Nog op zoek naar een godsdienst? Wat dacht je van atheïsme?... Tenslotte is het ook een -isme en zelfs indien je in geen enkele godheid gelooft, is dat een geloof op zichzelf; een geloof, waarin dus elke godheid ontbreekt, net als in het taoïsme, bijvoorbeeld.
Maar opgepast van zodra je ermee naar buiten komt, want die liefhebbende religieuze mensen van daarbuiten zullen jou met haar en huid verslinden en jou naar hun hel verwensen. Jouw voordeel is natuurlijk, dat men jou niet naar een plaats kan sturen die niet bestaat, behalve in hun verbeeldinsgwereld.
Neem het verhaal van, bijvoorbeeld, Deborah Mitchell. Ze maakte een blog aan, getiteld: 'Waarom ik mijn kinderen zonder God opvoed'. Hierna volgt een verslag in de originele taal, beginnende met de exacte tekst van haar blog...
Why I Raise My Children Without God
When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.
For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories, that I didn’t believe, about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.
One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale - not unlike the one we tell children about Santa - to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.
And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.
Here are a few of the reasons why I am raising my children without God.
God is a bad parent and role model.
If God is our father, then he is not a good parent. Good parents don’t allow their children to inflict harm on others. Good people don’t stand by and watch horrible acts committed against innocent men, women and children. They don’t condone violence and abuse. “He has given us free will,” you say? Our children have free will, but we still step in and guide them.
God is not logical.
How many times have you heard, “Why did God allow this to happen?” And this: “It’s not for us to understand.” Translate: We don’t understand, so we will not think about it or deal with the issue. Take for example the senseless tragedy in Newtown. Rather than address the problem of guns in America, we defer responsibility to God. He had a reason. He wanted more angels. Only he knows why. We write poems saying that we told God to leave our schools. Now he’s making us pay the price. If there is a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves his children, does it make sense that he would allow murders, child abuse, wars, brutal beatings, torture and millions of heinous acts to be committed throughout the history of mankind? Doesn’t this go against everything Christ taught us in the New Testament?
The question we should be asking is this: “Why did we allow this to happen?” How can we fix this? No imaginary person is going to give us the answers or tell us why. Only we have the ability to be logical and to problem solve, and we should not abdicate these responsibilities to “God” just because a topic is tough or uncomfortable to address.
God is not fair.
If God is fair, then why does he answer the silly prayers of some while allowing other, serious requests, to go unanswered? I have known people who pray that they can find money to buy new furniture. (Answered.) I have known people who pray to God to help them win a soccer match. (Answered.) Why are the prayers of parents with dying children not answered?
If God is fair, then why are some babies born with heart defects, autism, missing limbs or conjoined to another baby? Clearly, all men are not created equally. Why is a good man beaten senseless on the street while an evil man finds great wealth taking advantage of others? This is not fair. A game maker who allows luck to rule mankind’s existence has not created a fair game.
God does not protect the innocent.
He does not keep our children safe. As a society, we stand up and speak for those who cannot. We protect our little ones as much as possible. When a child is kidnapped, we work together to find the child. We do not tolerate abuse and neglect. Why can’t God, with all his powers of omnipotence, protect the innocent?
God is not present.
He is not here. Telling our children to love a person they cannot see, smell, touch or hear does not make sense. It means that we teach children to love an image, an image that lives only in their imaginations. What we teach them, in effect, is to love an idea that we have created, one that is based in our fears and our hopes.
God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good.
A child should make moral choices for the right reasons. Telling him that he must behave because God is watching means that his morality will be externally focused rather than internally structured. It’s like telling a child to behave or Santa won’t bring presents. When we take God out of the picture, we place responsibility of doing the right thing onto the shoulders of our children. No, they won’t go to heaven or rule their own planets when they die, but they can sleep better at night. They will make their family proud. They will feel better about who they are. They will be decent people.
God Teaches Narcissism.
“God has a plan for you.” Telling kids there is a big guy in the sky who has a special path for them makes children narcissistic; it makes them think the world is at their disposal and that, no matter what happens, it doesn’t really matter because God is in control. That gives kids a sense of false security and creates selfishness. “No matter what I do, God loves me and forgives me. He knows my purpose. I am special.” The irony is that, while we tell this story to our kids, other children are abused and murdered, starved and neglected. All part of God’s plan, right?
When we raise kids without God, we tell them the truth - we are no more special than the next creature. We are just a very, very small part of a big, big machine - whether that machine is nature or society – the influence we have is minuscule. The realization of our insignificance gives us a true sense of humbleness.
I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we - along with the children we love so much - will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.
I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home, or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair - not on what they believe an imaginary God wants."
- What do you think of this story? -
A Misunderstanding - by Deborah Mitchell
Deborah Mitchell : "I was finally able to read a few comments on the CNN site, and what struck me most was the anger and meanness of people. They didn’t just attack me; they attacked each other, strangers debating over what amounts to nothing more than opinion and preference.
The article I wrote did not mention, not once, a specific religion. Many people assumed that I was attacking Christianity. I was not. For those who felt threatened and became defensive, let me just tell you this: You missed the entire point of the essay.
I want you to keep your religion, but I want you to respect my lack of it. And not just mine, but my children’s, if that’s what they decide, and anyone else who’s been marginalized for their nonbelief. I’m not sure why this is a hard concept to understand. Think of it this way: You have your bedroom, and I have mine, and we share a mutual bathroom and kitchen. Do I find it offensive that you wear a cross into our mutual space? Of course not. That is important to you. Would I find it awkward if you dominated our shared space with quotes from the Bible and pictures of Jesus? Yes. You’re telling me through your actions that your belief system is more legitimate than mine. I would not hang signs that said, “Atheism Rocks!” or “If you don’t like my views, you can go to hell.” I know enough to respect your right to believe. That is the message we have all learned growing up. Yet because some of the folks who believe in god have been a loud and vocal majority in this country, we seem to forget - or ignore perhaps – that not everyone believes.
I also want to say that the piece I wrote was not intended to be a thesis against the existence of God. I’ll be the first to tell you that what I wrote was a very simple explanation - to reach a larger audience - of why I don’t tell my kids to believe in God. Does that make me a bad parent? If you are Christian, you are instructed by your god not to judge. But I would also suggest that a mere few paragraphs of text is not enough to judge me as a parent anyway.
Can I prove that God doesn’t exist? Again, I’ll be the first to tell you: absolutely, positively not. I don’t think there is anything that I can prove without a doubt doesn’t exist. Did you know that there is a little man who lives on the moon? It’s not true, you say? Try to disprove it. He could be hiding in a crater - but you’ll need a microscope to find him. Oh, and he’s very, very fast, so fast that humans can’t even see him.
One commenter suggested that only through faith in god can we teach our children that “every human life is sacred". To this I would say, why are believers the only ones capable of teaching this basic human value? Give me one good reason when we all are made of the same “star stuff", when we all eat, breathe and lay our heads down for sleep at night.
Believers have their reasons for raising children with God. Most likely, we already know them. After all, they’ve been the majority, and we’ve been the minority. Most of us nonbelievers have already been in your shoes, and we’re not wearing those any more. We understand that religion also has value.
When I wrote the essay, I meant only to explain, not to offend; I think, perhaps, we take offense too easily."