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How do you avoid "religion shock"?

When I was younger, I dated a fellow who told me that when he started school, he was fairly confused by the concept of religion and this being people called God, as it was never discussed at his house. He seemed to have real trouble with the notion that other people believed in this, and he couldn't wrap his thinking around it. That he mentioned it as a young adult indicates it was something he still had an issue with.

I have no intention of raising my children with any specific set of beliefs, except that of doubting and questioning everything, and my only real concern is that they might experience "religion shock" when they go to school and their peers start trying to indoctrinate them into various religions. I don't wish my children to view their peers as weird and alien for having a set of beliefs that are foreign to them, which unfortunately seems to be an issue no matter what you believe (or don't believe in).

So, aside from indoctrinating them into religion, which is just not an option, thank you ahead of time for the thoughtful suggestion, I wonder how I should go about preparing them to deal with the inevitable hostilities and ill will they likely will receive, for both not being familiar with the subject matter, and for not believing in it, without resorting to responding in kind.


Asked by bishopblack at 12:05 AM on May. 7, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 16 (2,657 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (29)
  • Be honest with your kids. Tell them exactly what you think and why. Continue to encourage lots of questions, and make their own decisions. When they ask why others believe something else, tell them your opinion on that, too. And then, don't forget to remind them that we still have to be nice to everyone. ;)

    Answer by Eek_a_Geek at 12:15 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • You can still school them on belief systems of the major players in Religion. They should know the basics. They don't have to believe, but it will certainly help them in life if the know the main tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. They will not experience shock if they have an understanding at the get-go.

    This will also open the door for them to make an informed decision about joining a certain religious group, if they so choose, when they are older.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 12:12 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • I don't think the key is not to teach them, but to teach them everything. All religions and what they believe and why they believe those things as documented in credible books.
    If a person doesn't believe in God, but never even looked into the whole God issue....wouldn't they be as narrow minded as people who believe in a God without questioning whether God is real or not? How can a person declare something is not true without doing their own investigations into it. Just raise a logical child and provide them with the tools to find out their own truths.

    Answer by CallMeAngie at 12:16 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • Before my children were born I educated myself on the basics of the world's major religions. I did this for myself and realized that no one religion is any more or less plausible. I have a healthy respect for other's beliefs, while realizing my path led me to believing that god is mans creation and some need him. I don't. My girls are teens now. They've grown up knowing what I and their father thinks and where the books are. Now they are on their own journeys and I am here for them.


    Answer by ochsamom at 12:17 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • Teach them, by example, respect for everyone. Do not degrade or mock those of a religious bend, in front of them. Teach them to be kind and decent. If you do that, I suspect you won't have these problems

    Answer by adnilm at 9:52 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • 4 year olds understand about the concept of God, so it is not too early. They will certainly be hearing about it in kinder when the holidays arrive. They will understand when you tell them about different people's beliefs. And, it is okay to say that everyone can have their own belief and that is okay,. Some people believe in God, some do not. Some people believe in Jesus, some do not.


    They get it.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 12:16 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • (quote: bishopblack) "I'm curious how teaching children to question things, as opposed to telling them what to believe, would lead them to be judgmental and closed minded. Could you elaborate Mr. or Mrs. Buttplug? "
    I think their reply was in response to the very first "Anonymous" reply, and not directed at you.

    Answer by Eek_a_Geek at 12:25 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • I read a book recently called Raising Freethinkers, you might find it an interesting read.


    Answer by Love.4 at 3:02 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • I was a Christian at one time. I taught my kids about different religions when they were elementary school age. We have lived around the world and so they saw the different religions in action and are very tolerant. There was no religious shock involved. Now one son is Catholic, one is Methodist, one is an atheist, and my daughter is New Age. I am a New Age Buddhist now. I think just telling kids about different beliefs and lifestyles is enough.

    Answer by lilangilyn at 10:30 AM on May. 7, 2011

  • Thank you for your very helpful response :)

    Comment by bishopblack (original poster) at 12:11 AM on May. 7, 2011