Are children better off believing in some form of faith?

by FreedomFrog 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • FreedomFrog

    As you know, my husband Dave (aka AlmostAtheist) IS Atheist. And I'm not. My son came up to me last night and declared that he "doesn't" believe in any kind of Higher Power. Being Eclectic Pagan...this bothered me because I know for me, if I didn't have any kind of "faith", I'd be crushed. The living situation isn't great. We're in a suburban setting, when we would rather be in the country and can't sell our home because around here they are still building and others would rather a new home than an existing one. In debt up to our eyeballs. Our family and friends are not here for us anymore. No money to actually LIVE life and enjoy it, if this IS it. Life just sucks. But when I can go "pray" and do my little rituals. I get a sense of peace inside. I have a bit of hope to carry me on. If I didn't have any kind of faith, I'd go into a very deep depressed state. I NEED faith. My husband isn't like that, he's "comfortable" living this "hellish" life and happy that this is all we get. But his personality will allow for this. I tease (AA) sometimes that he's a "walking computer" because he's a very logical person. So logical that it overrides his emotional side. I'm cool with him being on his path of Atheism and I think it's interesting. But I do want my kids to have faith in something. I worry that, they being emotional themselves, grow up depressed if they don't have any kind of faith to put hope in. Because if they inherited my emotions, then chances are they are not going to feel fulfilled. Or at least I feel they won't be able to because that's how I'd feel if there wasn't anything to believe in.

    My son (at age 7) does come to me sometimes in panic over death. He didn't feel this way when he had some kind of hope. Though, I have to admit, I haven't been assertive in what I believed because I was and still am searching what "feels" right to me. Also, I don't want to "push" my beliefs on Zach. In my view, most of us (not all) need to have that bit of faith. I know I do. And from my son becoming in an almost a panic state, seems he does to. So in that...I feel children are better off believing in some kind of faith. What are your views?

  • nicolaou

    I've posted enough on this forum for my opinion to be clear, but this is where discussion and debate crumble in the face of reality. We all love our children and struggle to do what's right for them. I've no doubt you and Dave will find a workable solution together.


  • Wolfgirl

    He is still in his formative years, and won't really have a clue what he believes for a while now, in my opinion. I don't have kids of my own (stepkids who live with their mum), but I would try to be open about all kinds of beliefs, including atheism, and eventually he will discover what he feels on his own.

    Many adults don't really know for sure what they believe anyway. At least in my experience, our beliefs change over time.

  • AlmostAtheist
    He is still in his formative years, and won't really have a clue what he believes for a while now, in my opinion.

    I look back on the influence my parents' faiths had on me, and I have to think that what we believe will have little impact on what our kids believe. It might be different if both parents had the same faith. But when they don't, the kids not only see both faiths, they also realize that it's possible for intelligent people to disagree about faith. That opens the door for them to examine any faith they want.

    But your original question was "are children better off with faith?", and I'd have to say that I don't think so. Getting used to the world being as it is, believing that there isn't some unseen force which you can only slightly influence that can affect your life, is a good thing, I think. In my opinion. Just my view. Your mileage may vary. Offer void in New York and Wisconsin. Dealer contribution may affect consumer cost. Please drink responsibly.


  • kid-A

    Frog and Dave, are you two having a "cyber-argument?" LOL....?

    To Frog I would say, I can trace ALL of my childhood phobias, fears, nightmares etc to a "belief" in the supernatural (god , angels, devils, demons, what have you) that my

    parents and their blessed "religion" implanted in my mind. I didnt really have any peace of mind until I finally left all that bogeyman nonsense behind me and abandoned all

    belief in the supernatural. I never adopted the term "atheist" because I think it implies a "negation" of something, when of course you cant "negate" something that did not exist

    in the first place (i.e. subtract zero from zero). But I digress. I think children are sophisticated enough to draw their own conclusions about the reality of existence and I propose

    that children being taught to accept as reality things for which there is not a shred of logical evidence are only being set up for a really big crash when the inevitable reality

    of life touches them. Your son sounds like a very bright, intelligent and logical little boy.

  • trevor


    You don’t have to believe in your son or your husband to know they exist. You have absolute certainty that requires no faith.

    Why invent a male deity and then by a leap of imagination and faith act as if he were real? The next thing is that you need other people, close to you, to believe as well.

    If enough people join you the god becomes more of a reality. Talking to him helps keep him alive - of course he will never reply. Everyone needs some illusions to get through life but the god one just doesn’t work for so many people nowadays.

    If you must inflict such trickery on your son, why not get him to believe in someone nice? Father Christmas will only bother him once a year to bring him presents. He will not judge or threaten him. And he even has a comfortable lap to sit on.

  • IMustBreakAway

    Some people need faith and some do not. Children are just little people and shouldn't be manipulated. Present your arguements and let them decide. As others said they will eventually learn to question and doubt their own beliefes just like the rest of us..

    From the MS with no children... :-)

  • greendawn

    If a parent really believes in the existence of God then I think there is nothing wrong in explaining to the children the reasons they are believers, though specifically at age seven they don't really understand much.

  • FreedomFrog

    Hehehe, trying to start a "debate" here honey? Ok, I can handle this.

    If you don't have "faith" what helps you over come your fears? When I "pray" sometimes that forces me to look at other options. When I believe I have a Higher force out there helping me, I feel more confident...more powerful. Where do you get that "power". That motivation to go on? And no one can disprove a Higher Power. And there are so many "coincidences" of prayers being "answered" that I find it hard to believe that there isn't something more.

    ("arguing" on-line with my baby...this is gonna be interesting...rofl)

  • kid-A

    If you don't have "faith" what helps you over come your fears?

    Most of my fears originated with a belief in a "god" and evaporated along with my belief in said deity.

    When I feel down, nervous, unsure of myself, I talk to a living, breathing human being that loves me, and is actually capable of responding to me and providing me with human warmth and compassion, rather than relying on a hypothetical, socially constructed sky-god. Its about getting in touch with your humanity, and abandoning 'magical thinking' and hocus pocus. The power is inside you, in your mind, in your body. It does not reside in the empty sky.

Share this