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A difficult issue for godless parents raising their children without religion is the religious traditions in their extended families. If the parents themselves were raised without gods or religion, this isn't an issue, but most come from at least marginally religious families which have at least a few religious traditions, even if it's merely to attend religious worship services on major holidays. The more devout a family is, the more difficult it may be to exclude yourselves and your children.


Read Article: Godless Children & Family Religious Traditions: What Should Atheists Do?

September 22, 2007 at 11:20 am
(1) V says:

It is not a good idea have your kids be around religious relatives. While you try to teach them about the cult of religion, your relatives will be pressuring them to believe and go to their church. Thus, you should leave the religious relatives behind.

September 22, 2007 at 1:48 pm
(2) chooseDoubt says:

Agreed – make the relatives choose, fantasy or family. If they choose fantasy then write them off. They’re not the sort of people I would want around my children anyway. Their loyalty is misplaced and they cannot be trusted.

January 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm
(3) Victoria says:

I guess it all depends on just how religious your relatives are. My sisters went to church. They don’t wear their religion on the sleeves which I guess is fortunate for me. If they did, then I might think about spending less time with them on religious holidays. I don’t see anything wrong with exchanging gifts at Christimas time. I haven’t had a tree in over five years, but I still exchange gifts and have a nice dinner.

I also don’t see anything wrong with having dinner on Easter. For me religious holidays are just a nice way to have a family dinner and , of course, the chocolates!

If they all just spouted off religious crap, then I might feel differently.

January 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm
(4) Paul B says:

I would say, just be honest. Explain to your kids that not everyone believes the same thing and that they don’t have to pretend to believe.

As for hoidays, my family has never been religious but when I was a kid, we celebrated Xmas, and Easter. These were not religious holidays for us at all. Xmas was about Santa Claus (we even sang Xmas carols sometimes), Easter was about the Easter Bunny. As a kid, I had been celebrating these holidays for years before I realized they had any religious meaning.

When I visited a friend for dinner, and his famnily would bow their heads and say grace, I was too honest to pretend so I let them do their thing but I didn’t pretend to pray and I didn’t bow my head. There was no problem because everyone else bowed their head and closed their eyes so one could see I wasn’t playing along.

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