Awkward Conversations About Religion

I was going to put this in the “Conversations with Spouses” thread, but since it (a) references politics, (b) references religion, and © is technically about my kid, I thought it probably belonged in P&R.

I haven’t done a great job educating my kids on Bible stories… not even the more important ones. In my defense, I’m an atheist and my kids seem to have settled on unbelief as well… though my eldest has started to edge into “Earth Mother Nature Spirit of Us All” kind of territory.

Anyway, my youngest daughter (15) asked about the Easter story last night at the dinner table. She was basically asking for clarification. “Easter is when Jesus came back from the dead right? He died, then he came back on Easter and then he died again, right?”

I tried to clear it up for her, explaining about Good Friday, the three days in the tomb, the Resurrection, and finally the Ascension.

She was appropriately incredulous about this, and asked how long zombie-Jesus was supposed to have stuck around.

“A few weeks,” I answered.

“And who saw him, after he came back from the dead? Did the Romans keep any records of this?”

“No,” I said, “it was mostly his followers that provided eyewitness accounts.”

Again, she was appropriately dubious.

“Really? Just his friends?”

This kind of put me in the weird place of defending the origin story of a religion that I no longer subscribed to. I didn’t want to imply to her that there was much merit to the tale, but at the same time I didn’t want to disparage (too much) the core beliefs that her grandparents were still very much invested in.

“Well,” I answered, “the Bible does say that more people than just the Apostles saw Jesus after he came back.”

“Does it say who? Like, anyone who wasn’t invested in the story?”

“No, it just says that ‘many’ people saw him. No names outside his inner circle, just ‘many people’.”

She raised her eyebrow at this. “That sounds like a Donald Trump tweet.”

I have NEVER been more proud of my kid.

Nice job, Daughter of Wisdom.

Yeah, I don’t plan on talking about Christianity (or any other religion) as anything more than a social organization to my kids. Which will no doubt be interesting as their extremely religious grandmother keeps pushing Jesus on them at every opportunity. There’s probably a confrontation somewhere in the future, which I am not so much looking forward to.

shuffles uncomfortably

Add to that mix grandparents who want their grandkids to go to private Christian schools…

I hope you remembered to include all the other people that came back from the dead!

52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 

Matthew is the most fun story.

The Discourse mute button is proof that God exists.

My gf was raised by heathens. By which I mean her dad was a typical psuedo-intellectual Gen-Xer who looked down on faith, and her mom was raised by her mom to believe that their family line had been cursed by Satan to live as true witches for all eternity and die tragic early deaths.

Anyway, long story short, she didn’t grow up knowing jack shit about Jesus from her family, and just sorta had to osmosis up some God from living in the deep south. Obviously, that process left some important things a little vague.

So around 3rd grade, her class has to make religious themed Xmas cards on the last day of school before break (because of course that’s appropriate at a public school), and she spends the next couple of hours laboriously illustrating the story of the three . . . white men. Her classmates were a mix of horrified and amused. She was very glad for the following vacation weeks to avoid their mockery.

There are very few stories about kids and religion that make me as happy as that one. Your story, however, @Tin_Wisdom, is right up there :-D

Failing Judean Times doesn’t tell you about about my glorious resurrection, prefers to believe Doubting Thomas. Sad!

Like the bits about gluttony, loving thy neighbor as thyself, and the fact that the only group Jesus got his righteous anger on was the self satisfied religious class, who used religion to oppress others.


Doesn’t Paul count? The main part of his origin story is that he was anti-Jesus before he saw risen/zombie Jesus.


Hang on, your girlfriend’s dad is Gen X? Jesus, way to make me feel old, AP.

Anyway I’ll piggyback off my post from the other thread since it was about my kids as much as about my wife. Like I said, I already agreed to raise my kids in the Catholic faith, or more to the point not be an obstacle to my wife doing so. And I don’t have a problem with that - kids need a moral foundation to their upbringing, Christianity/Catholicism is as good as any.

Of course I will not abide dogmatic acceptance of any bill of goods; no kid of mine is going to uncritically accept what, in the wrong hands, can become a toxic justification of damn near anything. And that’s a statement of fact, not an ultimatum. At 5 and 2.5 my kids are already quite accomplished at questioning authority.

But things come up, like the recent death of my grandfather. And death is hard to talk about between adults; throw in a couple of curious kids who have to accept that a loved one just won’t be there anymore and you have a crisis to deal with. Naturally my wife told them grandpa was in heaven. I accept that, I mean what am I going to say? The man you knew as grandpa grandpa has ceased to exist, but hey we’love always have our memories! A bit bleak for a toddler.

So for the most part I take the back seat on these discussions and try to make sure that my kids get as much “truth”, if you want to call it that, that they can handle. Guess we’all see where that takes us.

Her folks had her pretty young, in fairness. I think her mom was about 20; dad woulda been about the same. But yeah, in the end, she was an '87 baby, so apologies for the unintentional reminder of mortality’s cruel grasp about us all :(

I suspect kids can handle a great deal more than we give them credit for. But I’m also the sort of asshole who doesn’t use baby talk with babies, and my linguist girlfriend informs me that this can actually impede their development, so what do I know??

No, I don’t do the baby talk thing either but that’s mostly because it makes me feel stupid. I do talk like Donald Duck to my daughter because she laughs so hard at it.

I think you’re right about kids’ resiliency. I think back to when I was younger, I was my son’s age when my parents divorced. Then my dad died a while after that. My wife, who had a tight nuclear family says she marvels at what I went through, and then I think, well that was just my life you know? I didn’t know any different and I came out ok. Well, more or less.

Anyway yeah, I probably can be a bit overprotective at times, that’s a hard line to walk. I know that pain, loss and defeat can be valuable teachers. I also know that none of those are any fun to experience. As with every other aspect of my life, I’m winging it.

Nah, I get it man, and please don’t take that as me telling you how to raise your kids at all. Frankly, I suspect, as the thread-starter story illustrates, that the average Qt3’ers kid is gonna come out a world better than the average :)

Nah, Saul/Paul was converted some time after the Ascension, so the Big J had already flown off into the sky. Most accounts translate his experience as “a vision” of Jesus. The Biblical account (the one in Acts) doesn’t even technically have him seeing Jesus – it’s a booming voice from on-high and a bright light that left him sightless for three days.

It’s always fun having religious revelations (pun not intended,) with your SO for the first time. Ours was playing some trivia game, though I don’t recall which one. Religion came up as a category. My girlfriend was raised in Arizona as a Catholic. I was raised as a church loving Methodist/Baptist/Lutheran/Episcopal/Moravian confused mess. Neither I nor my SO attend church regularly now, I truly only go when I’m home and my mother requests everyone there during holidays.

At any rate, we’re playing this trivia game and the Religion category comes up and I proceed, according to my girlfriend’s side of the story, to go all crazed savant on her and start belting out the answers to every question with zero thought time.

This led to the discussion along the lines of, “what the fuck??” What she didn’t know is that I learned to read by my mom having me read the bible to her, a little each day, not once but twice. That was followed by bible study prior to church, then eventual at church bible study, then eventual youth group bible study, etc, etc, etc. Aka, a semi-typical Southern church upbringing. I think anyway. This blew her away for some reason, that my now convoluted beliefs apparently sprung from some sort of crazy over-the-top religious upbringing.

I had never looked at it that way, mostly because as a kid, it’s what some of my other friends did as well. I would imagine if I had kids, that would be tough for me to explain things without them wondering what the fuck happened to me along the way.

Topic hits home, putting my 3 year old in Catholic school on request of my wife, though I’m an atheist and she’s non religious. If I feel daughter is getting bad advice (pretty much anything to do with “sin”), we agreed to pull her out. Catholic school in my area has done better on academics, rankings etc.

I’ve already started the process of explaining to my 3 year old that she’s smarter than a lot of adults, adults can believe strange things that aren’t true, and whenever she points out something I didn’t know I make a deal of it… “Really there are 8 goldfish? Wow! Only you knew that, daddy didn’t know but you found out for yourself! I though there were 5 but you counted 8! Good job!”

All that said she can totally find her own path, I have a spiritual bent towards nature and the universe just that it’s unguided and personally driven by our own minds yadda yadda.

For a little while anyway, I can skirt the morbidness of death with my four year old daughter. One day, coming across a statue in the town square…

"Nice statue, ey, June?
“why daddy? why?”
“why what?”
“why is there a statue?”
“uh… someone thought it would be nice to have a statue there I guess?”
“why is it a lady?”
“uh… a lot of statues are to remember someone who was once… uh… in real llfe. Maybe it was a lady the sculptor knew? I dunno.”

…and then, suddenly one day,
“when I die, I’ll become a statue! When mom dies, she’ll be a statue! Like gramma and grandad, too!”
and I’m like, that’s better than anything I could have come up with…
“uh… sure!”

crisis averted.

*I have to say, come to think of it, there may be a bit of ‘Frozen’ logic in her reasoning too…

What I find hilarious about this is that you and I have kids of relatively the same spread, mine just a hair younger than yours. Yet I’m only a few years older than Armando (my wife is the same age as him).

As for

I can sympathize greatly. sigh ok, real talk.

I grew up in an extremely religious family, southern Baptist to be precise, and of a fundamentalist stripe. I won’t talk about that other than to say: fuck that noise. At some point my family left that for other, less judgemental, pastures.

Now I’ve been involved in many layers for many years. I’ve spent time as a Sunday School teacher even. My wife comes from a no less devout, but less fundamentalist, background. When we got married even, I was presently serving as said Sunday School teacher at my old church.


The last few years, in particular, have been, shall we say, not favorable to my view of American Christianity. To the point that I have no personal investment in the church as a concept. Not necessarily atheist or agnostic, though perhaps only so out of avoidance of the familial fallout. Basically whatever merit, whatever virtue, can be found in the Bible, it is only loosely found in modern Christianity, often more represenative of the opposite.

Basically the fact that Evangelicals could justify voting Donald Trump, and do so using religious arguments basically renders them as a net negative force in society. The willingness to shuck off the advancements of the enlightenment and reformation in favor of establishing a (White) American Theocracy, well, it makes me willing to burn the whole edifice down. If you’re willing to do that, you show the whole project to be vacuous and of no value, and I’d rather see your entire sect go extinct.

So you can see how this gets awkward, and that taking a lassaiz faire approach, and generally not interfering in religious upbringing will, eventually, come to a head. Basically I’m struggling myself with how I want to approach this as several things in the last few years have pushed me further and further from faith. But at some point it must be addressed. I just don’t know how it will all work out.

My wife (a victim, as she puts it, of eleven years of Catholic school, or being raised by wolves) has this joke I love.

A group of people are being interviewed in order to see if they have enough mental capacity to be let out of the home to fend for themselves. Being a religious institution, the facility devises a religion-focused test. The question is, “What is Easter?”

The first candidate enters the room and sits down. The doctor asks, “What is Easter?” The person replies, “Oh, that’s the day when kids all dress up and ask for candy!” The doctor shakes her head, and thanks the candidate as she dismisses him.

The second candidate enters the room, sits down, and is given the same question. “Oh, that’s when we celebrate the birth of Jesus!” The doctor, thinking that’s at least a bit better, still shakes her head and sends the candidate on her way.

The final candidate enters the room, sits down, and hears the question.“Ooh, ooh, I know that one! Easter is the day we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!” The doctor beams a huge smile, and encourages the candidate to continue. “What else is there to the story of Easter?,” she asks? The candidate smiles and says, “Oh, that’s easy! Jesus was crucified by the Romans, died on the cross, and on the third day after he was buried he rose from the dead!” The doctor is really smiling now, but before she can say anything else, the candidate continues.

“And on Easter we celebrate because when Jesus comes out of his tomb, if he sees his shadow we get six more weeks of winter!”