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Pagans: How should pagan parents handle discussions of Christianity with children?

I asked a similar question to this, and got some very good answers, but I also got quite a few Christian answers. So, for pagans, how do you or how would you handle children’s questions about Hell and Christianity from a pagan point of view without lying about it or entering in your own opinions, or forcing the conversation too dark for children?

9 COMMENTS

  1. Advocate open-mindedness, examination of all the evidence on all sides, and an earnest desire to become better people.

  2. I would simply explain that everyone has different beliefs, and maybe explain a bit about the Christian faith as well. I would encourage my child to keep an open mind, and if he wished to explore the Christian faith a bit more, I would give him the freedom to do so. My parents did the same for me. They always encouraged me to keep an open mind, and they gave me the freedom to explore whatever religion I chose. They fully supported me when I told them that I was Pagan. Why should I not the the same for my child?

  3. This is a discussion that has come up several times, and not just about Christianity. We are a mixed-faith household (I’m Wiccan; my mate is Heathen) and we are educating our children in both of our traditions, so we talk quite a lot about different religious beliefs.
    Basically the approach we take is to explain that “some people believe in x (x can be Hell, original sin, reincarnation, the world held up on the back of a turtle, whatever.).” When we know the reasoning or explanation behind these beliefs, we try to explain them as simply as possible. If we don’t have an answer for their questions, we say so. Then we offer the parallel from our own faith.
    When my daughter asked about Hell, I said I didn’t believe in it, and told her that bad actions have their own consequences in life. We sat and thought about several examples of “what goes around comes around.”
    Then my mate explained the Norse version of Hel, which led to several interesting discussions about the derivative nature of many Christian doctrines.
    The important thing is not to belittle the source. You can’t help but insert your own opinion, but do explain that it IS your opinion–and then explain why.
    As for what’s too dark–let your kids guide you on this one. They’ll likely tell you when they’re uncomfortable.

  4. Well my son is two so it hasn’t come up yet. My live in BF is Pagan Atheist, his father is pagan I am Pagan and with the exception of my son’s paternal grandfather and his family, and my side of things across the country the odds of religion coming up are slim.
    Secondly I will just simple state the truth we don’t believe in any of that and if he wishes to learn that’s his call. I would point out that Christian believe in hell and the punishment for their sins in life while those around him believe in reaping what we sow in this life while we are in it.
    As for Christianity on the whole – grew up in the religion and went to catholic school. I’ll explain that while there are Christians who don’t hold hate and disgust in their hearts for those of us of a different there are plenty who do.
    If he wants a different religion I won’t hold that against him, what I will hold against him is if he goes against the non religious morals and tolerances he was raised with however.

  5. I was just plain honest with her. She asked who Jesus was and I said “Christian believe that thier god came to earth and was named Jesus.”
    She asked me once about a really mean and bad god who lived under the earth. That took me the longest time to figure out, she was asking about Satan. LOL
    I keep it basic, let her questions lead the discussion and always refer to Christians by thier title and Heathens by thiers. I never say “us” or “them”. She isn’t old enough to claim her path yet.
    Jean: It is IMPOSSIBLE for our children not to be exposed to other faiths. The world is getting smaller. Knowledge is NEVER wrong (I am such an Odin’s girl sometimes). I plan to raise my children to be intelligent enough to make thier OWN choices. I raise them in Heathenism, but I can’t make the gods speak to them. That is between them and the divine’s (or none. Their father is atheist). It’s delusional to think my kids won’t be exposed to and curious about other faiths.
    I will also teach them the TRUTH about the conversion of the ancestors. They were NOT all mass murdered, which you seem to intent on pushing on people. Many places were peacefully converted. I get MY information from history books, not websites promoting pagan “propganda”. While there were SOME places that it was done by the sword, it was not even close to all.

  6. Honestly, I was honest and open about what Christians believed, and my son decided Christianity was a crock no matter how many times I encouraged him to be open towards it.
    Actually, when he was in 4th grade they had some book they were reading about the dust bowl…not sure which one…and I pointed out all the Biblical allusions to him. Now that he’s 16 I’d love to be able to teach him Bible as literature, but he’s pretty sour towards all things Christian-based on the behaviors of Christians OUTSIDE HIS FAMILY.
    I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone to bat for the good ones on that team with him.
    Since his dad’s birth mother was Jewish we tried to let him feel especially warm towards Judaism, but he’s perceptive, and even with me and Phoenix, he’s of the opinion Jews, Christians and Muslims are all pretty ookie.
    To quote the loinfroot: “I don’t think any gods exist, but their God definately does not.”

  7. I think parents should try to avoid discussing any other
    religions with children, and just focus on teaching them
    about their own beliefs. What other religions believe is not
    really so important. Besides, telling our children that our
    ancestors were mass murdered by Christians would be
    rather depressing, and cause a lot of anger, as well as
    making the child question the lack of justice in the world.
    Let them wait until they are older before they have to face
    that. Meantime, to avoid them being hassled by modern
    Christians, I would teach them never to speak about their
    beliefs in public and I would visit their school and make
    sure it is clear that I will not tolerate any attemps to push
    Christianity on my child, and that I am prepared to sue
    them if religion is ever brought up in any improper context.
    Jean

  8. Since many of the “pagan” religions are as different from each other as they are from Christianity, that is a difficult question to answer. Some believe in many gods and goddesses, while a LARGE number are very similar to the Christians except instead of ONE god, they believe in THE goddess (with a neutered afterthought of a “lord”, or god…… sometimes).
    For me, a Norse Heathen, I realize that there are many gods and goddesses. I simply explained that, my religion teaches that most of the deities have their own halls, and that the Christian god probably has his own hall also (Heaven). If someone has promised themselves to the Christian god, and hasn’t recognized any other god or goddess, then, that Christian god may well put them in a place of torment if they anger him, just as many of my gods will screw you to the wall if you anger them. I am not bigoted enough to claim that the god worshiped by the Christians doesn’t exist, just that he isn’t the only one. I also believe him to be different from the one worshiped by the Moslems.

  9. the same way you would about any other subject. Why would Christianity be ANY DIFFERENT IF YOU DON’T BELEIVE???????
    Indy The Tuna Slayer

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