If my son turns out to be anything but an atheist, i would have failed him as a parent.
This is almost exactly how the conversation went:
Me: “Papa, I have done my research and I have decided that I do not believe in god.”
Father: “That’s lovely my Mäuschen, now go set the table for dinner.”
My parents didn’t care one way or the other as long as I was happy. My father is a devout catholic and my mother is a pagan. Almost none of my family members follow the same religion so it would be a bit hypocritical if they get upset over me being an atheist.
My parents were great, and still are. They encouraged me to get the kind of education they didn’t have, and I learnt respect and compassion for others from them. And I’m lucky that, although I’m in my late fifties, they’re still alive and independent. My break from religion was my own doing. And my parents, while sending me to Catholic schools and allowing me to have a religious upbringing and education, encouraged me to make up my own mind. And they respect and are happy with the choices I have made.
I’ve shared my interest in religions, mythology, folklore and related matters, and science, with my son, as and when he showed interest. When he was around 9 years old, he asked about whether there really was a God, having been exposed to the idea in school and from friends. I explained that I don’t believe so but a lot of people do. He’s now in his twenties, very happy and very intelligent, and doesn’t have a problem with evolution – one of his subjects was Biology. He doesn’t have any religious beliefs; but if asked whether he believes in God, he describes himself as agnostic.
In the days when I was a scout leader, I saw my duty in this respect as supporting the children in what they believed. I didn’t discuss with them the fact that I didn’t believe. The other adults involved in scouting and local clergy were aware of it.
That’s the only time I have seen my mother acting in such an irrational manner.
She believes we will eventually need the protection of the Church against islamic troops.
Me, I don’t think Western Europe has fallen that low. Is it what religion does to people?
My parents and brothers said that I would go to hell when I told them that I was atheist. I think they also told me that god might strike me down when I told them that.
Intelligent ones accept that their child is an autonomous human being and entitled to believe whatever they wish.
Edit: I see from 3 thumbs down that there are at least three people on here that think parents should dictate what their children believe. HOW? You cannot make someone believe something. Idiots.
I’d feel upset, of course. It’s something that they have to do on their own and it’s all their choice. It’s not about the parents, it’s about someone missing their chance to know God.
it depends. i had a friend who has a son. this friend of mine is a faithful believer in God, but his son outright hates the idea of God and rejects it. he didn’t ever come out and say how he felt about it but i could tell by looking at him he was in crushing pain for his child.
My seventeen year old describes herself as agnostic. I also encourage her to make up her own mind.
I’m fine with it. I taught my son to use his brain and ask questions, so I would be a hypocrite if I opposed his reasoning.