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Should I attempt to discuss atheism with younger siblings?
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23 / F / Winding Circle
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Posted 3/10/14
Never force your beliefs on others, 'right' or not. Go ahead and engage in discussion with her, it may persuade her to your side or push her away. If she starts becoming offensive, that's when you need to back off.

I'm Catholic, born and raised. And while I question my faith, I don't plan on leaving it. Ever. I happen to like it.

The Deuteronomy quote... The only time I ever had to read that book or any of the Jewish laws was in class (7-12 Catholic high school) when studying the Jews and how things were at the time when Jesus was preaching. Jesus actually told everyone not to follow laws such as the one quoted.

As for everything else I've seen here... I was taught not to take the Bible literally. I do not believe the creation story happened exactly as it is written in the Bible. I believe that evolution happened and all that, and that God had a hand in it. Also, what's a day for God could be years and years, not a day by our definition.

Also, for the stories such as Abraham and Isaac, think about the times. Yes, it's not a good thing right now at all. But back then? That's how they lived. Jews didn't sacrifice people, just animals, but they sacrificed a lot of animals. I'm sure there was some culture that sacrificed kids around the time of Abraham as well. Plus, God never intended on Abraham going through with it, it was a testing of faith.

Noah and the flood. Again, the times. How big was the world to them? They probably believed it was the area they lived in and a few miles around it, so to them, the world flooded.

Go ahead and challenge her beliefs. You'll at least get her to think, and that's always good, for making decisions, and for figuring out if it's right for her. It's not right for everyone. I happen to enjoy having my beliefs challenged. But not everyone is that way either. Try for friendly discussion, don't push, and avoid the big topics for the most part until you're both comfortable with talking about it without either of you storming off. Don't be closed minded either.
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40 / M / The land of ice a...
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Posted 3/10/14
Atheist and parent here. My intention was to let my daughter think for herself and avoid discussing religion until she was old enough to form her own opinion. Unfortunately, she started coming back from grandma's house talking about god and Jesus. I had to tell my 3 year old that god/gods are just as real as the superheroes she loves - Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America, etc. No way am I going to have my child indoctrinated into what I consider nonsensical fairy tales. Then I attempted to explained the scientific burden of proof to her. Simply held up my empty hand, told her I was holding an apple, and had her explain to me why I wasn't holding anything. Surprisingly, she grasped the concept right away.

I guess my points would be; don't be pushy because it can backfire on you like it did to grandma, and use logic and reason. Also, I find The Skeptic's Annotated Bible to be a great resource for pointing out how poorly written the Christian bible is. Good luck.
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Posted 3/10/14

rikuoamerocrunchyroll wrote:

Hi, just a question that's burning in my mind. Should I talk to my younger sister about her faith in Christianity and attempt to move her towards atheism?

A bit of background. We're Irish, and Ireland is predominantly Catholic, but (at least in my local area) I wouldn't exactly label us as devout. The locals here will go to church on special occasions (Communion, Confirmation, wedding, funeral etc), with only the older generations typically going to the weekly mass. If anything, I would label the locals as being cultural Christians, rather than devout believers like I've heard evangelicals in the US to be.
I grew up a believer, but it was in my teenage years that I began to question Christianity. I eventually made a complete break with the religion when I was about 16 or 17, after completing a read-through of the bible and deciding to myself that the morals it preaches are not morals I agree with.
I bring up the question because I was just in a conversation with my 14 year old kid sister, who mentioned giving up chocolate and sweets for Lent (for those who might not know, Lent at least here in Ireland is a practice where in the run up to Easter, you typically give up something you treasure. For kids, it's typical to give up sweets). I was wondering whether I should talk to her about (what I admit is my opinion but one which I hold to be true) the falsity of the bible and thus not having to partake in these practices that ultimately don't accomplish anything.
As far as I know, the kid sister has never really questioned the truth or falsehood of Christianity, she just seems to accept it to be true and has never put much if any thought into whether it actually is. She doesn't worry about the moral teachings of the religion, whether what she does in her day to day life matches the teachings. Basically, she's your average teeny-bopper.

What's your opinion guys?


Don't try to convert anyone period. If you try to convert your younger sister to atheism then you're no better than the people who go to door to door. Your religious beliefs, or lack of them, are personal, don't impose them on them. There's nothing wrong with discussing your beliefs with her but trying to convert her is rude.
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31 / M / Bellingham WA, USA
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Posted 3/10/14
Let her think for herself. There's nothing wrong with being a catholic if she so chooses. I was a Catholic up until age 18, and I wish I had it in me to go back. I really liked the sense of tradition and community, and depending on the priest I've heard quite a few downright moving homilies.

But at the end of the day I just can't intellectually accept the divinity of Christ and therefore have no business parading around as a Christian. Worship of the Abrahamic God has also repressed human civilization in too many ways over the course of history for me to want to be a part of that. That's on me though, unless they're too hateful I can still respect the beliefs of other people.
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26 / M / I am in a hut, ga...
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Posted 3/12/14 , edited 3/12/14
Perhaps encouraging her to take all things with a grain of salt is appropriate, but some people are better off being religious than not, as it gives them some semblance of meaning or involvement (or even security).

For that very reason letting her come to her own conclusions is likely in your best interests! What you can do is try to stop other people from trying to make their opinions her opinions
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26 / M / Pandemonium
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Posted 3/12/14 , edited 3/12/14

Balzack wrote:

Let her think for herself. There's nothing wrong with being a catholic if she so chooses. I was a Catholic up until age 18, and I wish I had it in me to go back. I really liked the sense of tradition and community, and depending on the priest I've heard quite a few downright moving homilies.


That is, as long as she doesn't try to project her religious beliefs into politics.
See: conservative republicans.

I do agree that catholicism has its good parts. Though I was never a catholic myself (grew up as a Jehovah's Witness), I always thought the catholic religion was by far the coolest christian denomination. With its big cathedrals, exciting imagery and great music ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlr90NLDp-0 ), it was just a really exciting religion -- from a cultural point of view.
Hell, my favorite Disney movie -- The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- is largely built around catholic imagery and mythology. And it's freaking awesome.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NP-RsRGzVo

The only problem is when people take it literally and use it to decieve and/or oppress others.
Catholicism is something that works great as a mythology -- especially in movies and art in general -- but as a genuine interpretation of the nature of reality... no.
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Posted 3/12/14

rikuoamerocrunchyroll wrote:

Hi, just a question that's burning in my mind. Should I talk to my younger sister about her faith in Christianity and attempt to move her towards atheism?

A bit of background. We're Irish, and Ireland is predominantly Catholic, but (at least in my local area) I wouldn't exactly label us as devout. The locals here will go to church on special occasions (Communion, Confirmation, wedding, funeral etc), with only the older generations typically going to the weekly mass. If anything, I would label the locals as being cultural Christians, rather than devout believers like I've heard evangelicals in the US to be.
I grew up a believer, but it was in my teenage years that I began to question Christianity. I eventually made a complete break with the religion when I was about 16 or 17, after completing a read-through of the bible and deciding to myself that the morals it preaches are not morals I agree with.
I bring up the question because I was just in a conversation with my 14 year old kid sister, who mentioned giving up chocolate and sweets for Lent (for those who might not know, Lent at least here in Ireland is a practice where in the run up to Easter, you typically give up something you treasure. For kids, it's typical to give up sweets). I was wondering whether I should talk to her about (what I admit is my opinion but one which I hold to be true) the falsity of the bible and thus not having to partake in these practices that ultimately don't accomplish anything.
As far as I know, the kid sister has never really questioned the truth or falsehood of Christianity, she just seems to accept it to be true and has never put much if any thought into whether it actually is. She doesn't worry about the moral teachings of the religion, whether what she does in her day to day life matches the teachings. Basically, she's your average teeny-bopper.

What's your opinion guys?


I thought Lent just meant spring, and has its roots in paganism. And as far as I know, Lent was never mentioned by Jesus or the Bible.

What you can do is inform her about other beliefs and religions, but I wouldn't tell her immediately that Christianity is wrong. I guess the Belief itself is not a bad one, but the Church and the Vatican, and the Bible are not really Christian in their behaviour or description.
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23 / F / Winding Circle
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Posted 3/12/14
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09152a.htm
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Posted 3/12/14
Parents can indoctrinate their children, you can talk to them about it if you want but just know if you expect them to be atheist at the end of your discussion with them, it's the same as indoctrination.
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Posted 3/12/14

nerder wrote:

Just let her make her own choices in life. When she's a little older she will be wise enough to decide if she places value on religion or not.


Quoted for Truth.
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Posted 3/12/14
Another atheist might say, don't let others push religion on your daughter.
A Christian might say, don't push your atheism on your daughter.

But it doesn't really work that way, it's not 2 sides of the same coin she's choosing. The choice is what coin pick up. if any.
Atheism is the lack of beliefs in any dieties. Each religion is belief in one of the many dieties out there. You can't expose someone to atheism when they already lack a belief in God (as in from the time you are born until the time you can comprehend exposure to it from others).
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Posted 3/13/14
i became an atheist when i was around 14. i realized i was gay at that age, and was doing my confirmation at the same time. we were reading the bible one day, and it had a quote telling you to kill gay people. of course this raised a red flag in my mind, so i just decided that that particular message was wrong and that i didn't agree. the bible was (supposedly) infallible, but obviously it wasn't. once i noticed that initial flaw, and accepted that the bible was wrong, the whole notion of infallibility just fell apart. i started to question more and more, and amidst the confusion i realized: "this is all BS".

i'm going to be honest with you. i don't believe in god, and i think the idea of a god is beyond unrealistic. that being said, i don't support trying to "convert" your sister into atheism. of course you can have a conversation with her on WHY you identify as an atheist, but don't try to force her into feeling the same way. leave that decision up to her once she has heard both sides of the argument.
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Posted 3/17/14

rikuoamerocrunchyroll wrote:Hi, just a question that's burning in my mind. Should I talk to my younger sister about her faith in Christianity and attempt to move her towards atheism?
What's your opinion guys?
I'm surprised at the number of people saying, "No, you shouldn't."

The atheists proposition is the following (most of the time): It may not be said that there is no god, it may, however, be said that there's no good reason to believe that there is one.

Generally, it should be taught to children that you shouldn't believe something if there's no evidence for it.

Beliefs aren't sacrosanct, and those claiming that "It doesn't matter what she believes... Let her decide" are ignoring the fact that one side offers health skepticism, while the other is bronze aged era superstitious nonsense that may have persuaded illiterate peasants in the greater jerusalem area, but really should carry no weight today.
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25 / M / United States
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Posted 3/19/14 , edited 3/19/14
I feel like whatever we say won't make any difference. I also feel like like my point-of-view has no place here, but I'll try to convey it as simple as I can.

I can't say I wasn't "seduced" by atheism, because I was. I started questioning my believes and I thought that biased, adults in the internet had the answer -- kind of ironic in my opinion. In the end, I figured I should think for myself, and not let anyone try to inject their opinions in me.

You shouldn't try to convert" your sister into atheism, I know that when you think you're the only one "sane enough" to see the truth, you feel alone, and you want to "share the truth" with as much people as possible. But, don't bother. Either way you're not alone, atheist nor christians. Your sister will choose what she wants to believe in, all in her time. If she ask for your opinion on religion, or God, then talk about your views. Otherwise, I think you should let her on her own for now.
Warruz 
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Posted 3/19/14 , edited 3/19/14
I became an athiest in my early teens and was raised Catholic .

From my point of view , since religion is such a varied thing and the nature of how children process knowledge, I truely dont think we should push it on our children. It should be something that we find ourselves (or don't) and even then there is still the choice of what exactly you believe in.

to OP
You dont want to become one of those people who pushes their belief on others, at most you should just expose them to all other options and allow them to make their own decisions.

I'm surprised at the number of people saying, "No, you shouldn't."

The atheists proposition is the following (most of the time): It may not be said that there is no god, it may, however, be said that there's no good reason to believe that there is one.

Generally, it should be taught to children that you shouldn't believe something if there's no evidence for it.

Beliefs aren't sacrosanct, and those claiming that "It doesn't matter what she believes... Let her decide" are ignoring the fact that one side offers health skepticism, while the other is bronze aged era superstitious nonsense that may have persuaded illiterate peasants in the greater jerusalem area, but really should carry no weight today.


One side is making a claim, healthy skepticism would land you in the Agnostic territory because if we are to truely look at this factually you land in the cant prove or disprove territory. The saying "Innocent until proven Guilty" comes to mind, until you remove all doubt then you truely cant say if it is the case.

Athiesim is still a belief , a belief that is backed by logic and fact, but not enough to disprove all others.

Also it's interesting that you ignore the idea that religion can be a good thing, one only has to look towards history to see that religeon can in fact be a good thing(also bad, but thats with everything in life).
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