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DS, 14, has decided God is a myth... Now, I'm not uber-faithful, BUT I don't


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want him giving up faith so early -- though I cannot control him.

 

We are Catholic, and since Kindergarten, he has been questioning (seeing the Cain and Abel story as a rip-off of Romulus and Reemus, etc.). He is VERY logical and engineering/math and sciences oriented.

 

I am sad he already fails to believe -- mainly because I see it as a loss of childhood and wonder, I think. Though, I do wish my faith was much stronger as well. I feel like I have failed to give him something I already lack.

 

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, readings for him, comfort for me, etc. are all appreciated. In some ways, I think I'm just venting.

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I think that if you could see that not believing in a deity doesn't, for one second, make one lose a childhood or wonder. There are so many wonderful, fantastical, and scientific (just watch a Hawking documentary) natural things that can make even those without faith become awestruck.

 

It wasn't until I became an atheist that I could really see the world and the magnificence of the universe and I even dabbled with a bit of paganism in my early 20s. :-P

 

I have a 14yo atheist and she's pretty wonderful herself.

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If he likes facts and logic, then that is what he should be reading. Here are two books I appreciate:

 

More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell

Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis

 

I also really like Francis Schaeffer for unapologetic logic, though his materials tend to be weighty and can be a difficult read.

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Our bodies, nature, music, art, literature, life and love, mathematics, philosophy, science, a good joke, a perfect curve ball: There's plenty of wonder on Earth and in the Universe. :001_smile:

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He sees the need for God to explain anything as unnecessary. He has a wonderful moral compass and embraces life. He simply already has decided that God is a simple way for people to explain things science cannot yet explain. He gets annoyed by what he sees as silliness and illogical thought.

 

Thank you for those of you who do not have faith in God and still see the wonder in life! I will look through several of the readings suggested .... I know this is a personal journey for him, but want him to think through all sides -- though I know faith isn't about "thought." ;-).

 

Oh, and yes, it is God, not just organized religion. He is certain, though, Christianity is no different from the myths of ancient Rome and Greece.

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My best advice is to give him information on every possible side of the issue, and try not to lecture him about what he "should" believe.

 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't let him know what you believe (I'm sure he already knows, anyway,) just that it's easy to argue about topics like this, and those fights never seem to end well. I get the feeling that you weren't planning to do that, anyway! :)

 

Besides, he's 14. He will probably change his mind a dozen times about this and about all sorts of other philosophical ideas as he grows up, so I wouldn't worry about it unless he suddenly decides to join a cult or something... And somehow I don't see most cults wanting a kid who analyzes everything so much, so I'm pretty sure your ds is safe! ;)

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He simply already has decided that God is a simple way for people to explain things science cannot yet explain. He gets annoyed by what he sees as silliness and illogical thought.

 

 

My hubby thinks this way too all his life. He is still a free thinker at 40. He waivers between atheist and agnostic, but he has a good moral compass.

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Thank you all!

 

Eliana, your words truly spoke to me. What a glorious way of seeing this process. Thank you for helping to ease my burden and stress. I will continue to pray that the path he choses brings him the fulfillment and happiness he deserves. And, Catwoman, thank you for the reminder that a spiritual journey is filled with twists and turns, and that this may be the beginning of many adventures in faith for him.

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want him giving up faith so early -- though I cannot control him.

 

We are Catholic, and since Kindergarten, he has been questioning (seeing the Cain and Abel story as a rip-off of Romulus and Reemus, etc.). He is VERY logical and engineering/math and sciences oriented.

 

I am sad he already fails to believe -- mainly because I see it as a loss of childhood and wonder, I think. Though, I do wish my faith was much stronger as well. I feel like I have failed to give him something I already lack.

 

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, readings for him, comfort for me, etc. are all appreciated. In some ways, I think I'm just venting.

 

I'm sorry.

 

No one can give something to another that he doesn't have.

 

All I can say is seek and you will find. It's not over until it's over, anyway, for any of us. We are all works in progress.

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I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is truly accepting that our children's spiritual journeys are their own while being fully present and available as a resource and a sounding board.

 

Your son's path is impossible to predict, but it has the potential to be as wonderful, as brilliant, as unique as his heart and soul.

 

I am a deeply religious, observant Jew, and I hope and pray that my children carry on the faith and traditions of our people. I have no words for how deeply I would grieve any other result, but that would be my burden, and my fears, and my imperfect trust.

 

...and, as others have said, the world is full of wonder, of magic (however scientific), and awareness of that is not dependent on faith, it is a product of an open, appreciative mind and a receptive heart.

 

I also believe strongly that faith worth having often requires struggle, doubt, questions, even rejection, for some. ...and that finding one's moral/ethical/spiritual core is often part of the important work of the teen years. My son questions just about everything except faith... it is fascinating watching him work through political, social, and philosophical issues... we have some wide ranging discussions... he revels in the exchange of strongly held ideas and devours the books and other resources I make available to him...but even more he values the certainty that we respect his process, treasure him, and trust him to find his way... while being here to share as much or as little of our own views as he wants to hear.

 

Wise words here.

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'Catwoman':

My best advice is to give him information on every possible side of the issue, and try not to lecture him about what he "should" believe.

 

To me, with my teens, it is less about information - which they have gotten nonstop since childhood in various venues, including home - and more about experience.

 

For example, my daughter could quote scripture all day long when she was in AWANA, having that photographic memory. But it wasn't until she prayed for things and got specific answers that it really made sense to her.

 

In her teens, I just have to walk in faith that this never can be forgotten, as she walks through a world that does everything possible to pull her away from faith.

 

I'm realizing lately that this means I must draw closer and press in all the more.

 

 

 

Besides, he's 14. He will probably change his mind a dozen times about this and about all sorts of other philosophical ideas as he grows up, so I wouldn't worry about it unless he suddenly decides to join a cult or something... And somehow I don't see most cults wanting a kid who analyzes everything so much, so I'm pretty sure your ds is safe! ;)

 

This is true too!

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Parents control their kids' religious beliefs to the extent that parents can control their kids' hairstyles.

 

You can't "give" someone faith. You can model it, explain it, work to instill it but you can't give it to anyone, regardless of how much of it you have yourself.

 

My son declared his atheism the very first moment the basic tenets of Christianity were explained to him. Sitting in the pew he looked up at me after I was finished explaining and said in a very resolute voice "That can not POSSIBLY be true." He was 3, maybe just 4. Very skeptical, very literal minded, very on-the-spectrum. He has plenty of wonder and awe for the world through science and he has had and continues to have a very rich childhood. I really wouldn't worry that lack of faith means lack of awe or growing up too soon. He's still a 14 year old boy. He may change his mind in the future, he may not. It really is up to him.

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want him giving up faith so early -- though I cannot control him.

 

We are Catholic, and since Kindergarten, he has been questioning (seeing the Cain and Abel story as a rip-off of Romulus and Reemus, etc.). He is VERY logical and engineering/math and sciences oriented.

 

I am sad he already fails to believe -- mainly because I see it as a loss of childhood and wonder, I think. Though, I do wish my faith was much stronger as well. I feel like I have failed to give him something I already lack.

 

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, readings for him, comfort for me, etc. are all appreciated. In some ways, I think I'm just venting.

 

I would also recommend C.S. Lewis.

 

Since you're Catholic, have you seen the Catholicism video series with Father Barron? He does a good job explaining the Catholic concept of God as well as God and science, two issues many grapple with. The whole series is as inspirational as it is informative. (Incidentally, I went to a Mass recently said by Father Barron. He's as personable and intelligent in real life as in the series.)

 

http://www.wordonfire.org

 

You can always strengthen your faith at any time, and your son may get more out of that than anything. Good luck.

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Unfortunately, too many Christians can't explain why they believe and just site "faith". I ran into that with myself and my oldest dd. She is no longer a Christian. For me, I started researching apologetics and now incorporate it actively into our hs studies with my youngest dd. I want her to be able to give a factual, reasonable defense of why she believes in God. Here are some resources you may find helpful:

 

Contending with Christianity's Critics

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

 

The Big Book of Christian Apologetic: An A to Z Guide

 

www.str.org (Stand To Reason) From their site: We teach careful reasoning and well thought-out answers so that Christians will participate in public discussion (at home, at work, or at the university) so that the Christian world view has a place in the debate. We encourage Christians to develop coherent answers to questions that challenge Christianity so that their faith is deepened and thereby are emboldened to share the Gospel.

 

Brett Kunkle is a speaker with STR who specializes in teaching kids (jr. high thru college). He's fantastic. You can read his bio here: http://www.str.org/s...Article&id=8035

 

I found this site invaluable in answering many questions and giving logical reasons why I should believe scripture over man's ideas. Heavy on Philosophy/Logic and Science. I listen to their podcasts and watch their online videos. It's all FREE too! They also have a store chock full of books and resources. Great stuff.

 

I hope this helps.

 

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I'd recommend against supplying him with books chosen to restoring/bolstering faith rather than help him examine the "big" questions. FWIW, I found C.S. Lewis's much vaunted logical approach less than compelling from my side of the fence, because I reject his fundamental premise that objective morality cannot exists without gods (the key is the interpretation of "objective"). However, if you want to explore the nature of your own "not uber-faith," you might be better prepared to answer questions he might ask of you. :)

 

ETA: "approach" above

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I'd have some conversations with him about how he came to this conclusion, and then I would approach it differently depending on the answer.

 

Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith.

 

The way you approach that is MUCH different than the way you would approach someone who basically said they were agnostic because it wasn't logical and couldn't be proven one way or another.

 

It hasn't always broken down along those lines of athiesm/agnosticism in the people in my life, but it often has.

 

If it were purely logical, I would have him write pro & con position papers for the existance of God, with the understanding that he doesn't truly understand his own position until he can teach the opposite position.

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Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith.

 

Can you clarify this? Do you mean that intellectual disbelief is based on anger?

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I'd have some conversations with him about how he came to this conclusion, and then I would approach it differently depending on the answer.

 

Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith.

 

I can assure you that this is not the case for all atheists. :)

 

The way you approach that is MUCH different than the way you would approach someone who basically said they were agnostic because it wasn't logical and couldn't be proven one way or another.

 

It hasn't always broken down along those lines of athiesm/agnosticism in the people in my life, but it often has.

 

Few atheists (even Richard Dawkins) will say say unequivocally that there is no god (or super-alien power that created or seeded our world... or whatever), just that there is no evidence for such.

 

]If it were purely logical, I would have him write pro & con position papers for the existance of God, with the understanding that he doesn't truly understand his own position until he can teach the opposite position.[/b]

 

 

Would you recommend I require one of my atheist children to do the same should she begin to profess faith rather than help her find resources to answer her own questions and respect her journey? To say "you can't possibly say you understand this until..." is setting her goalposts for her, and is, IMHO, aggressive and disrespectful.

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Would you recommend I require one of my atheist children to do the same should she begin to profess faith rather than help her find resources to answer her own questions and respect her journey? To say "you can't possibly say you understand this until..." is setting her goalposts for her, and is, IMHO, aggressive and disrespectful.

 

 

I apologize for offending you. I did mention that this isn't always true, but has been frequently true for the people I know. I was responding to the OP's question about encouraging faith, not trying to challenge your faith. And yes, I suggest all kids learn all about other positions in many aspects of life, including matters of religion.

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My Husband went to catholic school ALL HIS LIFE. from kindergarten to PhD. At about same age (12-14), he also decided that he doesn't believe in God. BUT, That doesn't stop him been a wonderful/trusted person. He never ever will choose to do anything wrong, he never even told a lie. For him, doesn't believe in God simply means he doesn't look for or rely on anything that he doesn't know it really exits. He put all the responsibility and faith on himself and people around him. And I can't say I see anything wrong with it.

 

BTW, he wasn't "Angry". His decision simply based on logic and his scientific understanding. I can't say I agree with him on his rational, but I respect that.

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I apologize for offending you. I did mention that this isn't always true, but has been frequently true for the people I know. I was responding to the OP's question about encouraging faith, not trying to challenge your faith. And yes, I suggest all kids learn all about other positions in many aspects of life, including matters of religion.

 

I'm not offended (I must have missed the part where you challenging my, um, "faith?"), and your bolded text makes me think you don't get the gist of what I was saying.

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OP - I don't think giving him books to try and make him believe again will be helpful. Right now what he needs is answers to his questions, which I think are valid ones. He also needs your support. He is 14. He's trying to determine what he believes. He might always be an atheist, or he might decide your or some other religion is right for him. Just love him, and remember he's still your boy.

 

 

Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith. The way you approach that is MUCH different than the way you would approach someone who basically said they were agnostic because it wasn't logical and couldn't be proven one way or another.

 

As an atheist living on the border of the Bible belt, I befriend as many fellow atheists as I can. I don't know any, including myself, who became atheists based on anger. We all came to it through questioning and research. Personally, I came to it by actually reading the Bible. Now some (not all) atheists become angry after they let go of belief, but that's usually because believers in their lives are trying to make them believe again. Greta Christina is an atheist blogger who wrote about why atheists are so angry. *WARNING: She is angry, very angry. She uses some colorful language.*. I'm not an angry atheist, but I do understand her points.

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He sees the need for God to explain anything as unnecessary. He has a wonderful moral compass and embraces life. He simply already has decided that God is a simple way for people to explain things science cannot yet explain. He gets annoyed by what he sees as silliness and illogical thought.

 

Thank you for those of you who do not have faith in God and still see the wonder in life! I will look through several of the readings suggested .... I know this is a personal journey for him, but want him to think through all sides -- though I know faith isn't about "thought." ;-).

 

Oh, and yes, it is God, not just organized religion. He is certain, though, Christianity is no different from the myths of ancient Rome and Greece.

 

Definitely get Mere Chrsitianity! Very logical, not preachy. The ONLY thing that makes my 13 year old skeptic even consider there might be a God.

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I have been atheist all my life I have no lack of wonder whatsoever. I just don't get religion at all and why people even need to have faith/believe in a god or creator.

 

My dad was bought up in a very religious family and was an atheist. I would say he was fairly angry atheist and that anger increased as he aged but that was probably more due to the way his family used religion to belittle, control and manipulate and his realisation of that abuse. I think any angry atheists you come across may have had similar experiences to him but I think they are still in the minority of atheists.

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Not everyone has the ability to have "faith". This does not mean they are less than those who find fulfillment in religion, or will live their lives "missing something". Meaning, wonder and fulfillment are very present in my life and in the lives of the athiests and agnostics I love. Sometimes amongst ourselves we call ourselves "reverent athiests", meaning that we live in constant awe of humans, the universe, and love. Personally, instead of requiring your son to read more apologetics, which rarely hold water for those of us with this bent, I've give him Dawkins' Magic of Reality, Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, and books by Joseph Campbell, encouraging him in his own path and toward his own humanity. These are not angry books. If he comes back around to religion on his own, good for him, but then he will understand this side of himself even more.

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Oh, and yes, it is God, not just organized religion. He is certain, though, Christianity is no different from the myths of ancient Rome and Greece.

 

 

I'm curious how many other religions he has looked into though. Many arguments I hear for atheism are based on the Judeo-Christian explanation of things. He is on his own journey, and we can't predict where that will take him. Logical reasoning will hopefully bring him to continue having a strong moral compass.

 

Would you be more at ease if he chose a different religion rather than no religion at all? If so, maybe a course in World Religions would be beneficial.

 

Honestly, it would hurt a lot if my younger daughter chose a different path (my older daughter's dad is not the same religion as I am, so I'm not keeping my hopes up as high since she has shared time with him). I would personally be more at ease if she was actively searching and came to a different conclusion than if she just chose to follow the crowd. I would try to pinpoint what your goals are, and go from there. I think he's old enough that you can be pretty honest with him about how you feel and your hopes for him.

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Personally, instead of requiring your son to read more apologetics, which rarely hold water for those of us with this bent, I've give him Dawkins' Magic of Reality, Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, and books by Joseph Cambell, encouraging him in his own path and toward his own humanity. These are not angry books. If he comes back around to religion on his own, good for him, but then he will understand this side of himself even more.

 

 

My eldest carried DHW around for a month, reading and rereading it. She also enjoyed a book called Believing Bullsh#t by Stephen Law. It doesn't take a stand on the existence or nonexistence of gods (though it doesn't spare illogical arguments put forth by some believers, such as in support of a young Earth) but shows how we get trapped in internally consistent belief systems that don't hold up when confronted by outside evidence, whether it be alien visitations or lucky shirts.

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I haven't read all the responses, but I just wanted to pipe in as a faithful Catholic who went through a long period of agnosticism/atheism before returning to the Church:

1) It is good to doubt and question. You can't have a real living faith if you have never thought deeply about it. So his questioning is a good thing! And a sign of intelligence.

2) It is a myth that somehow Christianity and science don't mix. Nonsense. Just ask the physicists and astronomers that work for the Vatican! One however, deals with the natural world and the other the supernatural world. They are not meant to cancel each other out but rather to complement each other. Truth can not contradict truth!

3) There are many math and science oriented people who believe in God.

4) Why is he being so literal about Cain and Abel for example? It seems he is seeing things in a very black and white manner. Either it is a myth or it is factually true. This is not the way Catholics read the bible. He needs to learn how real Catholics do Biblical exegesis.

5) Cain and Abel came way before Romulus and Remus. So it was the Romans who copped the story from the Hebrews, not the other way around :).

 

One good way to start addressing all this is to maybe read The Everlasting Man by Chesterton together. It is a real intellectual exercise and Chesterton is so good at exploding assumptions scientism makes when it comes to understanding the human condition and man's relationship with God. Plus you will laugh at out loud at Chesterton's wit. Also, Father Robert Barron, a great intellectual, came out with a wonderful dvd series called Catholicism. That might make him really think about what he is rejecting from his rather narrow point of view and shallow depth of knowledge.

 

Also, it is very true that you can't control your children's faith life. Thankfully, it is a life long journey! You can pray and talk to him respectfully and encourage further study.

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If you see Christianity as part of "childhood wonder," then you see God like Santa Claus. There's nothing of value that was lost, then.

 

A "logical mind" has nothing to do with believing in God or not. Until people STOPPED teaching logic, the evidence for God was considered so overwhelming by the educated that atheism was seen as a position that was extremely shaky from any rational perspective.

 

Why on earth would he think that Cain and Abel, which predated Romulus and Remus in the written record for approximately 1000 years, ,would be a "ripoff" of R&R and not the reverse? That isn't logical. It's silly.

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My 8 and 11 yr old have declared they're atheist. They have in no way lost their childhood sense of wonder at all. In fact, I'd say they have more of a sense of wonder about the world and people.

 

 

I think it's okay to support him even if you don't agree. You can say to him, "I respect what you believe. Here is what I believe/feel....." Leave it at that.

 

Of course my opinion is coming from the perspective of an atheist. :) I don't believe a person is missing anything or is damned in any way by not believing in God.

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I have been atheist all my life I have no lack of wonder whatsoever. I just don't get religion at all and why people even need to have faith/believe in a god or creator.

 

My dad was bought up in a very religious family and was an atheist. I would say he was fairly angry atheist and that anger increased as he aged but that was probably more due to the way his family used religion to belittle, control and manipulate and his realisation of that abuse. I think any angry atheists you come across may have had similar experiences to him but I think they are still in the minority of atheists.

 

I agree 100%! I don't get the need either and my experience is much the same as your husbands:(

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Hugs. I know by watching my own parents the heartache that parents feel when their children give up religion early. I was 14. I have never gone back. My parents love and respect me. The proudest moment in my life came when my dad told me that I was raising wonderful and kind boys. See, Dad had told me when I was pregnant with my oldest that there was no way I could without religion.

 

Religion does not measure a person's worth. My advice to OP is to let him be. My parents pushed me further down my path away from the church. I wouldn't have hated the church for so long if they hadn't. Now, I'm not angry anymore. But it took me a long time to get there.

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He sees the need for God to explain anything as unnecessary. He has a wonderful moral compass and embraces life. He simply already has decided that God is a simple way for people to explain things science cannot yet explain. He gets annoyed by what he sees as silliness and illogical thought.

 

Thank you for those of you who do not have faith in God and still see the wonder in life! I will look through several of the readings suggested .... I know this is a personal journey for him, but want him to think through all sides -- though I know faith isn't about "thought." ;-).

 

Oh, and yes, it is God, not just organized religion. He is certain, though, Christianity is no different from the myths of ancient Rome and Greece.

 

Yes, there are many wonder filled things in the universe. Scientists and science-minded people are usually filled with amazement and wonder at all of the things they study. They just study them in ways others do not. It doesn't lessen their enthusiasm for the wonders of the cosmos, though.

 

Your son sounds like a excellent person. The only thing I would see as a caution is the bolded above. While he may be annoyed by what others believe, it is important to teach him to keep those feelings of annoyance in check. He can believe what he likes, but others may believe what they like as well. If hearing about other beliefs annoys him, then I would guide him in ways to avoid such discussions or change the subject politely. Usually, when believers hear that you don't believe what they do, they get annoyed, too. Unless he wants to spend all his time arguing the subject, he had better learn how to avoid/divert those discussions.

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I'll chime in to say that I thought it was horribly wriiten. Boring and illogical. Then again, I think all of his books are tripe.

 

 

I will agree. It was being told to read Mere Christianity (and then reading it) that was the nail in the coffin of belief-in-God for me. I stopped believing around the same age as the OP's son, but really I don't know if I ever truly believed at all. It was just that around that age I read all of the Bible several times through and thought that it just held no divine value at all. I tried to be "faithful" because I wanted to please my parents and because I liked the people at our church, but it was hollow. Later, in my late teens/early 20's I tried again, read and read, finally read Lewis and.... that sealed the deal for me. I stopped trying anymore and just accepted that I don't believe. It was very freeing not to have to pretend I was something I was not anymore.

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I was very religious until my uncle gave me a children's bible as a gift. I was 9. I read it cover to cover and cried, because it completely destroyed my faith. I do think that my friends who are religious find life more bearable in some situations, but I might just have a greater wonder of the universe.

I felt very harrassed when my uncle kept trying to bring me back to religion, so I would be weary about how much pressure you put on him.

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I might of missed it, but, has anyone mentioned Lee Strobel's books? The Case for ... (Christ, Faith, God) He is an athesist turned Christian, Yale educated attorney and an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. My engineer daughter loved his style and it lead to some great conversations in and outside the family.

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2) It is a myth that somehow Christianity and science don't mix. Nonsense. Just ask the physicists and astronomers that work for the Vatican! One however, deals with the natural world and the other the supernatural world. They are not meant to cancel each other out but rather to complement each other. Truth can not contradict truth! 3) There are many math and science oriented people who believe in God.

 

Yes, yes, yes! It was science that proved to my DH that there is a God. He wasn't sure what he thought about God. Then he became a pre-med major and took human dissection. The amazement and wonder that is the human body convinced him that there is a higher power.

 

It's sad to me that somehow science and belief have come to mean something incompatible. It'd be awful if our belief in God meant we had to turn off the logic that He gave us? It wouldn't make any sense.

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My dad is an atheist, as are my brother, SIL, and all my nieces. I am too and we are raising our children as such. None of us lack any wonder in the world, and we are constantly in awe of our surroundings, so do not worry that he is somehow losing a part of his childhood. I have studied numerous world religions and while I find them fascinating, I have never been tempted to "believe" in one.

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You have all given me a tremendous amount to consider and resources to investigate that would allow him further explanation, if he chooses. I will examine some of the suggested texts and inform him they are available -- on all sides of the issue. The most important theme I see is that I cannot force belief (and I know that), and that I could inadvertently push him further down his current path (though he may be happy to stay there, anyway :-). And, you are right -- a spiritual journey cannot be controlled by another person.

 

And, to clarify, notice the Romulus and Remus episode was kindergarten -- his dates were off...but he was already making connections that most kindergartner's would not. The priest at our church did handle things well, explaining that God's stories are told again and again and in ways that different groups can understand :-). That was just the beginning, lol. Gilgamesh and the Arc, Plato theory of forms and the Holy Trinity, etc. He simply makes connections that I never made as a child (nor do I even fully make now ;-).

 

Anyway, I am working through his thoughts myself -- and will keep reading and studying on my own, too. THANK YOU.

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Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith.

 

 

 

 

You and I run in a different crowd. I've never heard anything like this, and I bet I've have a higher % of non-believing friends, over the years, than the majority of people here. Starting with a large family of non-believers.

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My son lost his faith around age 15. He actually had faith to lose which is the sad part. One day he refused to go to church-- I said to him snidely, "since when do you stand up for anything on principle? You can sit there and be polite for 45 minutes." So he still goes to church but if he could give me a reasoned explanation (other than "you're stupid") for not wanting to go I wouldn't force him. He has his own path to walk so I'm letting him walk it. It makes me very sad to think that one day he might be old and alone without even faith to comfort him. (That "alone" part has nothing to do with faith... he has a lot of growing up to do if he ever plans to be husband or boyfriend material, which he currently very much is not.)

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Most of the athiests I've known didn't come to their position based on logic but based on anger - they were angry at Christianity, angry at God for letting terrible things happen in the world, or they didn't really care about anything but intellectualism and had come to the conclusion that you couldn't be an intellectual and have faith.

 

 

 

And then there are the atheists who just don't see it, relate to it or believe it based on their observations and values.

 

While the atheists you know were apparently former angry Christians, most that I know just were never Christian (or any another faith.)

 

ETA: If someone is angry at God, by definition they can't be an atheist. You can't be mad with someone you don't believe exists.

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As a life-long atheist who became Christian just five years ago, I say leave him alone. This is his journey and pushing him will most likely end up with him falling further away. I, too, looked for logic in it all. That was my mistake. Faith came to me when I least expected it. I had ceased looking for it years and years before. It was on my own time and through my own methods that I came to Christianity. Any attempts to convince me of the truth simply left me feeling superior and disdainful. Faith just isn't something one can be convinced of, in my experience. Pray for him, tell him you're there for him if he wants to talk or ask for resources (abut Christianity or anything else), but don't push him.

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And, to clarify, notice the Romulus and Remus episode was kindergarten -- his dates were off...but he was already making connections that most kindergartner's would not. The priest at our church did handle things well, explaining that God's stories are told again and again and in ways that different groups can understand :-). That was just the beginning, lol. Gilgamesh and the Arc, Plato theory of forms and the Holy Trinity, etc.

Hang on... the priest said that? If I'm understanding the context of the exchange correctly, his explanation doesn't reflect Catholic teaching, and could have contributed to your son's thinking that the Bible is just like other stories. In considering how your son might have felt on being told this, I'm reminded of Flannery O'Connor's remark about the Eucharist -- "Well, if it's a symbol, to h-!! with it."

 

Maybe the priest was confused about the topic himself, or maybe he was fobbing your son off because he was a kindergartener (which is a very common attitude that can do a lot of damage, especially with precocious children). Either way, it sounds like he was out of his depth. And now your son is out of his depth. These sorts of things he's noticed have been discussed by both Christians and non-Christians for many centuries, with some very interesting results, but going by what you've said here, I very much doubt that he has the background in theology and philosophy that would be necessary to join in on that branch of the "Great Conversation." Of course, you might not get too far telling a clever 14 year old that. ;)

 

I do agree with those who said that C.S. Lewis probably isn't the way to go. To me, Lewis is a bit of a lightweight on some topics, and his writings on Christianity are better suited to believers than to skeptics (same goes for Peter Kreeft). Not knowing you or your son, I wouldn't know what to suggest for either of you, but you can't go wrong by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance as to how to grow in faith and wisdom. And on a human note, the posters on the "Crossing the Tiber" thread might be able to offer a few ideas, too.

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