Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Thought on Children and Belief.....

"It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so"
 - Ernestine Rose

I couldn't agree more with Ms. Rose, the great American atheist, feminist, abolotionist, and suffragist. If children aren't born able to feed themselves, the most primitive of acts, there is no way they have any inate concept of gods (now that's purity). This is why it so imperative that our children are brought up atheist, regardless of the chosen faiths of their parents, to the age where they have the maturity to decide for themselves what they believe. Does this mean that I won't let my daughter attend a religious ceremony with a friend if she asks? Not in the least. In fact, I think exposing children to the range of religious doctrines in the world gives them the opportunity to ask questions and form their mature belief system. The problem arises when the answers to these questions are woven in dogma. My daughter will obviously be exposed to atheist parents but our answers will  not be disrespectful of the other faiths. They will however be accurate: "We don't believe in gods because there is no evidence of them and mommy and daddy base their beliefs on logic and reason. The gods you just heard of are not based on these things and require blind faith - you will have to decide what works for you." What are the chances of believers following a similar path with their children?

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