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Proud dad

Yesterday my son Ben, age 6, brought me Dan Barker’s “Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong” and told me he had read it. I hadn’t asked him to. He just found it in his bookcase and started reading, and apparently finished the thing on his own.

I was a bit skeptical since I’ve never yet known him to read anything that long, so I asked him some questions about it. He remembered the part where the girl had to decide whether to put her cat to sleep. I asked him why she decided to do it. He thought for a few seconds and said “Because of her principles. But it’s not like the principal in school.”

Then he wanted to read the book to me, and I noticed that he does voices like I do when I read. It’s subtle, but in a cartoon scene where a kid and an adult are talking, the kid definitely has a higher voice.

That book, by the way, is signed by Dan Barker: “For Russell and Ben, Freethinking Friends.”

Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations, if that is the appropriate thing to say. My son turns 2 next month, and I went through a phase a year back where I would think about what books to get him. I wanted books that would help him understand (or help me explain) morality, evolution, etc from a secular standpoint. Since then I’ve learned that that will be a way off, but I am still proud of the things Grayson can do at this age.Anyway, that was a good post. The non-religious family guy is an image that we rarely see in the media or anywhere else, for that matter. It’s nice to hear this sort of thing.

  2. says

    It’s nice to hear that. I have a four year old, it can be difficult to know how to push without shoving. I respect that you seem to have balanced this so well.

  3. says

    Aren´t you afraid your son will groqw up and become like Stalin and other atheist/communists?I pray to GOD for AMERICA. I am happy to live i nreality not denying our Lord. It is sad that you have so much anger towards him.

  4. Tor Erling H. Opsahl says

    Congrats kazim, good to hear that some part of the new americans at least will learn to think sceptical and not just blindly accept everything that gets shoved down their throat :)And that simon guy, I feel sorry for him, that he doesn’t see who is filled with hate and arrogance. Well if you can’t understand you’ll just end up hating people blindly..

  5. says

    Play never mind then, damnit, I tried.I cant even relate, I dont live in a Theocracy, im European, we are educate,d your kind of society is so off the chart here its truly silly really. It must be sad to live in the society you live in, oppressed knowledge, ignorance celebrated…Hey, we are so bored we need you guys to amuse ourselfs.. Sorry. :(

  6. RedFerret says

    Thats ace Russell. My little lad has only just mastered walking, but it’s usefull hearing about your experiences via this blog and both shows, just to get me thinking about how I approach these kinds of things. Keep sharing mate, it helps!TRF

  7. says

    Kazim said… Not sure what you mean. Why would I do that when it’s not the same book? Would you sit and read it with him? Would you ask his thoughts and let his free will decide the answers for himself?

  8. says

    Sparrowhawk said… @Mark:Don’t beat around the bush. Kazim’s being nice and trying to draw it out of you, but I think we all know what you’re hinting at here. why not let Kazim answer for himself? Since you already know my question.

  9. says

    AtheistUnderMask said… I don’t know Curt, I probably would, and then I’d ask them if the villain(s) in Reservoir Dogs were as evil as the villain called God in the Bible. Atheist = Free thinkers? How could you say that unless you give the child an unbiased opinion of the Bible? Guess it’s ok to be a free thinker as long as they share your opinion.

  10. Martin says

    And do Christians give their children “unbiased” opinions of the Bible? Of course not. Don’t attack atheist parents for being open and honest about their atheism to their kids, if you don’t attack Christian parents for being just as open and honest about their Christian faith to their kids. For the record, we do not exactly find ourselves challenged by taunts from religious people who openly flaunt hypocritical double standards.Anyway, I’m sure Kazim will answer you.

  11. says

    Wow… I could barely read at 6…” Simon said… Aren´t you afraid your son will groqw up and become like Stalin and other atheist/communists?I pray to GOD for AMERICA. I am happy to live i nreality not denying our Lord. It is sad that you have so much anger towards him.”Was that for real, or just a joke?

  12. says

    Martin said… And do Christians give their children “unbiased” opinions of the Bible? Of course not. Don’t attack atheist parents for being open and honest about their atheism to their kids, if you don’t attack Christian parents for being just as open and honest about their Christian faith to their kids. For the record, we do not exactly find ourselves challenged by taunts from religious people who openly flaunt hypocritical double standards.Anyway, I’m sure Kazim will answer you. This may shock you but I let my kids decide for themselves. Christianty is a personal choice each person must make. I wasn’t attacking Kazim, I was just asking a question because I was curious. Why are you so quick to judge then scream when someone does the same to you? I thought you thinkers were supposed to be open minded? Guess that’s the “old” double standard huh?.

  13. says

    AtheistUnderMask said… It’s called sarcasm, Mark.Then again, how would you react if I asked my kid how the hero(es) of certain stories compared to the hero called God? Would you react the same way? It’s up to you how and what you teach your kids. I was just asking how he would handle it. It’s hard to start a dialoge with most atheist becuase you start attacking from the start. I promise not to whack you over the head with my Bible. If I feel the situation calls for a Biblical view point I’ll share it. I don’t try to shove my faith down your throat but I do give honest answers if ask. Also I don’t mind when I get honest answers back.

  14. says

    Everybody but me seems to know what Mark is asking already. Curt says he wouldn’t let his kids read the Bible. I would and have. As it happens, I did a show two weeks ago where the topic of atheist parenting came up several times, so you can find out a lot about what I think by checking that show out in the archive. However, brief recap:I DO heavily influence my son in the way I think. We all influence our kids. However, I never come right out and tell him that I know the truth about metaphysical things, because no one really does. All I tell him is that some people believe the things in the book, but I don’t, and why. But I can’t tell him what to think, and don’t try to.Ben has gone through an agnostic phase lately, kind of wondering if heaven might be real. I didn’t tell him it’s not, I asked him why he thinks that and helped him explore the concepts, but haven’t told him he’s not allowed to believe that.

  15. says

    I think kids are naturally somewhat skeptical, but in most cases they’re given the impression that it’s wrong to be skeptical of their religion.I want to teach my kids *how* to think, not what to think, so I haven’t told them my views of religion, but I do demonstrate a fascination with learning about the world and being skeptical.My son asked me three or four years ago, when he would have been eight or nine, just randomly while we were walking, how people know about heaven. I was pretty proud of him for having that thought.Just the other night (he’s 12 now), he was holding a small New Testament that he owns, the subject of what’s in it was brought up, I told him that the four books called gospels at the beginning were about Jesus’s life, and that almost all the rest of it was written by Paul, who incidentally, never met Jesus. My son asked how Paul then knew about him, and I told him that Paul had a dream that Jesus appeared to him in. My son then opened the book, pulled back the first four books, fanned the remainder at me and with an incredulous tone said “He got all this – from a dream?!?Another one of those proud parenting moments.

  16. Martin says

    Mark: I wasn’t attacking Kazim, I was just asking a question because I was curious. Why are you so quick to judge then scream when someone does the same to you?My response was to your reply to AtheistUnderMask, which seemed kind of judgmental and defensive to me too.I would be very impressed to know you don’t try to influence your kids’ choices regarding whether or not to follow your religion. Most Christian parents — and I grew up in a Christian family and community — don’t hesistate to throw their kids right into the deep end when it comes to their religious upbringing.Maybe the other guys should have refrained from answering a question you posed to Kazim in the first place. But that’s kind of the hazard you run into when you post questions on public forums like this one.Sorry if you felt I bit your head off. I for one don’t seek to get off on the wrong foot with anyone here, including theists, so feel free to ask more questions. We’re not really unfriendly (though we are passionate about expressing our opinions).

  17. says

    Mark: While Paul did write a good bit of the New Testament he didn’t write it all.Curt said: almost all the rest of it was written by Paul.The word “almost,” Mark, addresses that complaint, methinks.

  18. says

    RedFerret said… Personally I intend to let my kid decide for himself, but I will let him know about the views that some people hold, for example; Robert, God isn’t going to burn people for getting the age of the earth wrong. They will burn because they freely chose to reject God. Mark December 2, 2008 12:03 AM Nice. If you don’t believe you BURN! TRF yep, that is my belief but I was trying to ask a reasonable question and being rather nice about it can you guys do them same?

  19. says

    Tom Foss said… Mark: While Paul did write a good bit of the New Testament he didn’t write it all. Curt said: almost all the rest of it was written by Paul. The word “almost,” Mark, addresses that complaint, methinks. not entirely, it still didn’t come from a dream.

  20. says

    Hence why I said “that complaint”–the particular matter of the New Testament’s authorship. I’m not familiar enough with the Pauline epistles to know the ins and outs of their content or its probable origins. While I’m aware that Paul’s contact with Christ comes from a vision (read: dream), I’m not sure where exactly his discussions of the various laws and expectations regarding Christians would come from. What was Paul’s role, exactly, in the emerging church at the time? How much did he supposedly learn from his Jesus-ridden dream? How much came from his alleged contact with James, brother of Jesus? Where else was he getting his material?In fact, thinking about the matter as a result of this thread has piqued my curiosity, and I think I’ll try to slog through the NT again in the near future.

  21. RedFerret says

    Fair enough Mark, guess I just let the red mist take over for a second. I don’t agree with that belief, but you have every right to believe it. Next time I’ll try not to go off-topic with my reply.TRF

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