Let me start by saying one thing: I've always been an Atheist. I was born an Atheist (as everyone did) and my parents Catholicism just never took with me.  In the third grade, I came across a definition of Atheism in the dictionary at my parochial grade school and it changed my life forever (this story also includes my friend Bill and I discovering the definition of "Fart" in the same dictionary).  For the first time I had a title for what I felt beyond simply "Different."  Throughout my life, I have carried the mantle of out-of-the-closet Atheist with pride and I've never backed down from a theist's challenge or debate, but I've also always figured that people can believe whatever they want as long as it doesn't effect me.  But recently, something else is stirring inside me...activism.

I have two wonderful children that are just now entering that phase of life where they start observing what is going on around them and asking questions.  Around Christmas time last year, my daughter (7 years old in the 2nd grade) started coming home with stories about baby Jesus from school (yes, public school).  I could never get a clear answer of whether these stories were coming from the teacher or other kids, but either way it has changed the way I feel about the religion around me.  I now realize that I am going to have to fight the influence of religion in my children's lives whether I originally wanted to or not.  And like any other fight that I've undertaken in my life, half-hearted isn't going to cut it.

I'm going to the Reason Rally on the 24th and that day will mark the first time that I have ever been to any kind of Atheist, Humanist, Freethought, etc function...ever.  It seems weird that I have lived as an outspoken Atheist for all these years, and I've never attempted to reach out to other Atheists for support or community.  There is a part of me that wants to start making Youtube videos about the perils of being an Atheist parent in America and another part that wants to start getting together with other Atheists and other Atheist parents on a regular basis.  All I know is that I have to start somewhere.  Any input from the community here that may help me direct this drive to activism that I feel would be much appreciated. 

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Comment by Reason Being on March 8, 2012 at 3:56pm

Good for you!  I too have been an atheist for a long time and am just starting to feel the need to become an activist.  That is why I started my blog and have become active in a local atheist group.  With the political scene in the U.S. being what it is, I felt I could no longer sit by and let others dictate theist policies to me.

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 8, 2012 at 2:47pm

Very weird, the first part of my post was truncated.

Some parents will try to tell you that "you can't reason with kids". Yes you can, though the later one starts making this a priority, the harder it gets. That said, it's never too late to start.

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 8, 2012 at 2:06pm

Yes you can, though the later one starts making this a priority, the harder it gets. That said, it's never too late to start. One good way to help your child understand the difference between "belief" and "truth" is books like...

Maybe yes maybe no

See also the links at the bottom.

Comment by The Antic Atheist on March 8, 2012 at 1:40pm
Thanks for the feedback. I still can't get over how much people want to discuss their religion with my kids. Imagine a scenario where I started telling my daughters friends about how awesome it is to be an Atheist. Her friends parents would flip their lid. So why is the reverse seemingly OK?
Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 8, 2012 at 11:38am

"I am trying to figure out the best way
to keep him from the religious influence until he is old enough to understand."

 ~ millered35

Try the most basic approach:

There is a difference between knowing something and believing something, people believe in a lot of different things. Just because a person believes something, doesn't mean it's true.

Comment by Dogly on March 8, 2012 at 10:58am

Now that you began looking around for us, you'll find a few atheists everywhere.  When you find out what other atheists parents are concerned about in your own community, you'll get some ideas of what you can do about it.  Activism means doing something.  Now that you've started, you're in for the ride of your life.

Comment by millered35 on March 8, 2012 at 10:03am

Man you sound just like me.  We are also dealing with the 7 y/o kid (in 1st grade - public school) that came home talking about christmas being about baby jesus. He said that's what the teacher told the kids in response to their questions. I am trying to figure out the best way

to keep him from the religious influence until he is old enough to understand.

Good luck

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