As a mother of 2 teenage boys I can say that parenting is hard. Being an atheist parent is even harder!

My husband and I have fought with the schools and their sports programs for years. We have had to try and explain to our children why their best friend isn't allowed to talk to them anymore after that friends' parents discovered we are atheists.

My kids have had to endure stiffled giggles and a pat on the head, as if they were silly or uniformed, when they expressed to a teacher that they are atheist and so didn't get the bible referenced question on an exam. Or worse yet, got a failing grade because they didn't get the Eve and apple question, and/or the Noah and the ark question correct .

Our youngest quit playing football for his school because he refused to participate in Wednesday practice bible study and was benched for his refusal. My husband and I have heard countless reassurances that our children will not be exiled or singled out for their lack-of beliefs only to watch them (our kids) be tormented, singled out, and benched.

Our eldest leaves for college in August and we were thrilled to see the university he is attending had an atheist group but saddened that at the open house we attended they did not have a table set up but the many christian groups did.

Our 15 year old decided a couple of months ago that he believes in reincarnation. When asked about his newfound belief he said that people who believe in a god are stupid and uneducated but that he thinks he would like to be reincarnated as a bird, or maybe a domestic cat/dog and in his brain he can choose to believe he will be reincarnated after he dies if he wants to. I told him that if he promised not to become a scientologist he could believe anything he wants. lol!

I have watched my kids suffer for being an atheist living in the bible belt south and I am constantly in awe of their compassion, willingness to give back, and their tolerance. Although, one of my sons is considering going to a local church in order to, in his words, "hook up with this really hot chick".

Guess my job is far from over! =)

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Comment by Jennifer Lovejoy on April 14, 2010 at 7:51pm
Magoria Crowe- I think you are doing the right thing. =) As your son gets older he will continue to ask questions. I believe allowing our children to chose for themselves is incredibly important. Kudos for being an awesome mom!!!!!
Comment by Rusty Gunn. on April 3, 2010 at 8:49pm
Tell your son to make his move on that "really hot chick" right after a revival meeting. I have it on good authority that's when they are most susceptible!!
Comment by Sheryl on April 3, 2010 at 1:37am
Since I used to be a believer I never had to deal with any of that with my older kids. I am however concerned about my 4 yr old son because now that I am a non-believer I hear every religious thing said to or around him. I'm not sure how I'll handle it when he's older. Right now it's kind of funny. So far I have told an adult that religion is a complicated philosophical idea that adults have not even worked out so I'm certainly not going to discuss it with my child. The 6 yr old neighbor girl mentioned Jesus and my son said "Who?" and she said "Some man who lives in the sky." My son didn't reply so I'm hoping it just sounded crazy to him!
Comment by Jennifer Lovejoy on April 3, 2010 at 12:27am
Garrick, cool name! My hubby's name is Garrett. =)

How hot totally matters when you are 15 years old and I get that! =)

It's been a really long time since I had to answer the "how did we get here" question. I told my boys we just are. The personal part of parenting is much easier than the outside influence part. Does that make sense? Explaining why a religious nut won't let their best friend stay the night night is much harder then the condom talk.

To my kids, safe sex is a way of life. Abstinence, what is taught in school, is archaic and a religuous thing. My husband and I taught are boys that sex is natural and good but it must be good for both parties. I find it funny that their religuous conterparts find sex a sin but participate in it anyway, unsafely, and not only have askewed views about men and women in sexual encounters but participate in incredibly unsafe sexual practices. And we are viewed as odd??

My kids have always stood up for social unjustices. They are smart, well informed, and totally capable of making their owns decisions, or at least I hope. =)

I have more of a fear that they will be sucked into a religious cult then I have of them getting a girl pregnant or failing out of school. Shows where our society is. At this point I can only hope that my boys meet a nice atheist girl or an orphan. =)
Comment by Garrick McElroy on April 2, 2010 at 10:47pm
How hot? Lol. It totally matters.

But in all seriousness, it is a lot tougher being an atheist parent, and one of the biggest things for me is that you can't answer questions like other parents who are theists do. It was in a Chariots of Iron episode, I think the latest one. They talked about how, when a kid asks "How did we get here?" meaning the human species. It's a lot easier to say "God did it." than to have to explain all the wonderful things about nature. Respect for any atheist parents out there who are dealing with this well. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to handle kids, let alone all the social problems that come with having a child that's an atheist. I can handle myself pretty well if something like that comes up, but I dunno about my kid. I may end up hurting someone.

And more respect for your kids for sticking to their lack of religion, regardless of the hardships. ^.^



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