Saturday, June 02, 2007

What should you do if your child “catches” religion virus at school or university?

Article in BHA site.

I did not fear my daughter 'catching' religion because had she done so it would have been her choice, and despite what I believe, it was not my right to prevent her from being exposed to the thoughts and beliefs of others. Similarly we never withdrew our children from assemblies.”

"These things happen. All we can do is to introduce the skills our children need to differentiate in their own heads between the rational and irrational, good and evil and the skill to debate these with others. If despite this, they feel the need to adopt a belief, then they have the tools to review it at any stage.”

"I would not worry if a child catches religion: I don't consider religious beliefs to be an incurable virus. There were months I felt my kids enjoyed the idea that their faith distanced themselves from me (as their still new stepfather – now they have other ways of rebellion). In fact it didn't , so they gave up that one.”

”My five-year-old son came home asking me about God. I told him I didn’t personally believe in one but this is something everyone must think about and decide for themselves. He thought about it for ten seconds and announced that he believed in one. For the next three weeks or so he repeatedly asked “Why did God do that?” (pointing, for example, to a squashed hedgehog at the side of the road) and I repeatedly answered that as I didn’t believe in one, I wasn’t the person to ask. I then gave him a more rational explanation for whatever it was and he finally renounced his religious faith.”

"I ’ve no real experience of this as neither of my children ever did 'catch religion', despite going to a church school. One went through an "astrological" phase, which I found very annoying and irrational, and did argue with, and she grew out of it. If either of them found religion supportive and life-enhancing I would tolerate it (as I do with my religious friends), and perhaps even welcome it if it made them happy – but it hasn’t happened.”

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