This is a guest post written by David G. McAfee. He is author, most recently, of The Belief Book. … Regardless of your beliefs, if you have children, you will eventually have to talk to them about religion. When should you do it? The short answer: probably sooner than you think. Some non-believers, perhaps in [Read More…]
Suppose you’re a non-believer and someone tells your child that he will go to Hell for not believing a certain thing or because he’s not baptized. What do you do?
Whether it’s at school, or with friends, or at a religious event of some kind, if you know children who aren’t being raised (some may say indoctrinated) with a particular religion, this situation is bound to arise.
That’s partly because the idea of Hell is associated with many religions, so no matter where you live or who your kids associate with, it’s likely they will meet somebody who believes in it. In Christianity, it’s called Hell. In Islam, it’s called “Jahannam.” But it’s all the same in practice.
The second reason this issue is common is that kids will be kids. If they are taught that Hell is real and that non-believers will be sent there, there’s a chance they will bring it up to their classmates and friends who they think fit those descriptions. And children who are threatened with Hell will be kids, too. That is to say that, because they often don’t know any better, they may be scared that this place is real and that they should do anything they can to avoid it.
That’s where you come in.
The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how to handle your children telling you they’re religious.