Friday, December 29, 2017

Who do You Thank for your Children?

At some point a few years ago I found myself on a blog written by a Christian parent named Bill Belew. His blog seems to be generally about raising children who are ethnically different from their parents. At some point Mr. Belew had come across an OLD blog that I created for atheist parenting carnivals. I called that blog Carnival of Atheist Parenting. Because of the links involved in blogging, I found myself on his blog reading his post entitled Atheist Parenting | Who do you say thank you to for your children? 

In this blog post  Mr. Belew's eight year old daughter Mia asked her father what an atheist was, presumably because of the blog carnival site. He and I had followed links back and forth a couple of times.
Allow me to copy/paste his blog post here:

I had to ask my daddy, “What’s an atheist?” before I could understand anything about atheist parenting.
“Atheists are people who think they are God.”
Wow, how can they think that?
“Well, atheists want to say there is no such thing as God, or a god.  But, in order to say that something absolutely does not exist, an atheist must be everywhere at the same time and say ‘look, I don’t see it.’ And nobody can be everywhere at the same time … except for someone like a God.”

Hmm … that’s a bit too deep for a little girl like me. Daddy, everyday you say ‘Thank you’ to God for giving you me. Who do atheists say thank you to for their children?
“I don’t know the answer to that question. The stars maybe? Chance? Atheists think that things just sort of came to be. So, I suppose that they think children just kind of pop out when the time comes and disappear into oblivion 70-80 years later.”
What’s obble if in. (Ed. oblivion.)
“It’s nothing and nowhere.”
So, we kids come from nothing and go to nowhere? That doesn’t make sense.
“It doesn’t make sense to me either, honey. Maybe an atheist will read this and explain it to us. I am genuinely interested and think such a discussion would be worthwhile.”

Daddy. Thank you for being thankful for me.

 Well, I thought I would be that atheist who read and explained and I, too, thought the discussion might be worthwhile, so I commented this:
I am very happy to help answer this question. Of course I can speak for myself only, not an entire group of people. I am an atheist parent and I am here to answer your questions. Keeping in mind that I do not debate, try to change your mind, or participate in any sort of proselytizing.
First I feel the need to correct something that you have already said that is a MAJOR MAJOR piece of misinformation in a part of the “explanation” above. Atheist parents most definitely do not believe that they are god. In fact, the word atheist means “no god”. Atheists have no belief in any god, demon, spirit, etc, In fact, atheists are very skeptical about all claims of anything supernatural at all. Certainly not ourselves. *wink*

And, second, an atheist truly does not have to be everyplace at all!

We do not make the claim of a supernatural being or god, so atheists really have no burden to prove any extraordinary claims.

And lastly, as I am sure you are aware, atheists do not buy any of the creation stories. Many atheist accept the big bang theory of creation. I am sure that some do not.

As for who do I THANK for my children?
I thank THEM for being exactly who they are.
Who brought them into being? Well, simply, when two people love each other, they share a special kind of love…
My husband and I brought them into being.
I am not thankful TO anyone. I am simply deeply thankful for them.
I do not believe that it is necessary to give credit to a deity in order to truly be thankful that my children are MY children.

I love them SO deeply and SO completely that there is no way to measure it!
Peace, Karen

And then, after talking with Elizabeth and John about the blog post, they asked me if they, too, could comment on Mr. Belew's blog post, and we commented like this:
I have been sharing this with my children and my son, John, age 12, has a point that he wants to make.
We have taken the time to learn the natural way of our own existence. The word “oblivion” suggests that “we” (atheists) think that things just appear/disappear into nothing and nowhere.

The human body is made of particles of matter, just as stars are made of matter! When those particles come together into a marvelous living thing, we know that that living thing has a life. This process is VERY easy to explain and to understand if you wish to do a bit more reading on it. During the lifetime of a thing, including ourselves, we love and enjoy it. When it is no longer living, its particles break down into small particles again. This is called decomposition. You might look for more information on the carbon cycle, genetics, and cells.

My daughter Liz, age 16, says that atheist parents don’t “THANK” anyone for their children. Though they thank each other AND they are grateful for the chance to have children.

The complex reasons why things ~ARE~ is interesting and worth learning more about. There is a great deal of knowledge out there that is remarkable and exciting to learn!

Maybe Mia will be a scientist one day!

Not surprisingly I was very proud of how both of the kids "spoke" to Mr. Belew's daughter, though I doubt Mia actually got to read our comments. What did surprise me, though, was the fact that the blogger closed comments on that post for some reason...

You might also enjoy:
Atheists Cannot Experience True Joy

Top Ten Reasons Why Atheists Suck
My Parenting Manifesto

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