Misconceptions About Godless Parenting

Today I wrote about the Misconceptions of Godless Parenting in this iReport. The comments came from actual discussions with believers. I figured you guys are already familiar with these arguments, but if you’d like to take a look or add your voice, please feel free to comment in either place. I had to whittle down the essay by about half. There was a lot to write about, as I’m sure you know.

Hope everyone enjoys Halloween and all the ghosts and goblins, candy and adult brew!


31 responses to “Misconceptions About Godless Parenting

  1. Love the saying/quote. That’s going right next to my other favorite:
    Science has questions that may never be answered.
    Religion has answers that may never be questioned.

  2. Had to comment on #6. Astonishing narrowmindedness.

  3. @PiedType Yes. I like that, too!

    @John Zande #6 came from a person who commented on one of the other iReports. You can’t really make believers understand that we can be happy, have hope and feel that life is meaningful without God and an afterlife. The irony is, they’re in the same boat, they just don’t realize it. Even with their belief, they are still responsible for their own happiness and for defining their own lives—not following the plan of an invisible man.

  4. Great post! As a parent, I always get insight from your posts.

  5. Not really addressed in your article, but I get annoyed when talking about raising my kids without religion with other parents who are religious and they always want to make sure I’m giving my kids the choice to believe in god or not. Yes, I’m not brain-washing my kids, but how many religious parents give their kids the choice? How many of them sit down and explain atheism to them or let them talk to an atheist? They are so certain they are right (while there’s no proof), while we have to be defending ourselves all the time.

  6. Sadly, most of the ‘misconception’ is in your misrepresentation of the Bible and what the Bible teaches.

    I doubt you care enough to learn what the Bible teaches, so I won’t correct you.

    But shouldn’t your children be free to choose without FALSE information? How can your children determine the falsifiability of your indoctrination when you give them false information?


    • Hi Wayne. So, do you always presume to know the education and religious background of every atheist? So what is it about the Bible you think I don’t know?

      • It was not your education I discussed, nor your background – nice use of distraction from the issue.

        You, not I, wrote, “I know what the Bible asserts: there are gates and lights and chanting angels.”

        Your assertion does not do the Biblical story justice. Or do you truly think otherwise?

        Other than your use of distraction, I appreciate your comment.


        • Evangelize? At no time have I brought the Good News (Euangelion from the Greek) into this discussion.


          Maybe we could reset away from assumptions and back to the discussion at hand? Your topic is about raising children without God (Godless parenting).

          I think there is more to the story than what you wrote in your short article on CNN iReport, but I would have no method of determining what is the story behind the story.

          I found your arguments to be interesting, and I believe they are important to you. I am not sure they are as important to me as you might like, but that is often the nature of public discourse.

          Do we agree on that?


  7. To Stephanie – I sit down with rational atheists every time I meet one. I love a stimulating conversation free of prejudice, but the most vocal atheists tend to be dogmatic, and not rational – IMHO.


    • Wayne: if you read what Stephanie wrote, did you understand her point? Do you also let your kids choose for themselves or do you teach them to believe?

    • Seems like you proved my point. You want us to make sure our kids know all about the bible, but atheists are dogmatic? I’m just asking that if religious people want me to expose my kids to religion, their kids should also understand why others don’t believe in god. And I’m not dogmatic. I’m not 100% certain there’s no god, but I don’t think there is and I live my life like there isn’t.

      And just because most people believe in a god (which one should I teach my kids to believe in btw?), doesn’t make it true. Everyone used to believe the earth was flat, for example, doesn’t mean it was true.

      • Stephanie,

        I do not see how I proved your point. But, thank you for replying to my comment.

        Ironically, I just read Steven Jay Gould’s argument that you cannot prove the earth is round …. Old is new, and new is old.

        I did not write that I want your kids to know about the Bible, but I hope what they are exposed to from the Bible is true, and not misdirection.

        Just as I hope people are taught what Darwin really wrote, not the misdirection that is so common today.


        • Wayne, You wrote:

          “How can your children determine the falsifiability of your indoctrination when you give them false information?”

          This is also proof that you have missed our points. If we don’t believe in your god, how is this “indoctrination”? You cannot create two belief systems, “Christianity” and “atheism” out of the Christian theistic belief. We simply reject the outrageous claims that religion makes. Simple as that. There is no “indoctrination.” Think about it.

          Moreover, who determines what is falsifiable or false information? You? Christians cannot even agree with each other on the meaning of the bible.

    • Excuse me, but did a Christian just accuse an atheist of being irrational? Oh, that’s rich.

  8. I have no children, yet. And you thought I assumed much?

    I replied to Stephanie’s main point. I encourage open discourse, the same discourse I practice.

    But, I again point out what should be obvious, and is no longer obvious, Logic dictates we all have an obligation to rational thought. Teaching someone a goblin (a children’s fairy tale character) is the same as ‘God’ is not logically rational.

    Now, I move from Stephanie’s pov, back towards your story.

    God, and the lessor gods, have existed throughout history, goblins have not. God in some form is believed by over 90% of the world, goblins are not believed in by more than 1% of the population.

    Misconstruing the character ‘God’ in the biblical narrative for any other character in any other story is deceptive, but it is a common deception amongst some Atheists.

    Would you agree?


    • Wayne – how thick can you be? Both Stephanie and Deb questioned whether exposing kids to different ideologies is a one-way street.

      The religious are adamant (just as you confirmed) that kids should be given all the info about religions (what they mean is only xianity of course) by their atheist parents but naturally religious parents do not need to expose their kids to other religions nor atheism.

      • I did not confirm that. Though, your data may be true for some, Why do you apply your bias upon all Christians?

        I did confirm that I am very open minded, and I discuss this with many people.

        In the process of discussing with so many people, I have found two types within the clad of Atheists, may I borrow that term?

        One type, is much more tolerant and respectfully listens and learns from others. While the other type claims Christians do not have a right to join the conversation and does not listen to others well.

        But, your mileage may vary.


        • Wayne – I think Saab93f made the statements he did because you are exhibiting the typical behavior of many Christians we’ve encountered.

          I do not find you to be open-minded at all thus far into my dealings with you. And I don’t find your comments enlightening. Again, they are more of the same.

          I’m not inspired to debate you because the arguments you’ve presented are superficial. So you can divide all atheists into two groups, eh? And one listens to you and learns while the others say Christians can’t join in their conversations? Upon what do you base this? Is there a study you can point us to? Sounds like a rather simple observation of people based on your very subjective experience.

          As for your original statement: “Sadly, most of the ‘misconception’ is in your misrepresentation of the Bible and what the Bible teaches.”

          Is that being open-minded? Did you try to understand someone else’s point-of-view? It does not sound like it. Instead, you claim to want a full Biblical description of heaven in order to be “fair” to you and your beliefs. The article was not about you. It was about the assumptions many believers make about nonbelievers.

          You are welcome to comment but please don’t waste our time. Think a little deeper about your intentions and motivations for coming here. The topic of this post is misconceptions. So if you are open-minded and trying to understand others, what have you learned (since you expect atheists to learn from you) by reading the essay or comments?

        • Wayne- You got yourself locked out from commenting, didn’t you? If you try hacking this site again, I’ll block you permanently. Is this what good xtians do?

          • Sorry I continued the debate with Wayne. I should have known he was a troll given how little his comments made sense. I believe in trolls, but not goblins 🙂

  9. Wayne. The god you believe in is not the same god that others have believed in throughout history. Do you believe in all the Greek and Roman gods? Islam’s conception of Allah? Vishnu? Krishna?

    If you don’t have children, why are you contributing to this conversation?

    You’d be hard-pressed to find atheists-though there are some-who say god(s) do/doesn’t exist beyond any doubt. However, this is not the case for Christians. Nearly all are confident without a doubt that god exists. Would you be willing to admit that god might not exist?

  10. LOL. “I believe in trolls, but not goblins.” Me, too!

  11. Wayne. I know myself pretty well. While I have many faults, dishonesty is not one of them. We are our words, so we must strive to always be honest.

    The reason why I thought you were trying to hack the site is because I got several emails with your IP address and this message: “Notification:
    User authentication failed: usernameExplanation: Someone failed to login to your site. If you
    are getting too many of these messages, it is likely your site is under a brute
    force attack. You can disable the notifications for failed logins from
    More details at Password Guessing Brute Force Attacks.”

    I withheld your IP address. You’re welcome.

  12. Not me.

    I do not hack, never have never will.


  13. Loved the article Deb – you hit all the main points very nicely. Although I’ve never liked the term “godless” which has a connotation in our society of being without morals or hope. Godless has for so long been used to describe something that is desolate and hopeless so I prefer to say god-free parenting! My god-free parenting style is filled with joy, life, concern for others and as free from medieval constructs of guilt and sin as I can make it! My kids are often completely baffled by religious constructs – and yes, they have been given a fairly comprehensive education in all the main belief systems.

  14. @Anonymous Great comment. I don’t have those associations of the word “godless,” but I can see how the word would pick up those connotations. I like the term god-free!

  15. It’s a shame I haven’t had the time to get to this post yet. I read the article, and it’s a great read. I’ve seen Christians use all but #4 before (I’m childless and don’t frequent blogs where people talk about kids, except for yours).

    Reading them again, I can’t help but think that if religious people could only view what they say objectively once, that’s all anyone would need to realize that religious views are quite silly when said out loud. How awful is it that people would resort to calling atheism a belief when that assertion can be defeated by a dictionary?

  16. “How will you meet the spiritual needs of your kids?”

    I take that question as an opportunity to talk about how I find meaning (maybe create meaning?) in my life, and how I share it with my kids.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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