Should infidels send their children to Sunday school?


Many times, it has been suggested to me that I should let my children go to church and learn about god. They add they will have a choice to believe or quit as I did. My corollary has been why not let them grow without superstition and if they should become religious as adults, it’s because they were not as intelligent as their parents? Whoever goes looking for a toothache just so they can in future say it is not a good thing to have?

The great agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, said this on the subject

My advice to all Agnostics is to keep their children from the orthodox Sunday schools, from the orthodox churches, from the poison of the pulpits.

Teach your children the facts you know. If you do not know, say so. Be as honest as you are ignorant. Do all you can to develop their minds, to the end that they may live useful and happy lives.

Strangle the serpent of superstition that crawls and hisses about the cradle. Keep your children from the augurs, the soothsayers, the medicine-men, the priests of the supernatural. Tell them that all religions have been made by folks and that all the “sacred books” were written by ignorant men.

Teach them that the world is natural. Teach them to be absolutely honest. Do not send them where they will contract diseases of the mind — the leprosy of the soul. Let us do all we can to make them intelligent.

and I agree with him.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

125 thoughts on “Should infidels send their children to Sunday school?

  1. Do you think that it may be worth it for the community – perhaps with a slight suspension of disbelief?

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  2. rautakyy says:

    I was put by my atheist parents to school religion class, that taught the predominant Lutheran doctrine here in Finland. Not sunday school, though, mind you. I do not think religious education belongs to shool in any other form than in history classes of understanding other cultures, past and present. I however, feel I may have benefited from attending those classes by learning how people can have wonky ideas and beliefs and how they – so easily – come to those through non-critical thinking. It gave me a healthy dose of skepticism towards authoritarian dictates of any sort. Or perhaps, I had those from all along as a heritage from my parents. I do not blame my parents, who propably thought that putting me with all the other kids would save me from feeling excluded. I felt excluded anyway, as I was not part of the club. On the contrary, by being there I was a nasty reminder for the teachers and the rest of the kids, that their religion teaches, that some kids end up in eternal torture, even though the subject hardly ever came up.

    I do not recommend kids to be put to any sort of religious classes or sunday schools. Those are institutions specifically designed for indoctrinating impressionable children into thinking, that faith is a virtue, that supernatural is a viable explanation to anything and to rely on authoritarian dogmas. It does not make any difference wich ideology, wether beneficial or harmfull, a person relies on faith, superstition or authoritarian dogmatism, it is going to turn awry and harmfull by the end of the day for that person and others influenced by them.

    There is an advertisment on the local religious radio chanel, that paints a threatening picture of “what if an atheist or a free thinker acts as a teacher to your kids?” In the add, a kid tells her teacher, that she believes in god, and the teacher tells her, not to worry as he himself once beleived in Santa Claus, but the belief has since relieved. The add is quite revealing. It tells us, that the Theists feels quite comfortable in their own justification to evangelise to kids, but if someone else does it, it is wrong. In real life, I find it hard to believe, that any atheist or free thinker teacher would try to attack the values their wards have learned from their parents in the presented way. At least for the time being atheists are such a minority, that they present a lot more sense of respect for the beliefs of others, than Theists in general are willing to show even to each others beliefs. Because, the Theist in general is stuck in the golden rule (wich is crappy, a bit adolescent, or simply unfinished ethics) they think that they have every right to violate the sensetivities of others, while any questioning of their own blind faith is an insult.

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  3. Argus says:

    I’d be tempted to yes, send ’em but only after warning them of the techniques used to mentally enslave their fellows.

    AND to keep their mouths shut — ‘lest they be burned at the stake (one way or the other). Think of it as a bit like taking your kids to the zoo to look at scorpions through glass …

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  4. Argus says:

    Teach ’em how to think for themselves, by all means let ’em go there—
    —but remind them the rudiments of discretion (lest the believers rise up and smite them).

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  5. I am a Sunday school teacher, and I get kids whose parents don’t believe in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, and the church in general sometimes.

    Sometimes parents are brought to God through their children’s Sunday school attendance.

    I believe that you should let the children come to Sunday school, because at the end of it all, the choice is their own to make.

    Be free with them. Answer their questions. Don’t be mad if they talk about God. In other words, don’t restrict them to agnosticism only.

    P.S I would love to hear your story on agnosticism. What made you choose it? Why would you recommend it to me? Please private message me if you get the time 🙂

    – Becky.

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  6. Children can make to choice when they are old enough to do so, & to me that means legal age.

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  7. I LOVE Ingersoll! Thanks so much for sharing, my friend and friend of the world! Peace.

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