So I'm thinking that when I have kids, I would really like to teach them about Jesus, not as the Messiah or as the Son of God, but as a moral teacher who taught lessons that I cherish such as pacifism, charity, compassion, and love. Of course, I would probably not teach them to worship or pray to him(I'd have to discuss it with my other half), but I think that Jesus ranks up there when talking about virtuous figures for children to model themselves after.

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Ah, that's great, I hope you enjoy your stay here :) We still share our first name though, sort of. Mine is Mathieu, but I figure translating it to the English Matthew is pretty accurate :)

Now, of course I wasn't saying that you shouldn't teach your kids about Christianity or about Jesus; of course you should do so, if not for the mythology itself, then at least to make sure they fit in our western culture (which is, in many ways, post-Christian).
My objection was mainly to your statement that he was one of the most virtuous figures to have ever lived. I don't think that's true: I don't think he was particularly virtuous at all, not even for his own time. For all the nice things he said and the non-violence he promoted, that all has to be seen in the apocalyptic context: he didn't preach non-violence because he thought it was virtuous, he preached non-violence because he believed that God would soon his angels to Earth to do the violence for him.

Anyway, my main point is simply that we ought to look at historical figures in their context and in their specific timeframe. If that timeframe and perspective is awkard or immoral to us, then so be it: not making value judgements on the past is one of the requirements of being able to study history objectively.
You gonna teach them that bit about, "If you eye offends you, pluck it out?" Didn't think so....
You could teach it as a metaphor, explaining that you shouldn't literally pluck your eye out, of course. The metaphor would be that if you have an aspect of your life that isn't desirable or beneficial to you, then you should work to correct it.

I'm not advocating teaching them about Jesus as a moral leader, but if you were going to do so, that would be the approach I would take.
I think teaching ABOUT the religions is better than teaching RELIGION. Teaching the values you think Jesus taught could be helpful, but there are whole communities of people who teach children about both and teach them critical thinking so they can think for themselves: Unitarian Universalists.

Did you know Charles Darwin's parents were Unitarians? The times and place was different, but not so much when you think about religion and politics. It helps when children have more than just parents to help teach them and it also helps when there are more adults to teach the many children whose parents bring them to a community that teaches the love and values you say Jesus taught instead of a dogma or creed. See:

And as far as models for children to look up to, there are living ones of all ages in UU congregations, not to mention our famous UUs who were only human and had their faults like Jesus (if he actually existed) and others whom are deemed good models.
Matthew, you have alot of great responses, and there isn't anything I can shine on that hasn't already been said, but I just wanted to point out that there IS an alternative to teaching Jesus' Morality outside of the bible.. It's called The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, written by none other then one of my country's founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson!
I think it would be better to teach the morals according to Bubbles. Reading the Gospels ought to give anyone a negative view of Jebus's morallity.

My parents are atheist but thought I shoud know about religion so I was sent to Sunday School. Not a good idea. Children are far to impressionable and if an adult tells them that something is true they are most likely to believe it. Granted it didn't last long, but the fear they preach has an effect on children. ( Start with, Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Ruussell)

Teach them about all religions and all the gods. (Actually there are too many gods to get through; better stick to the main ones.)
there's literally millions of other people who are so much better examples in history to choose from. Jesus was an idiot, a moron, and loser, if he existed at all. He copied/said a few things to bolster his credibility but his overall message was hate, lies, and stupidity.
First, I want to say, Bubbles reference FTW! and second, I agree.
The whole notion of Jesus as kind, peaceful teacher keeps coming up, but the Biblical Jesus was also quite a hellfire preacher.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. - Luke 10:13-14

Matt VDB made the point very well.

That's just great. I love the fact that the J.W.'s can't handle 6-year-olds, lol!

I can sort of relate with your kids, actually. I received Catholic education for almost 10 years (6-16; until I departed to university basically) but for the life of me, I can't remember actually taking it seriously for a second. The trick to it is probably that as long as your parents don't actively reinforce it (and nudge you to question things) and as long as they don't hit you with the hard-core indoctrination ("You're a filthy sinner and worthless without Jesus!" of which I was thankfully spared in my relatively progressive Catholic schools), you don't tend to really buy into it.

I suspect (and I'm sort of reconstructing here) that I regarded my Scripture classes roughly the same way as I would have regarded an institutionalized Zeus-class. I was very fond of reading Greek mythology when I was young, and when I got taught about Jesus resurrecting from the death and healing the blind, I went "Ooooooh right, this is just like those stories about Hercules!" and my mind just went straight to "This is a story"-mode. And I don't remember ever snapping out of it.

Still, I'm very concerned about what you're doing to your kids. You do realise that if they're that knowledgeable and skeptical about religion at 6, you are breeding some kind of super-Hitchens and super-Dawkins, right? Levels of intelligence that high could make the universe implode, so slow the hell down!
I am so stealing that.

Kids are so damn clever sometimes.
Your kids seem to be doing great! You're doing great parenting.




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