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Non-religious people. How do you explain major religions to your children?

My fiance and I are going to raise our daughter to be non-religious, then when the time comes she'll be allowed to decide for herself what she wants to do. Thing is, both of our families are for the most part extremely Christian. How can we explain the concept of 'god' to her without making our family members look bad? And what do we do if someone tells her the three of us are going to hell for not believing? (I can see it coming, ugh...)

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Asked by caitxrawks at 7:13 PM on Jun. 13, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 17 (3,823 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • She'll probably just learn it from family/friends/tv or whatever. There was no point in my life as a non religious person that I asked what God was. She'll probably have more specific questions that you can just answer by saying "christians (or whatever group) believe X (the answer)." I was told I was going to hell and my mom said asked me if that sounded like something people who were really christian would say. Of course the answer is no, so she'd say that they should worry about their own souls because hate is not the answer.

    Answer by mrs_pulley at 8:00 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I've been explainig to my ds who has lots of questions, that different people believe different things. Some people believe there is a God, and this God wants people to live a certain way. And that that there are other religions as well with a God, but that God is different.
    I tell him that everyone has to decide for themselves what they believe, and they can believe whatever they want to believe. I've offered to take them to church so they can experience it. I've explained what I personally believe, but that it doesn't have to be what he believes. It is a very personal thing, and when the time is right, he will know what speaks to him.
    I told him that people who tell him is going to hell, say so b/c they believe in a hell. But I do not believe in a hell, so those words mean nothing to me. And that he is a good person, in his heart, and good ppl don't go to bad places.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 8:02 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I am religious (Pagan) and Dh sort of is (Buddhist/Taoist) but we do end up having to answer questions about different faiths that aren't something we believe in (except in the sense that all religions have some truth to them). I just answer the question: "Some people believe that there is one big God who made everything in the world and who loves everyone, and they believe that hundreds of years ago he came to live as a man named Jesus the Christ to make the world a better place. Christians are people who worship Jesus." If they ask about whether you are a Christian, you can say, "Christians believe many good things about being kind to other people, but they believe some things that I don't, because it doesn't make sense with science. They believe that he walked on top of water, and other things that aren't possible in the world. I think people are naturally good, and that we don't need to believe those things to be kind."

    Answer by Collinsky at 8:14 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • I would sit her down and explain ALL major religions to her.. this way she is equip to decide her own opinions.. why some believe this and why others believe that..
    explain it in order throughout history.. so she understands why some condemn certain things and others don't..

    she'll have a better understanding and respect for all views then, and make a more logical decision on her own.. and be able to defend those beliefs when they are brought into question;

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 8:19 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • Also, DK makes a GREAT book called World Religions that my kids enjoy quite a bit.

    A UU church might also not be a bad idea to investigate for your family, because they approach spirituality as an indiviual thing, and focus on social justice and understanding the beliefs of others (rather than trying to decide which ones are right and that all others are wrong.) MANY atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists really enjoy the community that UU offers, and the perspective that it gives their children. I know many nonreligious people really don't like ANY organized group like that (and not without reason!) but for many others it can offer a haven of tolerance and open-mindedness.


    Answer by Collinsky at 8:23 PM on Jun. 13, 2009


    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 8:36 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • My son is a kid with a TON of questions about everything... when it turns to religion we just say that there are some things that we just can't know for sure, like where the world came from, or what happens to people when they die, but that different people have different beliefs about these things. Some people believe that God made the world, some people believe it was a natural event like the Big Bang, and some believe a combination of both. When people die, we are not sure what happens afterwards- some believe in Heaven or Hell, some believe in reincarnation, some believe that we our energy is put back into the energy of the universe. What do you think happens? So far (my son is seven) this has satisfied his questions, as he gets older we can steer him to more detailed information if he has specific questions about specific faiths.

    Answer by Freela at 9:13 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • Ok had this whole just xplain to her that some people believe there is a God and you don't spiel but Idk what happened. I got compelled to go to and tye in atheists guide to God. I have never heard of this book before and don't kniw if it's for or agianst God but check it out. Agian I just got this in my head wow I haven't had something like this happen since I was pagan lol.

    by Sophia O. Y. Jones (Author)

    Answer by rhanford at 9:14 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • DK makes a lot of books about religions -- in the Eyewitness series. They all have awesome illustrations. And when my son was as young as about 18 months, I was reading these with him (and also a shitload of Greek and Egyptian mythology amongst other odd non-fiction subject matter often at his request.) Mostly we were looking at the pictures and talking about stuff then, but still. This was still in my "we should all try and get along" delusion stage, so starting from when my children were very young, I just kind of went over it all under the umbrella of some people believe x and others believe y and so on.  As they got older, we read more and more of the words in those books.


    Answer by roachiesmom at 9:14 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • ^^ I heart DK books. :-) ^^

    Answer by Collinsky at 11:02 PM on Jun. 13, 2009

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