Oh No! My Child is an Atheist!

Reading the BibleAtheists are a fast-growing segment of the American population, and that means many parents will face the terrifying news that their son or daughter is an A-word. It’s not what any God-fearing parent wants to hear, but it’s what awaits those unfortunate few who obviously neglected their Hail Marys. Don’t bother pulling out the rosary now. Not even God in all his non-existent power can save your family. It’s a condition that you’ll have to learn to live with, and hopefully this post can help you with finding out your son or daughter is an atheist.

There are many real dangers involved with being an atheist mutation in a religious family. Children may be mocked to the point of depression by their “loved ones”, kicked out of the home at a young age, sent away to Jesus camp or beaten to death for lying about their Bible homework.

Know What Atheism Is

What is an Atheist?

Google has more answers than God.

Few things are as misunderstood as atheism. Even the above definition from the almighty Google doesn’t quite get it right. Some atheists may agree with the definition, but some will say that atheism is not an active belief against God but rather a passive disbelief in any gods. The point is there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to atheism, and it can be a complicated thing to define.

My sister was the first family member that I told about my atheism. We were driving in my car somewhere, and she was very upset about how our mom had been judging her over some of her recent behavior. Her frustration was that she would constantly be compared to me, the “perfect” child, and that our mom was too harsh with her. In order to show my sister that I wasn’t perfect, I told her then that I don’t believe in God. That would have horrified our mom, a lifelong Catholic. More importantly, I tried to explain that our mom doesn’t necessarily know what is good and what is bad, and so her moral judgments shouldn’t be given so much weight. It’s okay to live outside of our parents’ views of morality.

Now, maybe my sister told my mom or maybe it just became obvious by how many Jesus jokes I’d make. Either way, my mom had figured it out. Moms may not always be right, but they know everything. So, one day on a long drive to somewhere in Texas, my mom asks me if I’m an atheist. I hadn’t been actively hiding my atheism, but I hadn’t told her before because I didn’t feel I needed to upset her over it. But now she asked, so I answered. “Yes.” There was an odd silence for a while. I thought she was too mad to talk anymore. Instead she asked, “Does that mean you hate God?”

I laughed slightly when I heard that. It was completely unexpected. I thought she’d start into how ashamed or hurt she was, classic mom guilt trip stuff. But no, she asked me if I hated God, a god I didn’t believe existed. It was like asking if I’m friends with Yoda. I explained that it meant I didn’t believe he existed. Her only response was “Oh.” We didn’t talk about it anymore that day.

That’s when I really learned just how misunderstood atheism is. My Catholic mother thought that atheists hated God. It’s likely that Christian propaganda makes us out to be God-haters, even Satanists. However, the truth is that atheists simply don’t believe in any gods. That’s all it is at its core. After that, what an atheist does choose to believe or think varies greatly. There’s far more to atheism than Stalin and the War on Christmas.

The first thing you should do is talk to your child about their beliefs, or lack of beliefs.

Don’t Blame Yourself

It’s not your fault. It’s their fault. People come to atheism for a variety of reasons, but ultimately it’s that not believing in any gods makes the most sense to them. Maybe it’s purely logical and scientific. Maybe they dislike religion and all the evil it does. Maybe they just don’t care. Whatever the reason, it’s their choice what they believe and don’t believe.

Tom Cruise Oprah Couch

At least you didn’t raise a Scientologist.

You may have tried long and hard to indoctrinate your child into your religion, but don’t think that you failed at being a parent just because it didn’t stick. Trust that your child knows what they’re doing. Hopefully along with all the religious nonsense, you let your child learn real things too like science and reasoning. If so, then they’re fully capable of coming to their own conclusions about philosophical quandaries.

No child wants to deal with the guilt of causing all of their parent’s self-loathing. So, stop hating yourself for your kid’s decision. It’s theirs to make. Be glad you raised someone brave enough to explore complicated questions instead of settling for the way of thinking given to them by birth. You raised a thoughtful individual. Congratulations!

Don’t Expect Participation in Religious Rituals

Seriously, stop trying. You know they don’t believe, so that just makes the rituals all for show if they do follow through. Nothing more. The act of going to church is a complete waste of time for an atheist. Even if you’re saying grace, it doesn’t mean your atheist child is doing so too or cares in the least about whatever you’re telling your imaginary friend.

Kids Saying Grace

Praying away the vegetables.

Religious parents for some reason still feel the need to push all these little superficial extras onto their atheist children. It doesn’t make any sense and is only going to come off as ignorant and annoying. Aside from that, it unnecessarily creates a point of contention. So, leave it be. If you still have to do your religious duties, go ahead, but don’t make it so apparent that you’re hoping they’ll join in. They won’t, and even if they did, it would be an empty gesture.

We don’t mind Christmas presents, though.

Stop Trying to Save Their Soul

Your son is going to burn in Hell for eternity. Deal with it. That’s the god you choose to worship. I don’t make the rules.

This is one of my favorite points for atheism, at least when faced with Christianity (and probably a few others apply here too). Let’s say I’m right. No big deal. No God. I die. It’s all over. The end. Let’s say I’m wrong. Now I’m thrown into a pit of fire and tortured forever because I didn’t worship God. Not only that, but he throws my mom up in Heaven with him and she must know I’m suffering, but it’s Heaven so she can’t feel pain….so I guess God just makes it so she doesn’t care that I’m eternally suffering at his will. There is no way I’d want to worship that god. So, if Christians are right, I’m still good with my choice.

If you believe in that literal interpretation, then it’s just unfortunate. Your god is evil, and you should be ashamed.

But maybe you don’t take it quite so literally. You just want your kid to live a happy life, one that only comes with spiritual fulfillment. Well, as it turns out there are plenty of spiritually fulfilling things that an atheist can enjoy. There’s no need to save their soul. Their soul can have plenty of chicken soup without God serving it.

Atheists can find pleasure, beauty and purpose in life. For some, maybe it’s material things like money, video games, boobs or good food. Or maybe it’s the more abstract like philosophy or helping others. Religion doesn’t have a monopoly on fulfillment. With atheism, the individual gets to find their own personal fulfillment, and perhaps that can be more rewarding to them than one dictated by ancient mythology.

The Jerk - Steve Martin

Find your Special Purpose

Don’t Murder Them

Seriously. Murder is always bad parenting, whatever the reason. Having a child who thinks differently than you is no reason to punish them.

Aside from the fact that any kind of punishment over a person’s beliefs is immoral, it simply isn’t very practical. You can’t force beliefs on people. No amount of grounding will convince them God exists. So, don’t punish them because they don’t believe what you want them to believe. If you do, they might just pretend in order to escape the punishment, but they’ll also grow to resent you. Plus they’ll have to repress their feelings in order to live harmoniously with you. Everyone is better off if you choose to live and let live. Would you rather your kid not believe in God or not believe in God and hate you too?

Remember They’re Still Human

There’s really no reason your relationship with your child should change just because they stop believing in your god. Maybe you don’t see them in church as often, but surely your relationship is predicated on more than religiously mandated routines. Didn’t you ever play catch with your son? God had nothing to do with that. It turns out atheists can catch baseballs. So, keep treating them like you had been. They didn’t turn into some unfamiliar monster. They’re the same creature you’ve known and loved all of their life.

Hulk Yelling at Sky


Atheism doesn’t drastically change a person. It is change, yes, and change is a part of growing up, whether it’s a change in beliefs or not. Your atheist child is still the same person. They have the same childhood memories they’ve always had, hopefully with you in them. Atheists have hopes, dreams, fears and problems just like anyone else. So, when dealing with your kid remember that they’re not just an atheist; they’re a human being. If they screw up, it’s not because they don’t believe in God. It’s because they’re human, and humans screw up. Your atheist child probably doesn’t want you thinking of them as your “atheist child”.

Don’t Be Ashamed

Even though atheists are hated by most Americans, they’re not that horrible. This goes back to the first point about knowing what atheism is. There is a ton of misunderstanding, and as a result there is a lot of anger, resentment and hatred toward atheists. You are doing your child a disservice by being ashamed. Don’t hide the fact from your friends and co-workers. Remember, you read the first point and learned what being an atheist really means. So, you should know there’s absolutely nothing wrong, sick or immoral with atheists.

If someone has a problem with you having an atheist child, then that’s your opportunity to clear up the misunderstanding. If you do so and they still have a problem with it, then why do you want that person’s approval? Your child is part of one of the most under-represented and hated minorities in the country. Don’t be ashamed. They need your support. They need people who aren’t atheists standing up for their rights so that they can be seen as individuals and not automatically assigned the negative connotations from ignorant minds.

The best thing a religious parent can do for their atheist kid is be proud of them anyway.

  • r.holmgren

    “Atheists are a fast-growing segment of the American population,”

    No they aren’t. The “no religion” is the fastest growing segment. Those who tick atheist stay stuck around 6%. There is a huge gap between not caring whether Creator God exists and putting your brain on the shelf and saying that a material universe does not need an external Cause in order to exist.

    • This gets back to the first point, knowing what atheism is. It depends on how you choose to define atheism. Is it all people who don’t believe in a god or religion? Is it only the people who say they “know” god doesn’t exist? Furthermore, the numbers are likely smaller than what they actually are. As an oppressed minority, people are cautious to self-identify as a full-blown atheist. Also, it’s worth noting that a small percentage of self-identified Christians also self-identify as not believing in God. So, where do they fall?

      • Hugo Ratiney

        “atheist” generally refers to people who think there is no creator, nothing above, and no reason why the world goes round.
        “agnostic” is used to qualify those who don’t have any belief about it.

        I would call me an agnostic because, as though I think odds are very small that there is “something above”, I do not hold it as a total certainty, for there is no proof of that.
        I don’t need to settle on this to live a fulfilling life, to differenciate evil from good, or to have values and ideals.

        (also, sorry if I made English mistakes, I’m not a native speaker).

        • That’s probably the strictest definition. You could still be an atheist because you don’t actively believe in any gods. Merely accepting the possibility isn’t enough to make you a “believer”. By your definition, most atheists would be agnostic since there’s no way of knowing that something doesn’t exist.

          • HolyChrist

            It frustrates me when people try and push atheists into the agnostic camp. (Just talking general terms, not attacking you or anything.)

            Something is false (or 0% proven) until proven otherwise. Are there unicorns inside the sun? If we can’t prove or disprove it, does it logically make it a possibility?

            If something is 0% proven, then I 100% do not believe it. Further, a hypothesis (eg: deities exist) is nothing to make any further conclusions on.

            • jstevewhite

              While I agree with your reasoning, I suspect that your language at the end is a bit vague. Science (as opposed to math and logic ) has a different idea of “proof”; which is why the usual word is evidence. The problem of inference means that nothing non-trivial can be 100% *proven* except in the specific sense. So we accumulate evidence with an eye towards confidence in our hypotheses. Every theory could potentially succumb to a theory that explained reality in a more complete, consistent fashion.

            • Asif

              It frustrates me as an agnostic who is over 30 that the atheism movement, led by people who make their living selling books on atheism, have tried to redefine the term over the last 2 decades to include me. When I went to uni 20 years ago the terms were clear – Agnostics say we cannot know if there is a God, Atheists say “I believe there is no God” or even “I know there is no God”.

            • HC

              Can we know that fairies and trolls don’t exist?

            • Edward R.

              Do you currently believe in the existence of a god (or gods)? If not, then you are an atheist, as an atheist is not someone who makes the positive assertion that no gods exist, but simply rejects the claim that one does. The a- prefix is just negation of the word.

              One example that springs to mind is moral/amoral. An amoral act is not immoral (the opposite of moral), it is simply an act that does not qualify as a moral act.

            • truth_machine

              You’re frustrated by your own ignorance.

              “When I went to uni 20 years ago the terms were clear”
              There’s no reason to think that, when you “went to uni”, you were any less of an ignoramus than you are now.

            • Ben

              That’s like saying “That car can’t be blue. It has a spoiler!” They’re descriptors of two different things. You can be an agnostic atheist simply by stating that the existence of god is unknowable, but that as a matter of course, you don’t believe any exist. An agnostic theist, by contrast would state that the existence of god is unknowable, but choose to believe in one (or more) in spite of that fact.

            • Jack Rawlinson

              I’m afraid you are simply incorrect. Atheists are people who do not believe in god(s). This is categorically not the same thing as an active belief that there is no god. Now, atheists may have that active belief too but – and here is the crucial point – that is not what makes them atheist. What makes them atheist is their lack of belief.

              What is your objection to being called an atheist, anyway?

            • CV

              Since knowledge and belief are two separate questions one can be a gnostic theist or an agnostic theist, just as one can be a gnostic atheist or an agnostic atheist.

              It’s pretty easy to understand. Do you believe in one or more gods? Do you know if one or more gods exist?

              The answer to the first defines whether you are a theist or an atheist, the answer to the second determines whether you are a gnostic or agnostic.

              You can’t merely be an agnostic, because the question of knowledge is separate from belief.

              Much like Deism, people who claim to merely be agnostic are failing to understand that any deity that meets their definition is essentially the same as not believing in a deity at all. Just as a non interventionist god is the same as a nonexistent one, a god that fails to produce evidence to support knowledge and constitute proof of its existence is the same as a non existent one.

            • truth_machine

              You are quite confused. Something is false it is isn’t true; that something hasn’t been proven doesn’t make it false. And “0% proven” is gibberish; either something is proven or it isn’t. In any case, proof is the wrong concept to apply; most of what we believe is not and cannot be proven … prove that Booth shot Lincoln, for instance. I believe that there was at least one person named Smith listed in the 1942 Pittsburg phone directory, but I certainly have no proof of it. Belief should be based on *inference*, not proof.

        • Thrasymachus

          Incorrect. An agnostic is one who does not claim to know. ‘gnos’ is a Greek root pertaining to possession of knowledge. An agnostic is one who does not have knowledge, not one who does not have faith. The opposite of an agnostic is a gnostic, who claims to have knowledge. A theist is one who has faith. An atheist is one who does not have faith.

          You could set up a little 2×2 matrix, if you like. A gnostic theist is one who knows there is a god. An agnostic theist is one who merely has faith there is a god. A gnostic atheist knows there is no god. An agnostic atheist merely has no faith in a god.

          The meaning of the words are simple. Everyone should be able to fall into one of these four groups. The lines are solid, even if someone isn’t entirely sure what they believe or know. You believe in a god (or gods) or you do not. If you believe in something supernatural, but you do not call it a god, and believe in no god, then you would be an atheist, insofar as the question of gods are concerned. If you are willing to admit even the slightest possibility that your belief is wrong, you are an agnostic.

          The agnostic label is one which most people fall under, even if they don’t know it. The meaning of these words will not change just because someone doesn’t like the label. That being said, there are those agnostics who choose to act as if their belief were absolutely correct, to the same lengths as a gnostic, and there are those agnostics who choose to act as if any belief has equal chance of being correct. It’s a broad spectrum, but it has a very definite border.

          Similarly, a theist is anyone who believes in a god. They needn’t believe in any specific god; only that there is at least one god. It’s entirely possible for someone to know that there is a god, but not have any faith about the nature of this god. The nature of what a god is like is not a question which is pertinent to the terms (whenever gnostic/agnostic is being used in relation to the existence of a god. The words are not limited to this question and may be used in non-religious terms, though theism/atheism is strictly religious.)

        • Hm. I’m in the same boat. I think that there is a non-zero possibility that some intelligence created everything. I think this because I cannot prove otherwise.

          I also think there is a non-zero chance that Elves exist. Just out of the sight of humans. I can’t prove that Elves do NOT exist, I haven’t looked everywhere, have I?

          So I’m technically agnostic about Elves too.

          But I don’t spend any part of my day wondering about what the Elves are doing right now. I don’t spend any part of my day hoping that Elves think good thoughts about me. Unless I’m watching “Lord of the Rings”, I don’t think about them at all.

          My actions, and thoughts toward Elves are atheistic, aren’t they? The same could be said about any sort of deity you could define. And honestly, I have lots of fun defining deities that no one can disprove.

          So you see, being atheist AND agnostic at the same time isn’t so difficult. Theism deals with belief, and Gnosticism deals with knowledge. I lack a belief in deities, and I actually have an active disbelief about several deities as they are commonly defined. That makes me atheist.

          But do I know there are no deities? No, I lack that knowledge. Just as I lack the knowledge that Elves don’t exist.

          • Brian

            This is called agnostic atheism.

            • Brian

              Belief and knowledge are orthogonal. It’s entirely possible to disbelieve a claim while not being able to disprove it. Visit a used car lot for an object lesson.

            • truth_machine

              “Belief and knowledge are orthogonal. It’s entirely possible to disbelieve a claim while not being able to disprove it.”
              That doesn’t make belief and knowledge orthogonal. Knowledge entails belief and lack of disbelief … you can’t know something while disbelieving it.

          • truth_machine

            ” I think that there is a non-zero possibility that some intelligence created everything.”

            Everything would include itself. As that appears to be a logical impossibility, that makes the possibility 0.

            “I also think there is a non-zero chance that Elves exist.”
            The existence of elves is certainly more possible than that of an entity that created itself.

        • Carl Myers

          that is not what agnostic means. Agnostics are not fence sitters!

          The technical definition of the words is as follows: “gnostic” is about knowing. theism is about god-belief. These are unrelated – knowing and believing are two separate things, giving 4 possible combinations:

          agnostic atheist
          gnostic atheist
          agnostic theist
          agnostic atheist

          A theist who says “I think there is a god, but I don’t claim to know for sure” is an agnostic theist. An atheist who says “There is no god and I am 100% certain” is a gnostic atheist.

          It turns out most atheists are agnostic, and most theists would say they are gnostic, but all combinations are possible and make sense. Agnosticism is not an alternative to atheism.

          • Everyone’s agnostic. Nobody knows anything. That’s why I say it’s a cop out. I think if you’re agnostic, you’re automatically atheist. “Not knowing” means you don’t believe. If you believe something, then that’s a form of knowing.

        • Dr. Dre

          Agnostic is just a descriptor. Gnostic means you know, agnostic means you don’t know. You can be agnostic atheist (I don’t believe in god, but I don’t know he doesn’t exist) or you can be gnostic atheist (I know there is no god), you can also be agnostic theist (I’m not certain there is a God, but I chose to believe in one) or gnostic theist (My religion is right and I am certain). Most people just identify as agnostic because you can’t prove a negative, and honestly once you stop believing in religion it’s really hard to give a shit.

        • jstevewhite

          Yeah, that’s not what “agnostic”means. Agnostic means “it’s not *possible* to know whether or not god exists”. I know that people typically misuse it to mean “I don’t know”, but it’s still inaccurate.

          Atheist means, literally, “without deity”; If you have no belief in the existence of any deity, you’re an atheist by definition.

          If you think there’s probably not ‘something above’, then I think it’s safe to say that you do not believe in a god. Just as if you said “I think I probably won’t win the lottery” I could say, “You don’t believe you’ll win the lottery”. Thus, by definition, you’re an atheist.

        • Ian Norton

          If you’re not an atheist, which god(s) do you believe in?

          None? That makes you an atheist too.

        • largan

          Fun fact, agnosticism is a subgroup of atheism

          • Edward R.

            I wouldn’t say it is a subgroup as they pertain to different things. Theism/atheism deals with beliefs/lack of belief, whereas gnostic/agnostic deals with knowledge/lack of knowledge.

        • Bryan Richards

          “”atheist” generally refers to people who think there is no creator, nothing above, and no reason why the world goes round.”

          It actually just means lack of belief. The knowing or believing there is no creator makes them a gnostic atheist ( a much smaller subset of atheists).

          Most atheists are agnostic as you are. They lack knowledge of a god just like you, which is why they don’t believe (what theism/atheism describes is a position of belief, not knowledge).

        • CV

          Gnosticism is a knowledge claim, while theism is a belief claim.

          Thus one can be an agnostic atheist, a person who does not have knowledge for sure, but none the less does not believe in any deities.

          A gnostic atheist would be a person who knows whether any gods exist and disbelieved regardless of that knowledge.

          The difference between this and your definition is that atheism doesn’t require a positive belief in the non-existence of any gods, but merely a lack of belief in the positive claim that one or more gods exist. Thus while it is sufficient to make one an atheist, it is not necessary to think there is no creator to be atheist.

      • Ian Norton

        Atheism is extremely easy to define. Just like asymmetry means not symmetry, atheist means not theist. Anyone who is not theistic is atheistic.

        • truth_machine

          So what does irregardless mean?

    • Carl Fischer

      I would submit that re-thinking your relationship to the world in the absence of theology takes quite a bit more thought than following a well defined religion.

      • Brian

        It merely requires an acceptance of mystery and the limits of human knowledge.

      • LiamT

        nope. for those of us who werent brainwashed at birth, being an atheist is easy. trying to pretend there is an interventionist god, who apparently enjoys seeing priests rape alter boys takes far more faith.

        besides, the hundreds of sects of Christianity and several of islam pretty much prove that following a well defined religion isnt possible, since they are man made poorly constructed books.

    • Thrasymachus

      I know this is going to seem entirely sophomoric, but I’ve never really gotten a firm understanding on this aspect of Aquinian logic: If you say that one would be a fool for not believing in a prime mover, how can you honestly say that the belief in a prime mover isn’t foolish as well? Let’s call it God and ask the question: Where did God come from? The only answer I’ve gotten to this is “God has always existed”, which is plausible if you throw out all the laws of nature, but then, anything is if you do that. It’s the metaphysical equivalent of not knowing what the hell is going on and throwing up your hands and shouting ‘it’s magic!”. The belief in a prime mover is founded on nothing. The logic required to support the assumption requires throwing away the rulebook. I honestly don’t understand the jump here, or how any thinking could possibly be involved in an active belief. What is required is that which is called by some ‘faith’ and by others ‘superstition’ (often with colorful modifiers).

      Why not be honest admit to not knowing how this whole thing started? Why must people claim knowledge when it is not to be had? Why claim to have logic pointing toward a prime mover, yet not have a satisfying logical chain? The non-believers must account for how everything started, but the believers must account for how God happened. And they don’t. They say ‘it’s magic’.

      I have met educated men whom admit to not being able to respect the intellectual capacity of anyone who does not believe in a prime mover. Though my education is more modest, I am ashamed to say that I have trouble respecting anyone who believes in a prime mover.

      Why is there this divide? Is not true logic accessible to intelligent people? If one is arrogant enough as to consider themselves to be intelligent, then what can they do but disdain those who have a different answer to a question which ought to have one answer?

      I do not know if there is or is not a prime mover. I believe there is no prime mover. One is the realm of reason, the other of faith. Why must these realms be confused?

      • Scott Fanetti

        The whole god magic meme is built in early to a person. It ties into the hope to see dead granny or the hope to live forever ( I don’t think they really understand the terrible curse this would be [ I’ve always thought any infinitely old being would have to be insane]). People don’t use the logic they employ in most areas in their life on god. Its in their heart ( which is just a way to let their emotional mind be their guide ). I think there are some people that will never accept the idea that there is not a magic fairy at the bottom of the garden.

      • Brian

        Quantum physics violates our common sense understanding of the world. The universe doesn’t operate via the causal relationships we assume it ought. Why should a state “before” or “outside” our universe operate by some linear 1+1=2 logic if the universe itself does not?

        • Wintermute

          That’s bullshit. Quantum physics violates intuition the same way a heavy and light object falling at the same speed does. Nothing about quantum physics violates our understanding of the world – only the understanding of people incapable of learning new things about the world.

          The same “before” or “outside” our universe rules you mention don’t require a god in any way. we could be a bubble forming in a boiling multiverse pot. To postulate a god as this “prime mover” is 100% unnecessary, it could just as easily be a shit you took yesterday that spontaneously initiated time travel and exploded into being the universe.

          The truth of the matter is that a god is a overspecific hypothesis that cannot be tested and therefor useless to any logical, rational, or scientific line if inquiry regarding the universe. if you want to throw out “linear 1+1=2 logic” you might as well declare that shit you took yesterday the creator of the universe.

    • truth_machine

      ” putting your brain on the shelf and saying that a material universe does not need an external Cause in order to exist”

      Lack of belief is correlated with intelligence and education. It’s offering the extremely stupid, inane, mantra above that requires putting your brain on the shelf.

    • Meep

      Actually, time-wise, it would be considered rapidly growing, perhaps not as rapidly as others, but it is still growing. According to your numbers, 6% of the country “doesn’t believe in a god”, that is over 18 million people. I’d say that is pretty significant, and in the long run, it is very fast. In the world, an astounding 13% of the population actually considers themselves “atheist”. In 2005 when the same poll was taken that number was at 4%. I’d say that’s pretty rapid. To give you an associative number 23% consider themselves “non-religions” or agnostic. While that number is obviously higher, to say the number of atheists isn’t growing rapidly is rather obtuse.

    • LiamT

      brain on the shelf? no need to be a twat. atheist just means we havent seen any proof that god(s) exist. simple as that. but sure, feel free to join the ‘intelligent’ people who believe in talking snakes or flying horses etc.

      is that why the vast majority of scientists are atheists and the vast majority of incredibly dumb people are religious? (im talking globally here, we know the USA is an anomaly amongst the western world)

      btw, you are aware that that external cause would need a creator judging by your ‘logic’, or that scientists have proven that we can create something from nothing. but dont let scientific facts get in the way of an ill-informed post eh?

  • mike

    Atheism isn’t growing… common sense is.

  • Jim

    It’s not that kids become atheists. They all start atheists before some bible-bashing parent either drags them into their religion or allows some other person to do so. Then common sense prevails and they turn BACK to being an atheist. Unfortunately, in these cases, a lot of psychological damage has already been done.

    • Brian

      That in it’s turn depends on how you define atheism. The lack of belief is different than disbelief.

  • Felixthe Dill

    YAY The untied states is hitting theartetical puberty

  • Deb

    My son is an 18 year old college student and is very “science” minded. He claims to be an athiest and I was suprised but not angry. I just want him to be respectful of other peoples beliefs as well. Everyone has the right to their own ideas and beliefs, but you must also have tolerance for others.

    • Scott Fanetti

      I think most atheists would really just prefer religious people not interject their faith into government or public schools. I think we all just want a basic general respect for people’s rights as humans.

    • Brian

      I respect your right of conscience but I don’t accept that any idea is beyond critique. Our society is inundated with insistent religious voices. Religion is seriously considered when determining civil rights and what to do about climate change. Any idea publicly asserted is open to rebuttal.

    • Bryan Richards

      I tolerate others and their right to have ideas and beliefs. I do not exempt beliefs and ideas from criticism, especially if they are terrible. Christianity is a terrible idea, regardless of who holds it, and it should be open to being questioned.

  • Carl Fischer

    Not a bad read, but it’s written for Athiests as the audience, not Theists of Athiest children as the title suggests. It’s littered with subtle and not so subtle jabs at religion that would likely make the intended audience angry.

  • Craig Lee

    “There‚Äôs far more to atheism than Stalin and the War on Christmas.” — Brilliant!

    • Brian

      I can’t count the number of people I’ve come across on the internet who conflate atheism with communism. As if not believing in the supernatural leads directly to a particular political ideology. I can’t tell if it’s disingenuous or willful ignorance.

  • Great post for religious parents with atheist children. I wish my parents would have read this article when I was younger…I might not have struggled so hard to come out as an atheist in my 20s.

  • scott

    Misrepresented artificial. Title suggest help/understanding for a parent but it is really just a smear on religion. Come on!. you don’t really want to help anyone. you just want to slam religion. You are worse than the bible thumper. At least there agenda is not hidden or misrepresented

    • CR

      theirs is misrepresented to. they want control, power, and money… they get it by promising eternal life after death.

    • Brian

      “You are worse than the bible thumper”

      When atheists start flying planes into buildings, blowing up abortion clinics, attempting to pass laws curtailing the civil rights of women and gays or denying and preventing meaningful attempts to counter climate change you may have a point.

    • truth_machine

      scott is illiterate, irrational, and dishonest

  • psuedon

    The snarky comment and picture against scientology when you complain about atheism being misunderstood is a classic example of irony, and how much you misunderstand about others as well.

    • Scott Fanetti

      The lack of acceptance of any kind of magical gods is not some other religion. They are all equally ridiculous and not real. Xenu is no more real than Thor or Jesus. Its all silly magic. Why pretend these ideas deserve intellectual respect?

  • DesertPro

    I’m 12 and I’m starting to think that god doesn’t exist,I just can’t believe that we pray for a god which doesn’t do anything when in Africa there are starving innocent kids,and a god which watches people die everyday because of diseases that he could cure to let us live,I just think its not fair that we give him what he wants but in response he gives us nothing but hard life’s full of sadness.

    • HolyChrist

      This is the only life you have. Cherish it. Do you best to help others with their own, single-life they have.

    • Scott Fanetti

      Dude – you get to see the show. This place – this planet – this existence – should not be here. We won the big cosmic lottery in that we got some time on the clock to see this place. Places like this are very rare. The skin on which we live is razor thin – and you are the lucky last link of an entire line of successful replicators since the first replicating cell. Reality is magnificent and intense. Revel in the fact that you live in a time when you can see the whole of what we know and what we don’t.

      The problem you described has many apologetic responses to quell the cognitive dissonance in reconciling a loving god that allows evil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil Is a great place to look at this part of theistic based philosophy.

      I don’t believe in magic. But – if there is a dungeon master at the end of the show – I gotta think he has to respect my logic. If he made the game – I would thank him and ask to play again. (Maybe I would want to see his source code and graphics card, though). I don’t think the god of the bible exists – thankfully. That dude was kind of evil if you read the book.

      There are philosophies that think that god lives the life of everything – like god is the universe experiencing itself. You are god – I am – everyone you ever meet. The homeless man that begs for a dime is an iteration of this infinite being whiling away eternity by watching every show play out. How else would something spend an endless gulf of eternal time?

      But I don’t know is the answer for me. Stick to your guns and use your mind kid. Peace.

      • CR

        “you are the lucky last link of an entire line of successful replicators since the first replicating cell.”
        – totally false. we are one branch on an ever expanding tree, and we continue to evolve. we are not an end goal, we are just a notch along the way. we humans think way too much of ourselves, which is part of what allows religion to flourish. as if some god spent 15 billion years making the entire universe just for us. once we put ourselves in the proper spot within the greater realm of the ecosystem on earth, and put earth in its proper place within the vastness of the known universe, we realize that we are completely insignificant. and yet, bringing joy and hope to others who share this struggle we call life, is completely significant. live, love, laugh, and help those in need.

        • DPSOnly

          I think you are misunderstanding him. If I read what you are saying correctly, you interpreted that he means “final link” by “last link”. I would argue that he says that we are the last link, at the moment, in the whole line, but that there is always a way for us to evolve in one way or another to the “next link”.

        • truth_machine

          “totally false”

          Totally true … you just didn’t bother to try to understand what he wrote, which is not inconsistent with what you wrote. *Every* extant organism is “the lucky last link of an entire line of successful replicators since the first replicating cell”. The key word there is “an” … there is a different such entire line for every existing organism. The statement that you put so little effort into understanding said nothing about humans, end goals, etc.

    • Bryan Richards

      congratulations you’ve stumbled (or been shown) the problem of evil. it constitutes one of the greatest barriers to belief in a moral god.

      • truth_machine

        The greatest barrier is a complete lack of reasons to believe in any god, demon, or other “supernatural” entity.

  • Jake Mono

    I like this article. It’s the perfect combination of rationality and belligerence. I especially like the part where you prove that God is evil. The whole concept of “salvation or nothing” is evil, eternal punishment is evil. Fuck this “we can’t understand God” rhetoric. That’s what you say when you’re indoctrinated and want to believe in that god in the first place, but don’t really have a good explanation.

    • Scott Fanetti

      I disagree – its a horrible proposition. An infinite being tells you to either accept him without evidence and love everything he does ( even the horrible immoral things) or he will send you to a place where you are tormented forever. What kind of crazy battered wife would think this is the appropriate way a being should interact with another being?

      • Jake Mono

        You misunderstood what I was agreeing with. We’re on the same page.

    • Brian

      The idea that an omniscient god had a hell all prepared for the mistakes he knew his creations would make is a profoundly sick and primitive idea entirely out of step with modernity. Compound that with the idea that a cosmic blood sacrifice was necessary to circumvent the rules this omniscient god implemented and you’ve got a cartoonish notion of reality divorced from reality.

      • Jake Mono

        I’d understand if separation from God meant just losing sentience, your soul stops existing like it didn’t for the thousands of years before I was born. But the concept of Hell is obviously something made up by people, and an evil one meant to give them a feeling of vengeance. You’re absolutely right, the whole thing about needing a sacrifice to forgive sins is leftover from a barbaric and superstitious interpretation of a deity. The very concept of original sin is a shallow and unnecessary way to think about morality.

  • lora120

    Some good points overall, but the author’s maturity was thrown into question for me when he used “boobs” instead of “sex”. Kind of silly.

  • fxhdfg

    You sick fucking freaks !

    • HolyChrist

      I know! At what age do people stop believing in fairy tales? It’s like sharing life with children.

    • truth_machine

      Brilliant argument there.

  • Buster Fixxitt

    I’ve never had a choice about what I believe. I’m either convinced by the evidence or I’m not. With long-held or unquestioned beliefs, my ‘evidence’ often turns out to be that someone in authority told me it was true and I never questioned it. Then I have to figure out whether what they said makes sense.

    I never chose to believe in an afterlife. I was told there was one by all the adults in my life, and so I believed it. Then, when I got older and thought about it, it didn’t make sense to me. There was no evidence for it, and it seemed to be contrary to my understanding of the universe. So, the belief vanished. I didn’t choose to stop believing. At most, I chose to question.

    I think the most one can choose is to *act* as though we believe something to be true. I cannot choose to believe other than I do, and I don’t understand how others think they can.

  • jbgeach

    If we are being honest with ourselves. If there is no up there or down there. No God, no hell. How is there evil? “Maybe they dislike religion and all the evil it does.” How many did the athiest Stalin kill? How about Mao? The Khmer Rouge was run by an atheist guy, Pol pot? he alone killed millions. So this is a little like the pot calling the kettle black. But why is it evil to kill someone? Is it evil for a male lion to kill its prey? What about his competitors?

    The only honest atheists are nihilists. To be otherwise, is being dishonest to yourself.

    • Brian

      So we either derive meaning for life from mythology or life has no meaning. This is a false dichotomy.

      • jbgeach

        I said nothing about us “deriving” meaning for live. For Christians life is innately meaningful. I can’t speak for other religions. However, if we are a cosmic accident and will soon be gone, our lives have no true meaning. That does not mean you cannot derive meaning, it just doesn’t doesn’t matter if you do or don’t.

        • Brian

          Our lives derive meaning by how we live them. It isn’t necessary to invent some secondary shadow world to provide it.

        • truth_machine

          When Christians say this sort of thing, they demonstrate that they are unable to rationally reason about concepts like meaning and mattering.

  • SuzieScientist

    Understandable that you reached atheism. When you are taught illogic Christianity (= Christianity not based on the bible), then of course a thinking individual will reject it. The bible itself doesn’t actually teach “burning forever” in hell. In the bible, Christ teaches that when a person dies, they go to sleep. The bible teaches that God is the giver of life. The bible teaches that you have the choice to believe in God or not, and God will respect your choice – if you insist on God not being a part of your life, he will honor your wishes (reluctantly) because in doing so, (him withdrawing from your life) you will die; not the burning forever, but without the life-giver, you can’t not sustain your own life. If you chose to live under his authority (no killing each other, no stealing from each other, recognizing and respecting that he is the creator, etc.,) then he honors that choice with everlasting life.

    • Illogical Christianity is the only kind of Christianity. In response to your claims of what counts as true Christianity:

      When you die, you don’t just go to sleep.

      God is not the giver of life.

      Not believing in god doesn’t cause a person to die.

      • SuzieScientist

        “Not believing in god doesn’t cause a person to die” – guess we’ll just have to wait and see to collect that bit of data huh? And what makes you think that “when you die you don’t just go to sleep?” Where did you collect data on that? On whose authority can you make a statement like that? (“To die, to sleep, To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
        For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.” Unfortunately Shakespeare is not necessarily and authority on the life after death topic.)

        • We don’t have to wait and see. The evidence is here already. Plenty of people don’t believe in god and they’re alive and well.

          As for sleeping, it’s pretty obvious from brain scans. A dead brain has no activity. Soon a dead brain decomposes and no longer exists whatsoever. The person is gone, their molecules spread elsewhere in the universe. On the other hand, someone who’s asleep (or even in a coma) can be monitored, their brainwaves measured.

          Shakespeare, like the Bible, is literary fiction.

        • truth_machine

          “”Not believing in god doesn’t cause a person to die” – guess we’ll just have to wait and see to collect that bit of data huh? ”

          I don’t believe in god but I’m not dead, dolt.And if you mean that, when I die I will “sleep”, then I won’t be able to collect anything. You are clearly no scientist because you have no grasp of how to construct a valid controlled experiment, so stop lying.

    • truth_machine

      Perhaps you should try actually *reading* the Bible before making claims about it, SuzieNotAScientist.

  • Andreas

    “material things like … boobs”
    Nice one x]

  • wtf2014lol

    84% of the USA prison population is Christian, which prove they are the most evil group in the USA!

  • wtf2014lol

    Mormons can save 10% by switching to Atheism

  • Meep

    You guys care entirely too much… there are different terms, and different degrees. Read this, it will explain it all to you. http://whenitstrikesme.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Agnostic+v+Gnostic+v+Atheist+v+Theist.png

  • athiest

    Can’t wait till one day religion will b Illegal except for in churches.

  • Bobbi

    Very true!

  • Alexa

    Saying atheism is a religion is like saying bald is a color….

    I am not an atheist, but an agnostic. In a very southern and Christian-traditional town, it feels wrong to admit it at first. I do not care anymore, because you shouldn’t be ashamed to admit your beliefs. People (religious) don’t understand it, and they don’t have to. You should not be ashamed to admit your beliefs to anyone, religious or not.
    Hope this helped someone <3