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#61 of 699 Old 08-21-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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I'm a new a born again atheist :P - as of well, a couple weeks ago. Raised Christian my whole life (25 years...woot!).
I am curious, what happened a couple of weeks ago? Was it a gradual thing? or was there some sort of event that made your beliefs clear?

Me, I grew up learning about Jesus and God and so forth, and then as I started going to church more and more, I would realize that I just didn't agree with things I was being told to say I believed (the Nicene Creed, etc). So I would just not say that part of the service. Then I found myself more and more uncomfortable by things said in the service - things that I categorically did not believe to be literally true - to the point where it just felt so false to be attending.

So I didn't attend any church for a good long while. I considered myself agnostic, mainly because I find being agnostic to be "safer" both socially and emotionally. Being an out and out atheist is so difficult in the US, that it took me a long time to "go there", as it were.

My dh helped. he is an atheist and the more we talked, the more I realized that really, truly, I am too.

it was a gradual process and only in the last few years (around age 35 or so), did I feel comfortable stating and knowing that I am an atheist.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#62 of 699 Old 08-21-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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Honestly, I don't think you would have to do much of anything right now for your daughter even though you don't agree with those beliefs anymore. The thing I always consider is how many people are raised in a religious structure, and then as adults find something that fits them better. Plus consider that you are on your belief journey, and that your daughter is on hers. Perhaps when you move to your own home someday that the religious focus that you once had with her fill fade on its own. For me it comes down to saying that this is a choice I am making for myself, and that I respect other people's choices that they make for themselves (even if it makes my skin crawl). And from my perspective beliefs are not etched in stone, they are dynamic and change with your life... so for your dd I wouldn't think it's something that will stick with her forever... and if you're recently divorced and she's used to the Christian dynamic perhaps she's finding comfort in it... that's not necessarily a bad thing... the comfort part, that is.

Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for your 2 cents
I totally agree with what you are saying. Personally, i just quit bringing up religion and egging it on. If she wants to go to church with gramma then i'm not going to stop her...but i wont pressure her into either.

And yes, skin crawling has been expirienced :P
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#63 of 699 Old 08-21-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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I am curious, what happened a couple of weeks ago? Was it a gradual thing? or was there some sort of event that made your beliefs clear?

Me, I grew up learning about Jesus and God and so forth, and then as I started going to church more and more, I would realize that I just didn't agree with things I was being told to say I believed (the Nicene Creed, etc). So I would just not say that part of the service. Then I found myself more and more uncomfortable by things said in the service - things that I categorically did not believe to be literally true - to the point where it just felt so false to be attending.

So I didn't attend any church for a good long while. I considered myself agnostic, mainly because I find being agnostic to be "safer" both socially and emotionally. Being an out and out atheist is so difficult in the US, that it took me a long time to "go there", as it were.

My dh helped. he is an atheist and the more we talked, the more I realized that really, truly, I am too.

it was a gradual process and only in the last few years (around age 35 or so), did I feel comfortable stating and knowing that I am an atheist.
My boyfriend happened, haha.
We've known eachother since April and he's the first atheist i've ever met (that i know of anyway). He used to be mormon (even went on his mission) and just "lost his faith" a couple of years ago. Honestly, i really couldn't fathom how someone could lose their faith after being so "hardcore". It made no sense to me at all.

He didn't pressure me or anything, but i did like to talk about faith/religion with him. I felt like he knew where i was coming from because he's been super relgious...but i didn't understand him at all. So i asked to borrow a book of his (Losing faith in faith). Read it.

I have always been a pretty liberal christian. Well, mostly anyway, i've definately had my "greater than thou" periods of time (as i like to call 'em) - but for the most part i kinda just did my own thing. I wasn't very strict.

At first the book really offended me, but then it started making a lot of sense. I guess i never really read the Bible or payed attention. When i would read it i'd only read new testament. In short there is a LOT of offensive things in there. The God of the Bible is NOT the God i learned about in church. I no longer found anything loving about him. Just scary. I read another book (Born again skeptics), had debates with my bf...did some internet research, etc. etc.

I just came to conclude that it is very unlikely that a God exists.

So in total it took me about 2 months to go from "I'm a christian" to "I'm an atheist". And really, i was claiming i was agnostic for a couple weeks there, or actually just referring to myself as a "nothing"...but i'm reading "The God Delusion" and in it the author lists the "levels" (theist-atheist) and reading the descriptions i realized i'm definately an atheist.

That's my story
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#64 of 699 Old 08-23-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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new here. and subbing.

I grew up going to a Christian church every Sunday, youth group, church camp, all that stuff, till I was 16. I knew it wasn't for me. but only recently, I'm 33, am I searching for my true self and have had the guts to let people know where i stand. "No we don't go to church."

Little story, cute; my dd refused a sticker being handed out at a parade that said "Jesus loves you." She took it, read it, and handed it right back to the christian clown without saying a word. so proud.

We live in a very religious community. My dd goes to public school. last yr the kids told her she would go to hell b/c she told them she didn't believe in God. She says it to grandma too. Which breaks my moms heart. Ouch. I dont' think dd understands what hell is to christians, so she didnt cry about it, but she did ask some questions and feel un-accepted with her friends.

I'm off to find these books youre all talking about, read and research.
Yeah for this thread!
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#65 of 699 Old 08-25-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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Oh, beansmama, I had to go back to make sure, but I remembered your thread from when you & your bf started dating

Welcome to the dark side! We have candy! :
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#66 of 699 Old 08-26-2008, 08:39 PM
 
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New here, too.

I'll try to keep the intro short.

Grew up christian. Active member of Unity church throughout my adult life. Married an atheist who never once pressured me or tried to "talk me out" of religion. When I tried to talk about it with him, he simply said, "I just don't believe in god." He never, ever wanted to be responsible for my losing faith.

I prayed literally every day for my family. then in Nov 06 dh was hit by a car and lost his left foot. I began questioning. 18 months later, I finally accepted atheism. The book "Atheist Universe" sealed the deal for me. Now, thinking about just how small Earth and Humans are in the grand scheme of things, I don't see how any Earthly religions could possibly be right.

I guess I'm a "mild" atheist b/c I do not know if there is a supernatural being responsible for this whole universe we live in, but I certainly do not think there is a god watching my every move and deciding what my punishment or reward may be in a future life.

I say "bleh-shoe" when someone sneezes. We also say "j___ c___" a lot when we're upset, so I wouldn't exactly call us a model family.
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#67 of 699 Old 08-27-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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It's so ridiculous that MY personal beliefs don't count...but a religion picking beliefs for me do! It feels like it's okay in the state's eyes that the religion keeps your child from being vaxed...but the parent?! Heck no...that's just crazy, apparently
I'm so glad I found this thread because I'm feeling so much like this...have to turn in the "religious exemption" tomorrow because of ONE vaccine that I don't want DS to get yet because of the poor science behind the state recommending it. No one seems to get how distasteful this is to me and DH, that somehow belief in good science means we are religious. Or what if we just believed that the substances used to make the vaccine were morally wrong? Do I have to be religious to have a moral objection? The one thing I have objections to on religious grounds is being asked to defend my choices for my child on religious grounds. It makes me angry.

Oh I say Geshundheit because I grew up with it. But I have no objection to saying "bless you"

I have a question too, what do you all do about teaching your children about what god and churches and such are? I have a curious three year old, and he just loves bell towers and bells and clocks so he really tends to notice church buildings and town halls and of course he figured out one day that I was saying there was a difference between a church and a town hall, and asked me what the difference was, and I had no idea what to tell him.

Do most of you not celebrate holidays? We don't carry our atheism that far and are a mixed background couple so we celebrate both the Jewish Holidays and the Major christian ones, I don't really have trouble explaining the holidays without talking about the religious parts but I'm not looking forward to explaining what "mommy is Jewish, Daddy grew up Quaker, Nana is Episcopalian" means when he's so young. How have you talked about religion with your own young children? (or is that an off limits topic?)
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#68 of 699 Old 08-27-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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I have a question too, what do you all do about teaching your children about what god and churches and such are? I have a curious three year old, and he just loves bell towers and bells and clocks so he really tends to notice church buildings and town halls and of course he figured out one day that I was saying there was a difference between a church and a town hall, and asked me what the difference was, and I had no idea what to tell him.
well, we go to a UU church (me and the boys - my dh does not), so my kids know what a church is.

Curious to hear what those who do not attend a church do.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#69 of 699 Old 08-28-2008, 03:56 AM
 
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New here, just found you! I will introduce with more detail at another time. It's bed time for me! Happy to have found this thread.

Tricia
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#70 of 699 Old 08-28-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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I think of what to teach my son about other people's beliefs the same I would think of any kind of belief... that families make different choices and believe different things. Honestly, some of the most beautiful buildings are churches so I think it's important to honor the the beauty of a building and perhaps admire someone's dedication to creating it. (that might be more than what I would say, perhaps going overboard... but in general I would want to be nonjudgmental and find the positive in a situation.) I tell my ds that they are churches where people meet, sing songs, tell stories and pray. Even if I don't choose this for myself or my family, I do know that many people find great comfort from their religious activities.

Bottomline, to me it would be a simple message from an educational perspective... rather than bringing any frustrating baggage or personal criticism of Christianity... I believe strongly in letting a child come to their own opinions.
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#71 of 699 Old 08-29-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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Hi! New and subbing.

Not-so-short-intro:

Mom was Wiccan (high priestess) and pretty much raised us that way, without forcing it. THAT was an interesting life growing up in the bible belt.

I'm athiest/agnostic. Not 100% sure which yet. I believe in reincarnation, if I have to believe in something, but not a god. I don't really ever think about religion or spirituality. I just know no ones knows the "truth" and that we can't really know til we know, ya know?

My DW is Catholic, more in traditions/culture than practicing. I'm not sure what it's called but she's one of those liberal catholics, not old school. She's very very private about her religion and it hasn't ever caused any issues with us. We've even decided to tell our future kids about all religions and let them know what each of us believes, but we won't be bringing them up in any way, with any beliefs whatsoever.

(Side note about us first dating):
We had been getting to know each other and really really liked each other and wanted something serious and then she came out...as Catholic! I was like Then I told her what I was. : She had never wanted to date and non-Catholic and I had "vowed" to never date a religious person again. Well, life sure is funny sometimes!! I used to be very not tolerant of "believers" because of so many bad experiences, but she had to come along and give me some tolerance.

We say salud for sneezes.

Anyway, I'm glad to join this tribe! :

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#72 of 699 Old 08-29-2008, 04:49 AM
 
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Hi everyone. I have a question for you all.

I'm wondering what you all think and feel about explaining or mentioning death to a young child. We recently had a death in the family. It's not one that effects myself or my dd (3.5 years) too terribly much in terms of not seeing this person anymore, however it does effect my mother a great deal, as it was her brother. And we've been going through and sorting his stuff, making various plans, etc. My mom gave her a few trains that she found in his apartment. Thus, my dd knows something is up, and mentions him. Tonight she asked me where he was, and when his Birthday was. I realised that I needed to tell her something, but was having a hard time figuring out exactly what to say. I looked online for appropriate ideas, but of course everything is all god-ly. I did find some things, like this post/comments in agnosticmom.com, which was interesting, but I'd love to hear what you all have to say.

This is mostly for my own curiosity at this point. I said something very simple and to-the-point to dd when she asked where he was, and she moved onto the next subject. It is very important to me to just tell her the truth as much as I can, but she's still a bit young to understand too much. Luckily, it wasn't really an issue.

Any of you have experience with this? What did you say? What do you think you would say? How does this change with the age of your child/ren?

Weirdo Mama to amazing Aurelia, age 9 & Ember Roslyn, age 3!
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#73 of 699 Old 08-29-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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My uncle recently passed away too. Explaining it to my 7 yo was simple. Told her what happened in simple terms; he died from an awful disease called cancer that people can get and we don't really know what happens to his spirit. This is what some people believe and this is what mama believes and this is what happens to his body, etc. She's at the age were I think she can grasp the idea. My 3 yo, I didn't explain anything. They both saw him getting sick, going to the hospital, mama crying. "Why are you crying, mama?" "B/c I'll miss uncle R and I'm sorry he has to be in pain." The kids have teddy bears of his to remember him and we named them after his first and last names.
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#74 of 699 Old 08-29-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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We have had many deaths in our family since ds has been alive really with my grandma dying a few months after he was born. Really he's had to come with us to the funerals/receptions as we have had to travel for each. Although the first one we had a friend of the family hold him while we were in the service... Anyways, the most recent was well 3 funerals in the last year... Starting with my grandpa who my ds had gotten to know. He was old and died from pneumonia or something.

We told ds that when our bodies get old and worn out they stop working. Ds was not at the funeral part, but did go to the gravesite and the reception following. The 2nd funeral we went to the gravesite and the reception and the third funeral, we actually went to the viewing of the body.... I wasn't going to bring him in but my aunt & uncle were asking to see him. So dh and ds came in and stood near the back of the room... Although my ds did see a boy sleeping in a box. I did not tell him that the boy was dead. Ds and Dh came to the reception of that funeral. Mostly all those times I felt like the grief was so huge, and I needed to have time to tend to my own grief without trying to be strong for my ds.

Basically all we've ever told him is that sometimes people die when their bodies stop working. Then I guess we haven't really talked about the rest of it in terms of beliefs. Since we don't really know what happens or believe in any particular thing that happens after death, we just keep it to the superficial observations. I guess we do say that some people are really sad because they won't get to see that person anymore. But we can think of that person and remember the fun we had together. I guess I don't lead a very spiritual life regardless of beliefs or non beliefs. Somehow I personally don't have the answer to what happens after we're buried or cremated... but I do like to think that my grandparents are supporting me in spirit... To me, I'm not concerned about what happens after. Maybe that will change.

But for kids, it depends on what they are ready to know and what you are prepared to tell them. I don't believe in keeping them in the dark, yet I think simple is best.
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#75 of 699 Old 08-29-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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Parenting in a world where the politicians are almost required to hold some kind of "God" faith... How does that fit into our family lives? Perhaps this is just my stretch at commenting on how many people referenced the bible during the DMC... and I can imagine it would be similar at the RNC... I'm not offended by it... I think that there is some wisdom in the bible, but that's a different story... there are lots of religious books with wisdom...

Ok, so really though what about kids who do not claim a god? Do they live a life in the shadows? Not coming out so to speak? I remember that father in ??? California who fought to get the pledge changed, and what an uproar they caused for believers. So if a child claims similar nonbeliefs as parents or by himself/herself what room is there in the world?
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#76 of 699 Old 08-30-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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Parenting in a world where the politicians are almost required to hold some kind of "God" faith... How does that fit into our family lives? Perhaps this is just my stretch at commenting on how many people referenced the bible during the DMC... and I can imagine it would be similar at the RNC... I'm not offended by it... I think that there is some wisdom in the bible, but that's a different story... there are lots of religious books with wisdom...

Ok, so really though what about kids who do not claim a god? Do they live a life in the shadows? Not coming out so to speak? I remember that father in ??? California who fought to get the pledge changed, and what an uproar they caused for believers. So if a child claims similar nonbeliefs as parents or by himself/herself what room is there in the world?
I am peeved by the references to religion in the current election campaign. Personally, I want my politicians to get their guidance from the Constitution, not the bible. I probably can't say any more about why I have such distaste for that (and most other) books of faith without violating the UA.

I did just watch an ABC news story (not sure how old it was) about a girl in OK who was ostracized from her school after she refused to say the lord's prayer at a basketball game. It is disgusting what some of the believers did to this poor teenager. I wouldn't mind religion if it was ALL about love and compassion, but it gets perverted in the minds of many.
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#77 of 699 Old 09-03-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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Hi ladies. I wanted to ask if you would rather stay here in FYT or move to Spirituality. As long as you're discussing cultural issues rather than issues of faith (including critiques of other belief systems), you're welcome to stay here in FYT. But if you would rather move to Spirituality, that's OK too. Just discuss it amongst yourselves and let me know which would suit you better. Thanks!

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#78 of 699 Old 09-04-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Hi ladies. I wanted to ask if you would rather stay here in FYT or move to Spirituality. As long as you're discussing cultural issues rather than issues of faith (including critiques of other belief systems), you're welcome to stay here in FYT. But if you would rather move to Spirituality, that's OK too. Just discuss it amongst yourselves and let me know which would suit you better. Thanks!
Doesn't matter to me, either way. I'll follow it. So, if we moved to Spirituality, we would have the option of discussing issues of faith (or our lack-of) or critiques of faiths? Although less people would probably join or see us there. Up to ya'll!

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#79 of 699 Old 09-04-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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well do we belong there?
i mean many atheists describe atheism as a lack of spirituality...

i dont want to get into an isuue as to what it means or not i am just thinking aloud here...

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#80 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 12:47 AM
 
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hi

can i join?

i grew up in a very secular environment in the UK, although my primary school (read: grade) was church of england, as are most, so we said prayers and sang hymns every day, and celebrated the christian holidays. i learnt all about god and jesus and all that other fun stuff. but as i grew my interest turned to the dark side of it, the devil, demons, and hell, and i managed to scare my mum pretty good with all my carryings on then as i grew more i realized i was an atheist

i now live in the US with catholic raised dh (seems everyone in these parts are catholic) who is now best described as agnostic. we didnt baptise our dd and the inlaws about flipped and because we dont vax either MILs comment was "you'd better pray that nothing happens to that baby". ummmm, yah, because babies always go to hell when they're not baptised.....

dd is a few weeks shy of 3. i am wondering how she's going to react to the prayers that dh's family say when we all have (rare) meals together. she's at that age now where she's curious about things.

we have addressed the death issue with her. last year one of our ferrets died and we told her that it went to live in the sky. she was only just two at the time and i was at a loss of what to say to her when she noticed her pet wasn't there any more. i didnt' want to pull the 'heaven' card atall, but didn't want to say anything that might be scary to her little mind.

she still talks about that ferret, and now we've elaborated our explanation of it's whereabouts to stating that some people believe that when you die you go to a place called heaven, and some people think that you come back as another animal or person, and some people think it's just like being asleep forever. we also told her that noone knows for sure because noone comes back from the dead, and dead is forever. i didnt really want to focus on my beliefs just yet. i dont have problem with her learning about different belief systems, but i want to do it in a very objective manner and i dont think she's ready yet.

we do say 'bless you' for a sneeze (or a fart ). i never really gave it much thought, it's habit.

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#81 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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Hi ladies. I wanted to ask if you would rather stay here in FYT or move to Spirituality. As long as you're discussing cultural issues rather than issues of faith (including critiques of other belief systems), you're welcome to stay here in FYT. But if you would rather move to Spirituality, that's OK too. Just discuss it amongst yourselves and let me know which would suit you better. Thanks!
can we have two threads? One in spirituality for questions on spiritual atheism/atheism and religion, etc. and here for more day-to-day discussions?

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#82 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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can we have two threads? One in spirituality for questions on spiritual atheism/atheism and religion, etc. and here for more day-to-day discussions?
Yes, because your looking for two different areas to focus on. Feel free to start a thread in Spirituality.
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#83 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 12:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jacque Savageau View Post
Yes, because your looking for two different areas to focus on. Feel free to start a thread in Spirituality.
there was one - I'll go bump it.

Or maybe it was in religious studies...

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#84 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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bumped the "Can We Talk About Atheism/Agnosticism?" thread in religious studies for those interested.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#85 of 699 Old 09-05-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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Subbing.
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#86 of 699 Old 09-06-2008, 02:08 AM
 
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Subbing also.

I'll introduce myself in detail now.

I was raised Roman Catholic and remember when I was 13 I found a little card in a friend's room that said something about being christian. I said "hey, I thought you were catholic" she responded "I am, you're christian too!" I was like, no way man, I've never heard that before.

I remember another time when I was around 10 and I told my mother that I wasn't sure if I believed in god, and if I did, I didn't like him.

So I basically turned away from the church until I was 18 and an au-pair in Switzerland. I guess you could say I became a born again Christian. I met a group of a Christian au-pairs and I eventually started going to bible study with them. They were neat girls and I was so easily influenced! I just wanted friends and didn't really have a personal stance on anything in life.
I had a physical and emotional experience during a conversation about Jesus and I thought, wow, I felt the holy spirit! So I did the non-denominational-evangelical thing for a bit. Totally alienated myself from my punk-rock friends back home, and my family thought I had been brainwashed. I became a bible thumper. Trying to share my joyous knowledge with everyone. Wanting everyone I loved to see the truth.

Fast forward a few years and I fell in love with an agnostic. We both tried to make sense of our different beliefs. He was super into Carlos Castaneda stuff and I was all about Jesus. Eventually we read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. We were both all over it, but I was still trying to make it fit my Christian mold. Eventually it broke the mold and I was released from my state of ignorance. I mean, I was the kind of Christian who believed that Jesus died for my sins and that only through believing in him and giving myself to him could I be freed from my sins. That he did rise from the dead and all of the other stuff the bible says.

So, now I find myself in a relationship with my DP, who was raised Lutheran by a father who is a Lutheran Pastor. We essentially have the same beliefs, but DP is really into the whole community of church, and message of Jesus thing.

Nice to meet you all!! I look forward to reading the thread over in spirituality.
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#87 of 699 Old 09-06-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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personally I'm just much more interested in the cultural aspects and how to live peaceably and with mutual respect among those of other religious belief, I think atheism can encompass a wide variety of spiritualities and for me those are mostly private anyway. I think two threads are a good idea but I'd be interested in this one mostly I think (well we'll see) .

To the previous poster who suggested just talking about other religions with respect, to my three year old, thanks for the attempt but I think what I'm getting at is much more simple..like literally how to explain what a church building is for, or what people even mean when they say "god" to a little person who asks questions that are hard to answer at his vocabularly level. My son is very verbal for his age so I can talk to him about things but he still only has a three year olds knowledge of the world. So it isn't that he is coming to me saying "Jimmy says he's christian, who is Jesus?" its that he says "mommy what's a "Church"" and I have no idea how to answer him because all of the words you would use to describe what a church is for are just as foreign to him as the word Church is.

As far as death, when our kitty died we told him that the part of her that made her be alive was gone, even though everything else was **** there she wouldn't be able to walk or eat or do anything anymore. So he started asking lots of questions about what part it was, and asked if she still had every part of her body. So we added that there was something in people or animals that makes them be alive, and that some people think that is just energy and other people think that there is something called a soul or spirit that is a seperate part of them and goes somewhere else when you die. That some people think it goes to a place and other people think it just dissolves into the ground or the air. He said that he has a seperate part of him that is a spirit and it lives right next to his brain in his head, and pointed to a very specific spot on his head, so for him he's got it figured out
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#88 of 699 Old 09-08-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by avivaelona View Post
personally I'm just much more interested in the cultural aspects and how to live peaceably and with mutual respect among those of other religious belief, I think atheism can encompass a wide variety of spiritualities and for me those are mostly private anyway. I think two threads are a good idea but I'd be interested in this one mostly I think (well we'll see) .

To the previous poster who suggested just talking about other religions with respect, to my three year old, thanks for the attempt but I think what I'm getting at is much more simple..like literally how to explain what a church building is for, or what people even mean when they say "god" to a little person who asks questions that are hard to answer at his vocabularly level. My son is very verbal for his age so I can talk to him about things but he still only has a three year olds knowledge of the world. So it isn't that he is coming to me saying "Jimmy says he's christian, who is Jesus?" its that he says "mommy what's a "Church"" and I have no idea how to answer him because all of the words you would use to describe what a church is for are just as foreign to him as the word Church is.

As far as death, when our kitty died we told him that the part of her that made her be alive was gone, even though everything else was **** there she wouldn't be able to walk or eat or do anything anymore. So he started asking lots of questions about what part it was, and asked if she still had every part of her body. So we added that there was something in people or animals that makes them be alive, and that some people think that is just energy and other people think that there is something called a soul or spirit that is a seperate part of them and goes somewhere else when you die. That some people think it goes to a place and other people think it just dissolves into the ground or the air. He said that he has a seperate part of him that is a spirit and it lives right next to his brain in his head, and pointed to a very specific spot on his head, so for him he's got it figured out
So I always try to keep it boiled down to something that makes sense to my child. Like the bare bones (sans rhetoric)

here's what one website said the definition of these are...
Church: a building for public Christian worship.
God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.

My take on these:
Church: a building where people meet to talk, sing and pray.
God: someone who some people [Christians] believe made the world--all the animals, plants and people. It's not someone we can see, hear or touch.
Jesus: a man who lived a long time ago. There are books written about him and what he did in his life. He is important to people who are Christians; they believe he was their leader.

Meal prayers with family. I don't say anything to my ds except ask him to be quiet. He hasn't asked what it is. If it comes up I will tell him it's their way of saying thanks for the food.
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#89 of 699 Old 09-08-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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I think there is merit in having a separate thread to discuss actual theology of atheism/agnosticism. Whereas I think a thread for parenting a child with these beliefs would and has been useful. I know in our life we have gone a nonconventional route as far as both of our families are concerned... so I find I'm in uncharted waters. In some way I feel relieved that there's a group of moms online whom I can ask questions to about these unique parenting challenges that might and do arise.

Not to mention these are things that I wouldn't receive support about from family and friends. And it's not like there's an atheist church where everyone meets up IRL and we would automatically know those people have similar beliefs.

For me, this thread is a nice resource. And I will visit the spirituality one if I feel the need to delve into a different kind of discussion.
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#90 of 699 Old 09-08-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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My definitions I have used with my kids - I am an anthropologist so that definitely influences my definitions.

Church: a community of like minded people who gather to talk, celebrate, commiserate, etc. The building they gather in is also called a church - it can also be called a temple or other word. We go to church - our UU church.

God: the sense that there is something bigger and more important than us as individuals. We sometimes ask God for help, when we need something beyond what we feel we have internally. Sometimes God is portrayed as a person who can talk to you or who is watching your actions, but those are just stories. God is an idea, not a thing or person.

Jesus: a teacher who lived a long time ago who said many wise and important things to help us live our lives better. There are many stories told about Jesus, some of which are true and some of which aren't, which talk about his life and his good deeds.

I want to get across the idea that God is a metaphor for many important ideas and feelings we humans all share. God does not need to be literally true, and Jesus does not need to be the Christ, in order for some of the concepts and emotions in religion to be valid and helpful to us as ethical beings.

In addition, dh and I need standard definitions that resonate with our kids when they hear "God bless America" or "Thank you, Jesus!", which they do hear a lot ('tis an election season, after all...).

I look forward to hearing what others say.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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