So it finally happened.
I finally got a direct response regarding my atheism from my parents. It was my mother, who mentioned that there were still copies of Biblical stories for kids in the basement that needed to be cleaned out. It was then that she mentioned that it was “sad” that my kids (her grandchildren) wouldn’t know about God, or about “anything”.
I was still eating, so I just calmly said, “No. I don’t think so.” And seriously, what’s so sad about it?
First, equating a lack of knowledge of God with a lack of knowledge about anything is kind of silly. I know God is the be-all, end-all of existence to her, but to me he’s just a superstition that people falsely believe they need to hold on to in order to get through tough times, and delude themselves into thinking they have a personal relationship with a being that they can neither see nor interact with.
Second, there is nothing sad about it. As a matter of fact, I find it refreshing and liberating that my children won’t grow up being force-fed religious nonsense — and I’m particularly lucky to have an ex-wife who happens to agree with religion not being an important part of their lives.
Sure, I’ll tell them about God, in the same way I’ll tell them about Santa Claus — that he’s something some people believe in to make them feel better, but he’s not real; just don’t go around telling people he’s not real, or you’ll really hurt someone’s feelings.
I’ll also tell my children that some people use God as an explanation for things they do not yet understand, nor sometimes even care to bother trying to understand. I’ll tell them that the wonders of the world and the universe don’t need an easy brush-off explanation that claims “Goddidit”. I’ll also tell them that people sometimes use God to promote hatred against people for the way they are, and even condone violent acts against them. I’ll even tell them that some people are so deluded as to believe that God punishes us for things we don’t think he likes.
I’ll ask my children if it makes sense to them that the universe couldn’t have possibly come into existence on its own, yet a god (who… came into existence on his own) created it out of nothing. I’ll ask them if it makes sense to fit God into the gaps of science when we will eventually find the true answers to our as-yet-unanswered questions. I’ll ask them what the point is of believing in a deity only when it solves a mystery, and why it’s lazy to do so. I’ll even ask them if it makes sense that God does absolutely nothing and believers make all kinds of excuses for him.
It’s not sad that my kids will never believe in God. It’s sad that there will always be those who will try to force-feed them that fairytale belief, all the while truly believing that they’re helping them and preventing them from falling victim to their imaginary post-mortem punishment.