Welcome to my second installment of my Throw Oz Under the Bus Blog. Last week’s topic, suggested by my best(ish) friend Josh, was “Coping With a Wife and Children While Keeping Your Love of Young Shaved Boys Secret”. It was rough, but I think I managed to pull it off.
This week’s topic was almost worse. Two more votes and I would have been pulling my beard hair trying to figure out how to spin “How to Touch Yourself in Public, Get Caught, and Talk Your Way Out Of It.” Screw you, Chris. The Facebook trolls didn’t side with you. This time. Oh, and I would have called that maneuver a “Fidget.” (Inside joke)
No, I won’t have to defend public masturbation, or secret homosexual tendencies. What I have to discuss, though not harder, is potentially more polarizing. Thank you Amy.
So, without further ado:
“Raising Children with Atheist Views and Still Ensuring Their Right to Examine Religion and Make a Personal Choice Later in Life”
I have become unabashed atheist, not out of anger for a being that would let families be destroyed and children molested, or plagues to run rampant and misery to be the default emotion for millions of people, because none of that points to there being no God, just that if there is one, He/She is a dick. In fact, many of the old-school gods are portrayed exactly so. More on that some other time.
I am an atheist because that is where my unquenchable thirst for knowledge has led me. I truly want to know if there is more to this life than my meager years. I’ve read dozens of book, listened to hundreds of hours of philosophy and theology courses from The Great Courses, studied evolution and cosmology and astrophysics on edx.org. My conclusion after these 10 years of intense study? There is no god, and the only reason people still believe is because the weight of historical belief presses down upon them.
I could go on about this for another hundred pages, but that isn’t the topic for today. Today is about how to raise my children with an open mind and let them come to their own conclusions.
I’m giving my children a compass that points to knowledge by teaching them how to think, not a crutch of unfounded belief. I don’t want them to ever “just believe”. I want them to find out for themselves, or at least question the person that tells them. Even me. One of the most common praises in my home is “I don’t know, let’s look it up.” (The other is ‘Funny Wins’, but that is another story.)
Here is a quick story of how I do this in practice. One day, after a long conversation with my then 7 year old daughter about where the Sun came from, (I gave her a very detailed explanation) she asked me:
Daughter-How do you know? (I was so proud)
Me-I don’t, not completely. I might be wrong, but most scientists agree that was how the sun formed.
D-Why? (Not kidding, that is my favorite question)
Me-Well, how do you find out if your math homework is correct? You ask me or your mother, right?
D-I ask you. I go to mom for spelling. You don’t spell so good.”
Me-Well, I don’t spell well. But yes, you go to someone else that also knows how to do math and have them check it. That is what scientist do. But they don’t just ask one scientist, that ask them all. Imagine if your math was really hard, like super-duper hard.
D-Like the square root of 100?
Me- Yeah. If it was hard enough, I might get it wrong too. So we go ask another math person to check, and another, and another, and another. If you asked 100 people from around the world, and they all agreed on the same answer, would you think it was right.
Me-Could they all be wrong?
Me- They could. It is possible they could all get the wrong answer, but the more people that agree, the less likely that is. That’s why scientist keep checking and doing the same experiments over and over again. If someone gets a different answer they have to find out why.
D-Ok…I have another question. Where do dogs come from.
Me-Ask your mother.
Thanks for reading,
Find me on Facebook if you want to Throw Me Under The Bus next week.