My 6-year-old daughter told me god is real.

I’m still trying to unpack this one. I don’t even remember how it came up, but it did. We were just hanging out in the living room after dinner and my daughter told me that god is real. When I asked her why she thought that, she said because angels and the devil are real, too. 

I let it go. I didn’t push too much because my daughter also thinks zombies and Santa Claus are real and to me, god is on that same level.

I really want to dig deeper and find out where she is getting this information. She is in the first grade and also goes to daycare. She also spends quite a bit of time playing with the little girl next door. 

Is this worth investigating? Is she just being a 6-year-old repeating what she hears in the community? I still feel I should step in.

It scares me a little. We live in a conservative red state in the Midwest. I grew up here and even though my family didn’t go to church, I was always surrounded by Christianity. It led to a lot of hurt and confusion in my childhood, and anger and resentment in adulthood. I don’t want my daughter to go through that. 

My husband and I have been very careful in giving our daughter a secular childhood. Secular daycare. Public school. She’s never been to church. We have never exposed her to any religion. Maybe that’s part of the problem. She deserves an explanation.

I don’t want to shelter my daughter, but I do want to protect her. Being exposed to religion is inevitable. I want to teach her to be skeptical and use common sense, but I get the feeling that that might be a little much for a 6-year-old.

Should I say something? Should I let it go? Help me out parents – have you encountered this?


  1. Katydid says

    My oldest came to me about the same age with the same assertion. It’s very upsetting if you’re been intentional (as you have) with not indoctrinating her with Christianity. Unfortunately, the larger community–even the supposedly-secular community!–has been feeding her religion since she was old enough to hear.

    For better or worse, here what I did: I said that some people certainly believe that and others don’t, and it was important to think about what you believe. A day or so later, I heard from a neighbor who said my child told her we didn’t believe in God, and whew, that got ugly fast.

  2. John Morales says

    God is real in much the same way that Santa is real.
    Or zombies are real.
    Same thing, really. Stories, no reality to them.

    Also, you are mom.
    You are the truest and strongest anchor your daughter has to the real world.
    Explain to her.

    “Is this worth investigating? Is she just being a 6-year-old repeating what she hears in the community?”

    Yes, and yes. In my estimation.

    Childless, I am. So I am not really in a position to advise you.
    And may I say I don’t envy your responsibility.
    And that I admire that you take it seriously.

    But this goddish stuff, it’s obviously been imparted within her milieu.

    Such adivse as I feel appropriate to give, I give.
    The dogma, the fiat? Leave that to the religionists.
    Teach her critical thinking, give her options, give her perspective.

    Lead, teach, guide — no need to command.
    That’s for authoritarian/religious people.

  3. beholder says

    Is this worth investigating?

    Maybe. Especially if you live in a Midwestern state, many public school teachers have been pushing the boundaries of religious indoctrination. That’s the age group they have to target for their mythology to stick. I’d wait for evidence that it’s being pushed by teachers or the adminstration before I act on such a suspicion, though.

    It’s always a good idea to teach your daughter about the world, and there are age-appropriate introductions to critical thinking, separating fact from fiction, etc. that a 6-year-old can understand. I see no point in hiding Christian mythology from her when she lives in an overwhelmingly Christian society; she’s learning from others about it now, and you’re in a privileged position as someone she loves and trusts to share your own wisdom with her about this.

    If you want a starting point, I would suggest comparing truth claims from strange outsider religions, and how their adherents are just as confident in those truths. Really unpack the idea of confidence as an indicator of “truthiness”.

  4. Holms says

    If you live in a red state, the source of this sudden assertion is likely to be… well, just about anyone. But I would guess the kindy teachers would be the most likely to actually push it on her, as many christian teachers see it as their duty to proselytise. And yes, this is worth investigating. Growing up believing or not believing in nonsense is important, and there is a chance someone is pushing this on youngsters, possibly in breach of the requirements of their job (if this is in fact coming from teachers).

  5. StevoR says

    Dunno. Not a parent here so probly not the person to say but I’d suggest teaching her critical thinking and read her a bit of the Bible .. the boring illogical bad bits i.e. most of it. Probly a bit young for the gruesome, shocking soap opera of the later year’s of King David’s court from the rape of Tamar by her brother to Absalom’s rebellion and after. Might scare her too much if you read her or let her read about what happened to Jephthah’s daughter… Hmm.. The chapter with the begats and the dry rules of Leviticus maybe? Or Jesus cursing the fig tree for no reason?

  6. dangerousbeans says

    Also not a parent, but i think you should at least point out that “God” is not a clear concept. Like, different Christians mean very different things
    possibly a good chance to talk about different religions, and maybe find some books on different mythologies.

  7. brightmoon says

    I just told mine that some people are believers and some aren’t . The youngest at age 9 decided to investigate further and queried a rabbi, a fundie preacher and a Catholic priest over several weeks. I don’t belong to any of these churches and he came back telling me that none of them know what they’re talking about. He’s currently a Buddhist.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    “Which god?” is the crucial question that should make her realise the whole thing is a fraud. Prep a list of them, along with the peoples who firmly believed they were real.

  9. says

    When one of my nephews was a small child, he said something similar. My staunchly anti-religious sister-in-law wasted no time and immediately explained to him how things are and that god is a fairy tale figure just like dragons and elves and suchlike.

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