I Demand Christian Children!

From PostSecret:

Here’s a thought: Why not just raise your children with proper ethics and morals? Why not teach them right from wrong? Why are the superstitions and Christian mythology so damn important to you?

Because if you teach the kids how to think, you don’t have to teach them what to think. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian parent or a Muslim parent or an atheist parent.

There are wonderful children who grow up in non-Christian and non-religious families just as there are plenty of children who don’t turn out so well despite being raised in a Christian household. The reverse holds true in both cases, too.

Just because you raise the child to be Christian doesn’t mean the child will turn out to be good, intelligent, perfect, etc — nor does it mean the child will stick with the faith as s/he grows up. There’s more to raising children than slapping some religious label onto them, especially when it won’t mean much for at least another decade.

Here’s another thought: Just don’t have children. You’ll be fine without them. So will we.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of Robert M. Hutchin’s quote:

    ““It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think.””

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684968309 Charles M Taylor

    The Quiverfull movement seems to hold the belief that they can win by simply having more babies than everybody else. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiverfull

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Chester/682538320 Adrian Chester

      Those people are almost as insane as Westburo. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      and by win they mean drag us back into the dark ages!

    • Anonymous

      They have extremely questionable methods of raising children in general

    • Anonymous

      I wonder if that could even work to keep the Christian population up, if it were more widely accepted.  A lot of children in those families reject how they’re raised just because the family was too big with too big of demands placed on them because of it.

  • dwasifar karalahishipoor

    You read that wrong, Hemant.  She wants to RATSE them, not raise them.

    I guess that’s like goatse, but with rats instead of goats.  Eww.  We should encourage her not to have children at all.

    • Drakk

      But goatse didn’t have any goats in it.

      Or so I hear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scott.j.jordan Scott James Jordan

      There’s a hole lot of problems with your definition of goatse. ;-)

      • dwasifar karalahishipoor

        Oh, I know, but it was just funny to say.

        • http://www.facebook.com/scott.j.jordan Scott James Jordan

          And funny it was!! :)

  • SJH

    The illustration and the comment made by the image seems silly so I will not comment on that but to answer your question, you first need to understand what Christianity teaches about our relationship with God. According to Christianity, in order to live a perfectly fulfilled life we must live in perfect union with God. Obviously none of us are perfect so this is theoretically impossible but it is a goal we can set for ourselves. If you do not know God then you can never live in union with him and, although you may live a good life, it will never reach its potential. Obviously there are good atheists out there and there are bad Christians. The Christian philosophy does not mean to pit atheist against christian but to contrast your own potential against your own current state of existence. If God does exist, are you as good as you can be?

    If God does not exist, the question is still very relevant. Are you as good as you can be? Where do we fall short of living a perfect life and what do we need to do to change those things?

    • http://twitter.com/MMonjeJr MichaelScott MonjeJr

      Regardless of the existence of god(s), then, it seems like you could have gotten to your point without evoking it (him/her/whatever).  Your final paragraph tells us this.

      If you can make your point about human potential without invoking an unverifiable, unfalsifiable, and completely untestable premise, then that premise is unnecessary.

      The question then becomes, irrespective of the existence of god(s), why should we bother evoking them when we discuss morality?

      • SJH

        Perhaps I was unclear in the first part of my post. I was trying to answer the question posed by Hemant. He was asking why are the beliefs so important to Christians? To understand this, you must understand what Christians believe. I was pointing out that a relationship with and an accurate knowledge of God becomes important due to our belief system as a whole.
        This is a separate issue then morals/ethics. Morals and ethics can be defined separately from God to some degree. Christianity does not define morals it simply attempts to clarify what is already there and what can be deduced by reason.

    • Edmond

      If god does not exist, then people who choose to do good are doing so because they want to benefit society, and make the world better for everyone.

      But if god DOES exist, and it’s the Christian God, then it doesn’t really matter how good you are.  That god is only concerned with belief, not acts of goodness.  He will forgive any atrocity, as long as you believe in him enough to ask for forgiveness.  Atheists who live a life of charity, kindness, generosity and love are still doomed to Hell because they have not been convinced that anything with a supernatural explanation actually exists.

      It’s good that Christianity has a self-empowering philosophy that guides you to improve yourself.  But that doesn’t make its supernatural claims true.  People SHOULD try to improve themselves, and be as good as they can be.  That improves society, and the quality of life for all of us.  But by attaching this mythology to it, and by insisting that this is the superior method by which to judge morality, it DOES pit one group against another, not just atheists but religion against religion.  Religion cultivates a “chosen people” mindset.  It makes people feel justified in saying “I understand what God wants from all humanity, and you don’t”.  This is very divisive throughout humanity, and doesn’t add to religion’s credibility.  A more competent god should’ve been more successful at uniting its creation.

      • Anonymous

        I mostly agree except for the concept that christianity guides people to improve themselves.  Why should people need to really improve themselves when they believe in a concept of god that allows forgiveness for any evil act they could inflict on another human being.  However, what is unforgivable to this god creature is denying his existence.  I don’t see how this could even work to improve people’s goodness. 

      • SJH

        I disagree with your chain of reasoning regarding your second paragraph.

        If the Christian God exists then he is very concerned about our actions and how good we are. He is also very concerned about forgiveness since this is part of being good. Of course he is willing to forgive atrocities because he loves the person committing such actions. Just as I would forgive my own child for committing vile actions, so does he. I would still hold my child accountable but I would forgive him nonetheless.

        Regarding your statement that atheists are doomed to hell, many Christian denominations don’t believe that. Many denominations believe that we cannot pass judgement on anyone and for all we know there is not a single person in hell.

        On you final paragraph, I must disagree as well. Claiming a religion and agreeing with its principals, philosophy and theology does not mean that you somehow think that it is superior. It is not about pride.  It is similar to having different theories about a physical phenomena. If I conclude that something is true and another concludes that something else is true, I do not see myself or my conclusion as superior, I simply see it as more correct. We can discuss our conclusions and make a determination who is more correct, which parts of our conclusions have elements of truth and which elements are false. By doing this we will all be better for it.

  • Mrs. B.

    I’m taking a whole different meaning from this – somehow this dolt is buying in to the idea that Christianity is like some endangered species and is on the brink of extinction. If only. Someone needs to tell her that even if it gets to the point that there are only 10 Christians left in the entire country, she’ll still have the right to raise her children in whatever religion she sees fit. But, with her martyr syndrome in full bloom it might be best if she doesn’t breed at all, quite honestly. What a putz.

    • dwasifar karalahishipoor

      I don’t think that’s her worry at all.  I suspect she’s in a mixed marriage, has previously agreed to raise the children in her husband’s religion, and is now having second thoughts.

      I don’t have a bit of objective evidence for this position, of course, but it fits the facts and the tone of the thing; it neatly explains why her position is a secret worthy of PostSecret; and it’s really the simplest explanation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        possibly she even agreed to raise the children to make up their own minds when they were old enough – and has started to suspect that will not lead them to choose christianity.

  • Petite_diabolique

    Beautifully put on all points. There are too many kids already here that need to be taken care of without adding to the mix.

  • http://www.mattkane.com Matt

    Forgive me, I couldn’t help myself.

    • Meganfluevog

      I’m goin’ out today and I’m gonna Ratse them cats! here, kitty kitty kitty…

  • Rich Wilson

    As Gordon Duffy recently said on another thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5fo1mbumYA

  • G. Becker

    At least there was another postcard this week that wrote, “In my opinion, the absence of a meaning of life is what makes life so wonderful.” 

  • Anonymous

    Oh cry me a river. PostSecret is about people being able to vocalize something anonymously that they cannot do so publicly. If this girl is American and not actually living in a fundamentalist Muslim home, she is hardly in a position to take an “Oh pity me, my poor oppressed soul!” position. She could also have said:

    - I don’t want to work unless I can pay taxes
    - I don’t want to live in Alabama unless I can vote Republican
    - I don’t want to watch the Westboro Baptist Church unless I can disapprove of their message.

  • Michael

    I was also put off by the huge swarm of different groups who want to tell you how to raise your children. So I had no problem keeping my carbon footprint down, I just chose not to have any children. Planet saved, you’re welcome.

    • Rabid

      Contrary to popular belief, the planet doesn’t need saving. It will be here whatever we do to it and will be here long after we can no longer sustain ourselves upon it. It will just keep on keeping on, one way or another. What we need to save is ourselves.

  • Alantas

    At first, I read all but the last word (I hadn’t scrolled down to it yet) and interpreted this as a pro-choice statement!

  • Anonymous

    The doll stand makes it look like it has a stick up its ass.  Probably an unintended message.

  • R Nilsson

    I disapprove most strongly of the depicted method for raising children. Or any other person, for that matter. Where does all this brutality we see these days come from, I wonder? If they had been butterflies they would at least have been killed with alcohol first, but this must be pure medieval evil of Transsylvanian proportions!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

                                                                      Sunday Funnies

    “Here’s another front page Church scandal. The Pope is a real jerk!”

    “He sure is.  Say, I gotta get some more Trojans when we go out,
     you rascal.”

     “Look at the time! C’mon kids, we’re gonna be late for Mass!” 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

      (I thought it was funny.)

  • TiltedHorizon

    Hmmm… So this is an anonymous posting by someone who ‘really’ wants to to raise their children christian? I have to wonder why this person chose an image of a doll with a stick up it’s arse as their abstract representation of raising a christian child.

  • Anonymous

    In most respects I agree with you. People should teach their kids to think rather than just sharing what they believe about the universe with them. But….

    1) No one does this, not even atheists. I was taught in grade 7 science class (as were millions and millions of others) that blood is actually blue and only becomes red when oxygenated. I passed that nugget along to my five year old who tried to impress our doctor with her knowledge, who then snickered and proceeded to tell me that this “fact” was a myth and went so far as to lecture myself and my wife (who works in health care) about the origins of said myth. Bet you five bucks my daughter still shares that little article of wisdom with her kids, even though she knows it’s wrong.

    I tell my kids to wear a hat outside or they’ll catch a cold, even though I know that you cannot catch a virus from weather, no matter how much you make out with it. I kick myself every time I say it, but it’s so deeply ingrained.

    The point is, everybody teaches their kids things that they believe to be true, whether they’ve been debunked or not. Just something to keep in mind when poking sticks at others.

    2) “Here’s another thought. Just don’t have children. You’ll be fine without them. So will we.”

    This is…gross.

    Normally I like the tenor of the articles on this site. They convey bemusement, sarcasm, and occasionally justified anger. I’m okay with all of those. 

    Implying, however, that the children of people you don’t agree with should not be conceived is, on a deeply human level, atrocious behavior, especially in an article championing the moral weight of non-theistic child rearing. 

    It is never okay to descend into cruelty or outright (in this case apparently) eugenically motivated bigotry in support of your position.

    I know that likely isn’t what was intended. I know the author was likely trying to make a comment on overpopulation and skewed it. It doesn’t matter. If you have an audience, you have to be deliberate in your choices of words. Saying crap like the above quote is EXACTLY why it’s so easy for theists to argue that they have the moral high ground and point at atheists as arrogant, amoral fools. Why would you ever want to give away that kind of ammo?

    • Anonymous

      Well, I get that Hemant could be easily misunderstood, but he isn’t saying that Christian children shouldn’t be born. What he is saying is that having less Christians is a good thing, not that having less children is a good thing. He is saying is that if a higher percentage of the children born are raised in non-religious households  then that is a good thing.

    • Anonymous

      Wait…NOT conceiving children is atrocious?  Then I’m in big trouble.

    • Coconut

      I am slightly confused by your #1 point. You know things aren’t true and
      yet you go ahead and say them anyway? This says something about you,
      not other people. When I learn things are wrong, I correct them. If I
      learn something I thought was true is wrong, I go ahead and say I was
      wrong and tell other people that it actually isn’t true. The fact that
      you would go ahead and tell other people things that you know are not
      true is completely baffling to me. So, no, not everyone does it and you
      should stop spreading lies. — And, yes, it is a lie when you say it and
      you know it’s not true.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and call shenanigans on this one. 

        What year is it, Coconut? Do you write 2011 in the date fields of forms when asked? Even though we know that since 0-1 would have been the first calendar year, it’s actually 2010? Or maybe, since we know that the Earth is actually billions of years older than the Gregorian calendar reflects, you strive for a much more accurate date; something like 4,357,002,011?

        Yes, EVERYONE occasionally passes on as fact things they know to be factually incorrect. You’re not neither special in this regard nor immune to it’s effect, so please, don’t stick your nose up in the air over things you haven’t thought through. It makes you appear absurd.

        • Coconut

          That’s a completely different matter. Saying you’re going to somehow not get sick by doing something that you know does not prevent said illness is a lie. Saying our blood is blue when it’s not and you know it’s not is a lie. Saying it’s the year 2011 is an estimation from a certain point in time based on some religious BS and some mathematical equations to help us record certain dates and times for the record, for planning, and for communication. Estimations are not lies. If you ask somebody how old the world is, unless they’re ignorant, they are not going to say it’s 2011 years old. Passing on some BS about our blood being blue or you should do something to prevent something that isn’t even related is a lie and it’s pointless and illogical.

    • Michael

      What he is saying is that threatening to choose not to have children is no threat at all. I chose not to have children, nobody cares.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    I expect anyone, of any beliefs, would want to pass those beliefs on to their kids.  I don’t understand why the person says “unless I can”, which would imply that there’s some reason the person would not be able to raise their kids Christian.  In addition to that, the secret does come off sounding a bit like the person wouldn’t accept it if, despite a Christian upbringing (or perhaps because of it), their kids decided to leave Christianity.

    • Anonymous

      If she married a Muslim man, for example, it might not be so clear whether she would be able to raise her children Christian.

      • Rich Wilson

        I used to work with a guy who had one parent Muslim and one Catholic.  I don’t recall which was which, but the guy was Catholic.

        • Anonymous

          Interesting. Usually when there are two parents of different faiths, they agree to let the child decide for themselves, which means the child ends up non-religious and sometimes an atheist. If your coworker ended up Catholic, that probably means that the Muslim parent wasn’t really strong in their faith and just let the Catholic parent do the teaching.

  • Anonymous

    No reason to get bent out of shape, that’s how we get most of our atheists!

  • Sue Blue

    What’s up with the imagery in that poster?  Is is some sort of bizarre innuendo about Catholicism (kids getting something up the ass…like a priest) as opposed to “real Christianity”?  As a child I was taught by my fundamentalist family that Catholics were not “real” christians.  They were supposedly corrupt idolaters who had perverted the bible and practiced pagan rituals in the name of christ.  If you married a catholic, you might as well sacrifice your kids to the devil.


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