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Atheist Community of Austin
Re: Atheist Community for Children

Hi Folks,

I have two small children, 2 and 4 years old. Our family is atheist, and our kids are nearing the age where they will begin to feel drawn to the sense of belonging that religious institutions offer - to feel like part of a tribe.

The nature of Atheism is first of all, more intellectual and cerebral than emotional. And it is lacks the community and ritual that conventional religious institutions fulfill, and which most people (especially children) seem to crave. This seems to be a genuine demand which conventional religions supply.

I have looked at this group's website, and it looks like most gatherings are lectures (which cater to the intellect) and gatherings at bars or restaurants, neither of which suit the needs of children who crave to belong to a community of like-minded and purposeful people.

So........does anyone here have any suggestions or insights about how to bring atheist children into a broader community.

I really appreciate your ideas.

Thanks.

I had a friend with kids who used to attend a Unitarian Church. They gave lectures about all sorts of religions, including Humanism. The few people I know who've heard Unitarian "sermons" agree they're not actually very religious in a proselytizing way. They're more an examination of different beliefs.

If that's not your thing, I'd recommend signing them up with a sports league or something of that nature; some sort of kids' group activity?

I don't have kids, so you might get a better answer from an atheist parent--but that's what I thought of right off the bat...?

Hi Folks I have a nine month old baby and we are christians! Do any of you want me to prove the evolution and big bang theroy wrong?? contact me at teresasturgill@yahoo.com THERE IS A GOD!!!!!!!

Actually, since evolution and big bang do not conflict with the existence of all possible gods, they're not relevant to belief in god as a general item. Many Xians accept evolution and big bang--and still believe in god. And it's not impossible for an atheist to reject big bang or evolution and continue to also reject the existence of god.

Rather than disproving scientific theories, it might be best if you prove your god exists, that would be more relevant to the discussion at an atheist site--as it actually involves god. Atheists are not compelled to take a position on big bang or evolution--but must at the very least express disbelief in god. Can you prove your god exists on the level that anyone else can prove something exsits--such as, let's say something very insignificant, a blood cell? Certainly something as grand as the Xian god is more manifest than a blood cell. So, this should be a simple and quick task.

A blood cell can be shown to exist objectively in an independently verifiable fashion that does not require personal, subjective interpretation. Likewise, it can be reliably, repeatably shown to exist using various methods of independent verification.

Please demonstrate as much for your god. And let me know if any of that request was unclear or if you need further explanation or examples.

Thanks.

Do you all believe in the Devil?

I think you'd be hard pressed to find an atheist who believes in the devil. But strictly speaking, and atheist could believe in the devil, and still reject belief in god. (Although I've never seen this happen, it's definitionally possible.) However, I personally do not believe in the Devil, nor do any atheists I know.

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal, non-doctrinal RELIGION, which affirms the individual's freedom of belief. They sometimes refer to themselves as a church without walls. Why would any atheist need anyone to tell them you have the right to believe in facts not fantasy? There are now many organizations using the church façade. THESE GROUPS ARE BIG IN TEXAS!!! I went to one, "The Church of Freethinkers." I asked why they needed to call themselves a "church" and they told me it was for protection. (FROM WHAT?) The one I went to was the biggest laugh I ever had in my life. They had a fat pastor (to keep their freethinking in check.) The pastor asked his understudy to give a very rigid dissertation that nobody could disagree with. However, I did!!! He didn't have his facts right and I told him that! They really did need someone to tell them what to think!

Also, I don't know any intellectuals who believe in the devil, go to church, or have that much interest in sports! Why not get involved with philosophy, the arts, or go to a planetarium.

Those who live in never-never-land do not fit in with people based in reality. I don't want to fit in with them. I don't believe the Bible is the inerrant word of anybody. A committee of men created the Bible. (Read your history) It is a book with many flaws (the bible is fake.) A God, who was supreme, or ominous, would have had nothing to do with the Bible. And I can prove that because I have thoroughly studied the subject.

It is not so much the idea that someone is convinced that they know that scientists are wrong, but to try and force an ignorant belief on the public instead of education. No scientist would believe the creation story of the Bible, and no fool would. Scientists can prove it is not possible to have happened that way, and most Christians do deny the reality of that. It is the lack of interest in anything based in reality, which is appalling. Of course nobody can prove there is NO DEVIL!!!! But, I have never known any atheist who believed in the Devil. Atheism- (disbelief in the existence of God or any other deity.) That includes the Tooth fairy, St. Nick, Peter Rabbit, or Tinker Bell, etc.

One needs to prove that they understand the "Big Bang Theory" if they don't believe it. Give us the details of the theory and point out the mistakes. Christians who can't defend their obvious indefensible claims criticize those who can defend what they believe. That is why they attack the atheist, and imply it is immoral not believe in fairytales (Kill the messenger!!)

It's alarming if you know that people who can barely read, and are the majority make these assertions. Their arguments are flimsy and absurd, but made with confidence. The scariest thing is not just the stupidity of their claim that their belief is valid, but then they have no knowledge of the scientific theories that they refute.

We have some members with kids and I'd really like to see the group continue to grow and support more family-oriented activities. But there's a bit of a catch-22; with few families, there's little incentive to create family-oriented activites...which means we don't draw families.

I will, however, offer my support to any member who wants to start organizing more family-centered activities and events.

Also, the Bat Cruise is a fun evening that is pretty kid-friendly.

Thanks Tracie and Matt,

It is definately a dilemma. I suspect that a lot of atheist people return to their childhood religios institutions once they start having families. Why? Why exchew one's deeply held philosophical beliefs and return to the religion of your childhood? Because they offer good products and valuable services. This is a catch-22, Matt. I completely agree.

But, as anyone raising a family will attest, there is a tendency to gravitate towards simplicity (i.e. restarurants that are kid-friendly, stores that are easy to get into and out of, and... churches that have daycare, summer camp, pre-school, and offer kids a sense of belonging.) The atheist path, it seems, is less inherited and more discovered on an individual-by-individual basis. But, this is frustrating as an advocate for the atheist view because as long as it remains this way, it will forever remain a marginalized minority. It seems to be an interesting crossroads for atheism as a social movement.

This might be something to think about for when your kids are older: http://www.camp-quest.org/ It's an alternative to the basic Christian summer camp.

Yeah,

I hear dabout Camp Quest in the VERY GOOD book, "Parenting beyond Belief."

Thanks for the tip.

I've often thought it was awful the way all of the "clean cut" activities in a community are dominated by Christians. Atheists definitely should support starting small, local groups like this for families, so that "believers" don't have a franchise on sports or other activities.

I agree with you Emily. Christians dominate many of the activities of a community. In many instances they sponsor them. They know if your not one. They feel it's their God given right, and duty to convert you! If you are not convertible they become very frustrated; you might spread like a disease. The activity is usually purged of anyone who is not a "believer." I went to a Green Party meeting where they sat in a circle and kept mentioning a spiritual speaker that was giving a talk somewhere else that day that we all should attend. The woman beside me told me that they use to have some socialist but they ran them off. It's O.K. to be Green as long as you're not Red and Green!

I believe Dawson's The God Delusion brought up the fact that a baby does not have a religion. There are effectivly no Christian babies, no Jewish babies, no Hindu babies, no Muslim babies, etc. Religion is something that has to be taught. I don't know much about childcare, but I believe if you honestly love your kids and show them that love everyday they will develope a sense of belonging that they won't find anywhere else.

I said Dawson when I should have said Dawkins. (Shuffles off feeling very embarrassed)

Cygna, if "proud christian" were to take your advice to consult a dictionary, then wouldn't she find the spellings "effectively" and "develop". :-D

(Puts a bag over her head and goes to consult a dictionary. Becomes more embarrassed when she realizes she can't read with a bag over her head.)

dharmadave- as an atheist who raised two children I know you are going to face this issue of church and children over and over again. Your kids will eventually have friends who attend Sunday school. And when kids sleepover at each others houses they become part of that family's routine life.

Your family needs to establish its own Sunday ritual. It can be as simple as everyone helping to make a big Sunday breakfast and then going for a bike ride together. It doesn't really matter what activities you choose, just as long as everyone is involved and everyone knows "this is what we do on Sunday". Kids crave that sense of continuity. And when their religious friends ask what they do on Sunday mornings, they will have an answer they can be proud of.

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