would fall over themselves to get that information published - heck it would lead to a Nobel Prize!!!

The scientific method is imperfect as a way of verifying what we know to be objectively true - BUT it is the best we have right now. The major flaw isn't the method, but rather the individuals implementing the method.

For me, the statement that "there is no evidence for a God" requires me, to be intellectually honest, to behave as though there isn't one. After all, if there is no evidence, why should I believe that there is?

Of course, your definitions of evidence may vary. Mine are strictly scientific because that is what I trust. I do not trust other authorities because I do not believe them to be objective. I do not believe what feels right since, frankly, human perspective (especially my own) has been shown to be plenty flawed when actually investigated.

Your mileage may vary.

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You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#213 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
Nankay wrote: they were determined to prevent anyone from explaining other beliefs (even if those were not the speaker's own beliefs, for example when we learned about Islam in order to understand medieval history) because they were terrified that if their children heard about other beliefs, they would adopt those beliefs. Their faith is in fact so weak that it is threatened by the mere knowledge that anyone believes anything else!

.
Why would this mean that the person's faith is weak? If they don't want their children taught other beliefs it seems to me that it it simply because it is extremely important to them that their children not be led away from the belief system they are being brought up in. It's no reflection at all on the amount of faith they have. Instead it reflects how strongly they feel about raising their children in their faith. If a person believes that the only way to get to Heaven is through faith in their God, then it would be of the utmost importance for them to ensure that their children learn the way to Heaven.

Note, this is not an argument for or against any religion (although I am a Christian myself). I just had to comment on the notion that not wanting to teach your kids about other religions means you're lacking faith.
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#214 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boingo82
*wonders why I'm not dead, then*
Huh? That doesn't make any sense at all.

I said that to me, the faith I share with my children is the only thing that I believe is eternal. What does that have to do with you being alive or dead???

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#215 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeys4mama
Huh? That doesn't make any sense at all.

I said that to me, the faith I share with my children is the only thing that I believe is eternal. What does that have to do with you being alive or dead???

Vital means necessary for life.
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#216 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:55 PM
 
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Monkeys4mama,

I didn't write that, but I DO agree with it.
If a person's belief/faith can be swayed by merely learning about another set of beliefs, how strong was that belief to begin with? It seems like not wanting your child to learn of other beliefs, you are scared they might THINK (important word here)..that something else makes more sense to them.
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#217 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nankay
Monkeys4mama you seem to be equating my atheism with someone bent on destroying something. If I am uber-enviromentalist and my dd works for an oil company drilling in Yellowstone, she is trying to destroy what I am trying to protect. If I believe in god, but dd doesn't , what is she destroying exactly? How is she working directly against what I believe ?
Nope. I'm not equating atheism with trying to destroy something. I'm equating my faith (something I feel very strongly and passionately about) with your enviromentalism (something you feel very strongly and passionately about). Seeking an example of how we all want to pass on to our children those beliefs and values which we hold most dear.
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#218 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Perhaps you used poor examples then as you used VALUE X with dc adopting VALUE Y which would work to destroy said VALUE X

IE: enviromentalist vs. head of company destroying environment

human rights vs. person working against gay rights

I can feel passionate about my atheism, but if dd decides to believe in a god , her belief (HOPEFULLY) would not work to destroy my own. Likewise, if i were a Christian, my childs atheism would not work to destroy Christianity.
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#219 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boingo82
Vital means necessary for life.
Not necessarily. There are several definitions of "vital", including "of the utmost importance".

The original post asked for our opinions. This is mine. Religious faith is a vital part of my life and something I very much want to pass on to my children.

Why do people have such a problem with me wanting to share this with my kids? It's not like I've come after you, your beliefs or your children. Why the snarky comments at all, when I simply wrote a sincere response to the question. Saying stuff like "wonders why I'm not dead yet" is a cut on *my* faith. I have not criticized your beliefs. Actually, I've tried to be respectful of them.
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#220 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nankay
I can feel passionate about my atheism, but if dd decides to believe in a god , her belief (HOPEFULLY) would not work to destroy my own. Likewise, if i were a Christian, my childs atheism would not work to destroy Christianity.
But if you look around online and even throughout MDC, you see plenty of evidence of atheists working against religion. Arguing against it. Attempting to limit its influence. Criticizing it. Etc.
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#221 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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Wow..you consider arguing a philosophical question as trying to detroy it? Am I trying to limit its influence? You bet...I think religion is unhealthy and there's a little thing called separation of church and state. Am I trying to destroy it? Nope. Believe whatever floats your boat, just keep it away from me thank you very much.
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#222 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:28 PM
 
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What I would, as an atheist, like to "destroy" it people pushing their religion on me left, right, and center. And I live in a much less religious area than some.

I hear Christians whining on the radio that Christians are being persecuted. Try being an out of the closet atheist. Try spending money without the governments stamp of approval of superstitious belief in a god. I would not mind so much if people were Christians if they didn't feel such a need to push it on everyone else, as if it's a superior way of thinking. I know that many Christians are quiet about it, but others believe it's their duty to save us from hell. That's just arrogance with a sugar-coating of true concern. Basically, many Christians (myself included when I was a devout Christian for 20 years) just can't see their own biases anymore than they think we atheists cannot see our own.

I just wish we could all quietly believe what we believe and leave others alone.
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#223 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nankay
Wow..you consider arguing a philosophical question as trying to detroy it? Am I trying to limit its influence? You bet...I think religion is unhealthy and there's a little thing called separation of church and state. Am I trying to destroy it? Nope. Believe whatever floats your boat, just keep it away from me thank you very much.
These are not the words I probably would have chosen, but I do agree with this for the most part, -minus the part about all religion being unhealthy. I think it can be though.
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#224 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
I just wish we could all quietly believe what we believe and leave others alone.
What is so wrong about this? I can't understand why this cannot be.
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#225 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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I think this discussion is becoming sidetracked too far from its orginal intent.

You're all entitled to your opinions. And to reiterate my reply to the OP: yes, it's important to me to raise my children to have faith in God.

Stepping out of this one now and unsubbing. I'm not here to try to argue religion (against your lack of it or my belief in it). I'll leave that to someone else b/c it's a beautiful day and I'm about to go enjoy it.

Unsubbing. :-)
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#226 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeys4mama
But if you look around online and even throughout MDC, you see plenty of evidence of atheists working against religion. Arguing against it. Attempting to limit its influence. Criticizing it. Etc.
What on earth could be wrong with attempting to limit its influence?
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#227 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeys4mama
Not necessarily. There are several definitions of "vital", including "of the utmost importance".

The original post asked for our opinions. This is mine. Religious faith is a vital part of my life and something I very much want to pass on to my children.

Why do people have such a problem with me wanting to share this with my kids? It's not like I've come after you, your beliefs or your children. Why the snarky comments at all, when I simply wrote a sincere response to the question. Saying stuff like "wonders why I'm not dead yet" is a cut on *my* faith. I have not criticized your beliefs. Actually, I've tried to be respectful of them.
You did not put the "I believe" qualifier on your statements. You stated flat out that faith is the most important thing that *we* can teach our children. The implication is that some of us are neglecting our parental duties by failing to instruct our kids in this *vital* matter.
I know you're not trying to be offensive. But it sure can come across that way if you step into a non-christian viewpoint.
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#228 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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I haven't read the replies. But a friend has this book "What is God?". It is beautiful, inspirational and non-"partisan". It references all the constructs of "God" as Love and Life. I highly recommend it even for very young children, above age 3+.


http://www.amazon.fr/What-Is-God-Eta.../dp/0920668887


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#229 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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I believe in God myself but very much support my children's right not to and would never try to force my beliefs on them. Something I think is funny is that my son always reminds us to "say the blessing" before we eat a meal, even though we have never done this in our house before he came up with it. He has always been a very spiritual child since he was old enough to speak, even without any pressure/teaching from us about religion, God, etc. Just his personality, I guess.
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#230 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tayndrewsmama
What is so wrong about this? I can't understand why this cannot be.
Because many Christians believe that this in the "end of days" and "the rapture is near" and it's their duty to save everyone who believes differently. This is what was preached in my church, and just like a former smoker who hates smoking, I'm a former Christian who hates/rejects preaching.
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#231 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 09:31 PM
 
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Just jumping in to give my answer to the OP. I'm an atheist so it's obviously not important to me for my son to believe in a god/goddess. However, I wouldn't have any objections if he did. I'm not anti-religion, I just don't have one.
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#232 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 09:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RubyWild
Because many Christians believe that this in the "end of days" and "the rapture is near" and it's their duty to save everyone who believes differently. This is what was preached in my church, and just like a former smoker who hates smoking, I'm a former Christian who hates/rejects preaching.
I think it is important for people to DIALOGUE and SHARE!!! I grew up practicing Nichiren's Buddhism and now attend a Unity Church. I too have experienced passionate Christians telling me how I'm going to hell and our whole Baptist family praying for us every Sunday. It pisses my mom off! She just can't for the life of her deal with Christians and their WAy of testifying. however, becuase I attended a church where people get "saved" and recognize the common threads in many religions my belief is that there is more than one way to get to God/the Universe/your Higher Self whatever and nobody has a monopoly on it. I think our country would be alot better if people stopped trying to PUSH their beliefs about God or the absence of God on others and shared their point of view and tried understanding others' points of view. Participating in real dialogue helps widen our understanding of people and the world around us and hopefully enables us to be less condemning or belittling of others. I met a proclaimed atheist while in Guatemala and she said she doesn't like telling people because of the reaction - especially in Latin America. She explained to me some of why she was atheist and I didn't frown on her or her beliefs. I could actually understand where she was coming from and I think being able to see others' point of view helps me be a better person.

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#233 of 240 Old 09-14-2006, 10:08 PM
 
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[QUOTE=
I told her that to me G-d is nature - it is not a "he" or an image of man.

I then thought about how it isn't important to me, one way or the other, what my DD believes. Is that unusual? Is this a big ethical or values issue that I am missing?[/QUOTE]

It is important for my DS who is 8 to become/be a spiritual person and recognize the universal spiritual laws that I believe are at work whether we believe in them or not. (E.g. Thoughts held in mind produce in kind). I think it is important for him to have faith in his higher self. We attend a VERY OPEN Unity church and I chose that place because I needed a place that believed what I believe and I felt like my DS wasn't getting enough ideas about spirituality from me. It didn't matter to me the faith - I actually looked for an inter-faith place but this church is what I found. They don't believe God is a being like a man - just a universal power. They don't believe in original sin or that you should pray to Jesus either. What they DO however, is sell books in their bookstore from other faiths and focus on metaphysics. I bought my son a book on World Religions because it is important for me that he respect and appreciate all - not tolerate, but appreciate and that he choose the correct path for him - that path can include or not include a religion but I do think he needs a spiritual base that will help guide him to do the right thing and be able to co-create his life in line with his mission in this lifetime. I take him to church with me because it is a welcoming, open environment. I used to practice Buddhism and my mom still does. My son says he is half Christian half Buddhist and I tell him he doesn't have to be any religion - they are man made. I do, however, feel guilty that I didn't "have it together" as far as my beliefs Prior to my DS because I don't want him to be confused and feel thrown about.

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#234 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 09:12 AM
 
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I agree with Siobhan and Monkeys4mama. I said in an earlier post that we are trying to raise our girls with certain ideals, values, ethics etc.. We are skeptics, and it is very important to us to raise critical thinkers. I equate Monkeys4mama's comparison quote to our belief and value in critical thought. She wants to raise children who believe in god and we want to raise children who think critically. I would be dissapointed if I failed in this task, and I would continue to guide our children down a path akin to our beliefs.

Our 5 year old DD has not been raised with any religion. She has had outside religious influences and home discussions on what religion is and simple definitions on what some religions believe. We have not informed her of our beliefs. She was speaking with another child a week ago about how winter was coming, but first it would be fall and the leaves have to fall off the trees. The other child kept asking her probing questions and DD kept answering scientifically; "The earth moves and we get further away from the sun so it will get colder and rain will turn to snow." etc. The other child was never satisfied with her answers and kept asking "Why?". (It was indeed delightful to watch from both sides.) Eventually DD said "Well, because it's the rule of the world. And the ruler makes the rules!". I asked her about the ruler (offered no judgment) and she said it was a big head floating around in the sky making the rules. I immediatly had visions of Russels Teapot and struggled against saying anything, but I realised she was processing many things in her life and looking at the big picture it seemed logical for her to make that leap. I left her with her thoughts of her ruler.

I am not going to tell our children what to believe. I am not going to say I know something for a fact if all I have is a emotion to go on, logic dictates that to me. But I do feel the need to combat intellectually the outside religious influences that our children are hit with on an presumptive and arrogant level very consistantly. I am not frustrated with the expression of self belief, nor with the questioning of belief or faith. I am frustrated by assumptions of belief and the attaching of behavior to faith done by strangers to my children. I would love to see more questioning going on, and probing of ideas and less dictatorial expression of views.

We recently did a bill of rights with our oldest for herself (as she processed the introduction of new rules in her life through school) . We talked about many things; right to healthy food, right to water, right to personal space, right to make mistakes, right to use the bathroom and others. One of my personal favorites is the right to ask questions. I hope our children never stop asking "Why?" or "How?".

So, how have others dealth with those situations where their child has expressed a belief different from their own? When faced with that scenario, did you react as you thought you would (to reinforce your own beliefs or allow them to process theirs)?
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#235 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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xaloxe, very interesting post.
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#236 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 11:26 AM
 
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Yes, I expect my children to believe in God as we are religious and we go to church and pray etc.

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#237 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 11:52 AM
 
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I am not going to tell our children what to believe. I am not going to say I know something for a fact if all I have is a emotion to go on, logic dictates that to me.
Xaloxe,

I enjoyed your post and agree about the value of critical thinking. However, there is a fundamental difference between guiding a person to believe what the parent wishes, and allowing them to determine what they believe for themselves. The first assumes that the child won't inherently agree of their own accord and must be "taught" (read convinced). The second involves trust in the inherent ability of a person to critically determine their own beliefs. There is a Taoist saying 'the difference between "certain" and "perhaps" isn't much after all'. So, even if 'our logic dictates' otherwise, there really aren't "facts" to deny that there is a God. Or need to teach that there is one.

Perception makes it so. If one believes and acts according to such belief in a God of Love, or a God of Fear, that *belief* dictates their actions, just as logic (an uncertain belief) dictates other's actions. Neither belief "doesn't" exist. Both beliefs exist in the mind/heart/soul of the believer. Some of us believe in logic, some of us believe in faith. Is there a difference?

Truth is a mirage, the closer we come to it the more invisible it becomes.

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#238 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaloxe
So, how have others dealth with those situations where their child has expressed a belief different from their own? When faced with that scenario, did you react as you thought you would (to reinforce your own beliefs or allow them to process theirs)?
I really agree with all of your post. I love it actually! I do wnat my child to be a critical thinker - because I am _ and my theory is that because so many people are raised to not question things, that is why when a politician says something - everyone takes his "facts" and run with it. That aside, in my earlier post I stated that I used to practice Nichiren's Buddhism but now attend a Unity church - very open, liberal, recognizes the value in many faiths/philosophies, etc. Someone asked my son about God and my DS (8) said he doesn't believe in God. I did feel uncomfortable (or embarassed) because this person who asked does. Also because my concept of God is not a person in the sky - I don't believe in physical heaven or hell or anything like that - not your usual God that is talked about. I do believe, however, in this inexplicable universal lifeforce existing everywhere. So later I talked to my son and he said he is a Buddha at heart. (my mom is still Buddhist and at any opportunity will advocate for my son to continue chanting). I told my son that Buddha = enlightened one (not sure how I explained enlightened though) and that being a Buddha doesn't mean that he doesn't believe in a universal power. Then I started asking him questions about his purpose for prayer - when he prayers. I am not so sure I did a good job being totally neutral though - but that is with ANYTHING. I don't care about him having a religion - I just want him to have a connection to his higher self and to employ certain principles in his life. (E.g. I always tell him that in order to receive more, you must be willing to give "stuff away" or just give thanks and I walked him through tangible examples of how expressing thanks and giving physical gifts have resulted in receiving more.) I don't know...It is difficult for me to be totally unbiased in my communication with DS about spirituality but I guess I didn't question the way I present my views before because I feel like I am an open person. Hmm ...now I'm confused.:

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#239 of 240 Old 09-15-2006, 12:50 PM
 
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aywilkes,

It sounds like your son is enlightened. He doesn't have the need share, convince or explain his beliefs. They are his without attachment to others agreeing.


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#240 of 240 Old 09-16-2006, 05:10 PM
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Xaloxe - I loved your post and I think you have two very lucky daughters. My question is how can you keep your beliefs to yourself? I can be a loud and opinionated person so I can't imagine my daughter not knowing how I stand even if I never tell her. -I am not criticizing, I really want to know how you handle this.

My $.02.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I am merely a guide in my daughter's life and that she will find her own path and her own beliefs. I thought it was my job to point out the paths rather then force her down one. That was when we lived in The Good Place (TGP).

Now we live in Dallas, Texas and I have found my thoughts on this subject have changed dramatically. In TGP, I had the luxury to have my own beliefs without being treated as a pariah to all things good and pure. I had friends of all religions, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Wiccan and although we sometimes had disagreements about religions and ethics, we could debate and still respect eachother afterwards. Here, in Dallas, I have met a few truely wonderful people who happen to be mostly Christian. The problem is there is a very vocal group of Christians who I feel violate my religious boundaries. As a result, I feel assulted when someone references my religion and my reaction is to fight them.

I can't say I would be disappointed if my daughter believed in god. I would be angry if she was one of the vocal Christians one finds in Dallas; I would be angry if she accepted a religion without questioning. I don't expect for her to have the exact same beliefs as my husband and I do, but I do expect for her to come by her beliefs honestly.
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