I appreciate all the varied responses. I haven’t heard from too many other parents out there
I’m the parent of four. They are now ages 27 down to 18. I’m not saying this is advice, but rather just relating my experience and, Vanessa, you can do with it what you will.
First of all, probabilities notwithstanding, one cannot prove that there IS a God, and equally one cannot prove that there IS NOT a God. That being the case, I do not presume to tell anyone that one or the other is correct. Nobody knows.
My parents were both Roman Catholics and therefore raised me in that faith, sort of. It was presented to me more as “Here’s what some people believe. When you’re 18, you decide for yourself.” I actually remember in 2nd Grade being told in class by a priest about how Jesus died for our sins and that I couldn’t make any sense out of the story (and still can’t). My parents never pushed anything on me and basically taught me that everyone must figure it out for themselves. It was OK to be skeptical.
When I was in high school, I learned in “US History” about the so-called “Founding Fathers” and that many of the most significant ones were more Deist than Christian in philosophy. I looked it up and it made more sense to me than anything I’d learned in cathecism class. Nearly 40 years later I haven’t found anything better. And discussions with my mother indicate she pretty much believes the same things, although she has no specific label for it.
At any rate, I raised my children basically the same way. I may be biased, but I think they and I turned out OK. I don’t think it’s bad to tell them that no one knows for sure whether or not God exists (because that is true). We DO need to know right from wrong, and some people use religion for their “moral compass”. If believing in God and following the dogma of a specific religion provides that for some people, good for them. If not believing and something else provides that, that’s OK too. That’s what they taught me was important. Oh, and not to make fun of what other people believe. They may not have used that precise language, but that’s the way I understood the message.
My sister left the Catholic Church to become an Evangelist Fundamentalist (or whatever the correct term is). THAT, if nothing else, shows that my parents method didn’t force any particular philosophy down our throats. And I’m rather pleased with the way my parents raised me.
Hope there’s a nugget of something in there.