I'm not a parent.  I just wanted to throw out something positive from someone raised without religion.  I figure you must be hearing opinions all the time on how your kids will grow up without morals or community or whatthefuckever.

My parents never sent me to church, sunday school, or bible camp.  There were remnants of their Christian upbringings.  We had a small nativity scene at Christmas and dead people were said to be in heaven. All real exposure to religion came from friends and classmates though.

I am 23, gainfully empoyed in a job I love, in a good and stable relationship.  I have never smoked or done drugs, and rarely drink.  I have always been academically successful and loved school.  I am generally well liked.  I have never had any problems with the law.  I volunteer my time and money to help abused and homeless pets, and support womens and gay rights.  I am happy, functional, and generally notfuckedup.

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for posting--I have to admit lack of religion is the least of my worries in raising children :) It sounds like you and your parents have a lot to be proud of.
Thank you! It is also nice to hear no ill will towards parents putting you in a position to be the odd kid out on a regular basis. :)
I appreciate your words of encouragement. There are moments when I think I am going to end up raising two little fuck ups. I can't rely on examples set by my own mother, they are all so steeped in the tenets of Mormonism, so I don't have many real life resources when it comes to my children. I don't even know another Atheist parent in real life... I don't have any people I can call for advice that won't be 100% based on god and religion...

:) It's always nice to be notfuckedup. I just keep telling myself that I was so screwed up by religion that my kids have to turn out better just by pure statistics... Right?
I'm very pleased to hear this, Ariel - although it's not surprising. While my children have been exposed to religion and church from friends/family, we are not raising them with any particular belief/non-belief, but allowing them to make their own decisions. That being said, I find as a parent that I tend to spend more time discussing "life" with my sons (particularly my 14-year old) very openly and honestly. I do so without any religious prejudice against sex and other behaviors that teens like to experiment in. I do not blame or use the belief in a zombie to scare or entice them to behave a certain way. Openness and honesty seem to go a long way with teens. Our motto is, "It's not if, it's when."
Appreciate the encouraging words. Our baby girl is not quite two, so I'm not worrying about this too much yet. That said, given we live in Texas, arguably one of the most religious states in the country, I do worry about whether when she's older if she will be ostracized by peers if she expresses disbelief in the faith they hold so dear. Kids can be awfully mean in the best circumstances, but fueled by religious fervor and hate I do worry. Did you share your atheist stance with your peers? Was that a problem where you grew up?
I was also raised with no religion. My mom was raised by a barely practicing catholic mother and an agnostic father. Not sure what my grandfathers parents were... but it appears that they weren't very religious if at all. My father was raised by a baptist single mother who tramped herself around town, and doesn't know who the fathers of her two youngest sons are. So he wasn't much into religion. My husband was also raised by an agnostic father and a barely practicing muslim mom. Our kids are now being raised without religion. I have found that my relatives that are practicing christians seem to be the least educated, least wealthy, are either addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or all of thee above, and have gone to prison and/or jail a few times. The agnostics/atheists in my family are the most successful, most educated and are good honest people.

Hats off to your parents and all parents raising their children w/out religion :) I think we've all turned out to be (or are turning out to be) genuinely good people.
I agree with Ariel - I was raised without religion and also came out just fine as did my brother and sister. All good, happy law abiding kids who are extremely grateful our parents made the courageous decision to not indoctrinate us in anything, aside from being honest, ethical, compassionate and responsible people. And, I never felt like the odd child out either. Our non-religion was never an issue. I have a 5 yr old now and he is curious about religion, but again, I dont' feel like we have been ostracized for our non-religous lifestyle. So, it's doable and it's a good thing to do and your children are likely to be REALLY grateful.
I, too, was raised "without religion". My one disappointment was not being allowed to go to summer camp like my cousins (the camps in our area were all religious). I survived. I was probably one of the biggest goodie-two-shoes teenagers I can think of, too.

Really, the only issue I've ever found hard dealing with my own kids without religion is death. It would be so easy to say "Sure, Grandpa's up in heaven." Or even, "Well, some people believe after you die your soul goes...". I still remember the time last year my six-year-old realized that someday she is going to die, and I had no comfort to give her other than that "it's a long ways away."

Watching your children's ethics develop is fascinating. My youngest is seven now and just starting to internalize guilt (I think her older sister "got it" younger)... often she'll still try to get away with whatever she can, but every once in a while she realizes she *did something BAD* (not the same as doing something she got in trouble for) and is completely crushed. Not that I want her crushed, of course, but watching that internal control develop is so neat.




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