How many Christians (or other religious) parents do you think would be able to say what Nica Lalli writes in an op-ed piece for USA Today?
I may be raising my kids outside organized religion, but I am not raising them to be ignorant of religion any more than I am raising them to be atheists. I am not telling them that they have to follow my way of thinking, because as a parent, it’s my job to encourage them to think for themselves. I know that many religious parents do the same for their kids, and I know that good parenting has no religious affiliation. But how can a parent foster an open and questioning mind in a child who is also told to follow a god — without question?
When it comes to religion, it is hard to allow freedom of choice in our offspring because we want them to emulate us. It is unsettling to think that our own kids might believe in things we do not. It is awful to imagine that they would reject that part of who their parents are. But the fear subsides when I hear the wisdom of my daughter, who recently told me, “I don’t have to choose what religion I am right now, but I have the choice to choose.”
Nica, the author of Nothing: Something to Believe In, advocates raising “questioning children” instead of “atheist children.” I don’t have kids but it seems logical to take this path. You grow up having more intelligent children when they’ve been exposed to more ideas and know how to question them and figure out what makes sense and what does not.
On a side note, my favorite reader comment on the site (you know it’s from a fundie Christian by the frequent use of ALL CAPS):
Open letter to Nica Lalli,
You have a legal right, AND a God given right, to be an “atheist”. And I will defend your right in that respect with my life.
I commend you also on your refusing to be a member of any “religious” organization on earth. For I believe that ALL “religions” are man-made, and thus totally false. As is their false “gods”.
Having said this, I disagree totally with your implication that ALL beliefs concerning a god are a “religion”. And thus I have a huge problem with you and MOST of the world.
IE: Most of the world, including Webster’s dictionary, call true “Christianity” a “religion”. This is false. It never has been, NOR will it ever be a “religion”, contrary to what any one says or espouses.
For if Christianity was a religion, then judaism, islam, hinduism, buddhism, confucionism, daowism, heathenism, agnositcism, atheism*, catholicism, paganism, eastern mysticism and protestantism, etc, etc, etc, can NOT be a religion.
In otherwords, ALL of these EXCEPT Christianity were created BY man. ONLY Christianity was created by Jesus Christ, who is God. Therefore, since Jesus created Christianity (and thus why the first 6 letters of it spells Christ), it alone is set apart (holy) from ALL other beliefs that have EVER existed.
On the other hand, if all of the other beliefs (listed above) are “religions”, then Christianity can NOT be a religion. Because they are uniquely and quintessentially different. Whether ANY one knows it; or believes it or not.
Thus Nica, you are treading on a very dangerous course. The following is why:
You are a parent. You are responsible for what your children do. Partiularly how you train your children AND the “role” model you exhibit to them. And therein; you are IN grave danger dear person. More than you can possibly imagine.
Jesus said, “If you hurt one of my little ones, it would be better for you if a millstone was placed around your neck, and you be cast into the sea”.
And you ARE guilty of this, whether you or ANY one in the world realizes it; OR believes it or not. So you are a very foolish person too. Yes, I am sure, you will believe as will countless millions of others will believe that I am foolish in my believing that Jesus (Christianity) is the ONLY true God there has ever been.
If ANY person was about to board a plane and above the jetway gate, was a sign that stated, “THERE IS A 50-50 CHANCE THIS PLANE IS GOING TO CRASH”, they would be a fool to fly on that plane. I dare say, that NO ONE, but an absolute fool, would enter the plane, based on how human nature works.
This means dear person, that you are foolishly faililng to realize; that IF you are wrong, (meaning Jesus WAS and IS God) then you are not only jeapordizing your own life, BUT the lives of those you (in all likelyhood) love most dearly.
I urge you Nica, to reconsider your feelings very closely. For the risk is just too great. But the choice is still yours, and I again WILL defend your legal right, AND God given right, to believe as you do.
May Jesus right ALL wrongs,
* Atheism IS a religion, whether any one realizes it or not. The reason is: It’s god is “self”. Thus it IS a religion. In fact, because ALL atheist are extremely tenacious and believe STRONGLY in man (“self”), their belief has to be THE quintessential “religion” on earth.
Anyway, I’m guessing most atheists are on board with Nica. But all things considered, how many atheists would be ok with it if their kids, after much personal reflection and questioning, decided to side with a particular religion?