This is my first post on here ever, so hopefully I'm not doing anything wrong. I didn't find anything in the archives on this.
I'm 25, with a much younger brother and sister, ages 9 and about to be 12. I was raised Southern Baptist, but thankfully my parents weren't too into it until I was older, so I was able to escape the brainwashing and become an atheist a few years ago. My siblings weren't so lucky. They have been raised 100% Fundamentalist Southern Baptist, to the degree that they literally never have real contact with people outside of the church except when they go on mission trips. They're home-schooled, their music classes are through the church, etc.
All that to say, I'd like to very slowly introduce them to the idea that religion is, in fact, optional, and that atheists are real, happy people, not the partying, drug-using, miserable heretics they've been raised to believe they are. I came out to my family as an atheist in the last few months, and while they've all basically said "we love you no matter what," I've been banned from telling my brother and sister. In the long run this may work to my advantage, as they may be very angry when they find out this was hidden from them.
But for now, does anyone have any suggestions of ways to start, at the very least, teaching them some kind of critical thinking skills? As it stands, they won't even know how to go about thinking for themselves when they get old enough to start questioning things. My sister's birthday is in a few weeks, and I was hoping to maybe get her a book. Something along the Terry Goodkind "Sword of Truth" series, with it's emphasis on reason over faith, but less blatant, and more age-appropriate. She'll be 12, but has read on a post-high school level since 3rd grade, so it's hard to find books she'll enjoy that her parents approve of.
Thanks in advance for any help!
There is no question that since they don't want me to tell them, I won't. That's definitely not an issue. I think it's foolish of them, because it will create conflict when they find out they were essentially lied to, but I'm not going to open that door for my parents to disregard my wishes when my husband and I have kids. I'd love for them to notice the difference in my life, but given that I currently live 1100 miles away, there aren't many opportunities for that. Especially given that my parents are openly telling them that I'm basically just living a sinful lifestyle, with no explanation.
All I'm looking for is ideas for how to introduce them to the idea of critical thinking, not critical thinking towards religion. They've never been taught those sorts of skills, so even when they're older, and what I talk to them about is no longer controlled by their parents, they won't know how to go about thinking critically about their beliefs.