Facing your Atheism in the eyes of your child

2012-08-02 10:46

Eight years ago when my wife and I decided to start a family, we had some serious challenges to face. We had to decide what we were going to tell our kids regarding religion.

Our marriage had all the odds stacked up against it from the start. She is the Christian and me the Atheist Jew. I asked her why she needed Christianity when I have explained to her that all of its foundations are baseless.

Her reply to me was that she feels at home in her Dutch Reform church. When she sits there amongst the other Afrikaners, she feels content. It felt warm and safe, she said.

I have respected that.

But we still didn’t have a workable plan with the kids. In the end we decided that the best for the kids would be to grow up in the confines of the Jewish community. They will attend an all Jewish school so we had control over the standard of their education. But there was a religious price to pay for that and my hope was that both of them will like myself, just wake up one day and realise the religious side of Jewish life is just horse poo. A bunch of rituals dating back to the days of Moses. Complete waste of time.

My problems started about 3 years ago when the eldest was 4. He wanted to go to Shul (synagogue) like the rest of his friends. My Dad is a very religious man but has respected my non-belief. Wisely. So with him having this wisdom, I asked him what I was to do with a kid that now wants to attend the synagogue. His advice was to simply leave the child to find his own way.

I thought it was simply a case of “blending” in with his mates and the whole religious aspect would fly past his head.

The regulars on here will know I left home 2 years ago because I had an extramarital affair. I assumed when all the female scorn was flying around at the time that my wife would probably sway the kids towards her religion. She didn’t and in doing so she didn’t confuse the kids.

I returned home a while ago and settled back into my place at home. I was reading the bedtime stories again. The kids enjoy when I read their stories because I add twists to the story that isn’t written in the book and then the fun starts. They almost kill themselves laughing when the Wolf arrives on his bike and drives Red Riding Hood to Melrose Arch and feeds her ice cream with dog poo in so she gets an upset tummy.

It wouldn’t be until I closed the book tonight and the little one of 4 threw his arms around my neck and said to me:

“Daddy I’m so glad you are back home. David (his elder brother) said if we pray every night God will bring you back”

I went ice cold and had no words.

What now?

When is the right time to tell them the truth. Certainly not tonight.

Do I leave them to find themselves in a very confusing world or do I help them find the truth?

Looking into the eyes of your own flesh adds a whole new dimension to this debate we have not explored yet.

It would be great if the wise guys on here will come join this debate and give me their input on this issue.


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