I am what you would call an atheist. I have no belief in any "god" and I am perfectly happy with that. My children are freethinkers, but they are discovering how hard that concept is for others to accept. Can you imagine what it must feel like to have another child tell you emphatically that you are going to burn in hell if you don't "accept Jesus"? Both of my kids have found out exactly that. I bought a couple of books for them to read from Amazon a little while ago, so they could get an idea as to what "freethinker" and "skeptic" really mean (Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong and Maybe Yes, Maybe No: both by Dan Barker. ). I wish there were many more books out there to explain things in simple terms for young children dealing with atheism. I have longed for a freethinkers group in my area, and now my children have expressed such a need as well. Wouldn't that be fantastic? As it stands, I am the only (out) atheist that I know of in my town. I wish I knew where everyone else was hiding....

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Comment by Kevin on August 19, 2008 at 8:54pm
look into meetup.com and set up an atheist meetup in your area - that might get the atheists out of the woodwork!
Comment by Fabio on August 19, 2008 at 5:37pm
Being an atheist in stinking, ol' Catholic Italy I can somewhat understand what you're going through, even though I don't find myself in the situation of having to raise kids as freethinkers in a hostile environment. However, from my own personal experience as a kid I can tell you two things. The first one is that kids are mean to each other and are so regardless of reasons or lack thereof. The second one is that you can raise freethinkers without really explaining your kids what freethought by definition is and what it is opposed to. What you have to do - at least what I think you should do - is make sure they develop their own ability to rationally scrutinise things and a passion for disputing dogma. As they grow up they will get familiar with the label and most likely identify with it. That's pretty much how it worked for me. Raised in a Catholic environment I spent my childhood reading books aimed at spreading scientific knowledge among kids. My developing a naturalistic world view was just about unavoidable, even though I discovered such labels as atheist, freethinker, naturalist or humanist much later. As far as I understand, your kids have expressed their desire to meet other like-minded individuals and that can't but be a positive sign. Don't be afraid of what other kids might tell them. I'm sure your children will prove to be much stronger and resilient than even you think :)
Comment by lOS`AMIGOS on August 19, 2008 at 5:32pm
Hi Natalie ,
yes the old tried and trusted religious bully tactics psychological warfare .Always has had the best results when used against people in their youth ,i personally think its a crime and the religious adults that abuse by these means should in the future be held responsible .

All the more reason why we need to come out of the woodwork where we are perfectly happy , to stand up for the rights of humanity and make sure our kids are not allowed to be manipulated and tormented with these verbal threats of insainity .
Comment by Steve on August 19, 2008 at 5:24pm
You should start a group and advertise a meeting in your local paper. You might be surprised at the number of people who come.



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