4 Things Your Kids Should Know About Atheists
By Natasha Crain
This week I had the opportunity to be on the radio program Cross Defense with Rev. Rod Zwonitzer (KFUO-AM 850 in St. Louis). We discussed the common atheist claim that believing in God is evidentially the same as believing in Santa, why that claim offers a great opportunity to talk to your kids about the evidence for God at Christmas, whether Christians should include Santa in their Christmas celebrations, and how to keep your kids focused on Jesus this time of year. If you’re interested, you can hear the whole interview online here.
In the course of our conversation, Rod asked what I think is the biggest challenge to kids’ faith today. As I’ve written about before, I said it’s undoubtedly atheism. The percent of atheists in America is quickly rising, and those atheists are often quite vocal about their rejection of religion. Our kids are more likely to hear faith challenges from atheists than from any other group. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that we proactively help our kids understand the atheist worldview (here are 14 ways to do so).
It’s also important that we help our kids have an accurate view of atheists themselves.
I’ve talked to my kids (ages 7 and 5) a lot before about the fact that not everyone believes in God, but I realized a couple of weeks ago that we haven’t talked much about atheists as people. Today I’ll share some highlights from our conversation that you can use as talking points with your own kids (of any age).
Here are four things your kids should know about atheists.
1. Atheists can be just as friendly and moral, if not more so, than Christians.
I opened our conversation by asking, “Do you think atheists can be nice people and do good things even though they don’t believe in God?” My kids looked at me a little skeptically, sensing a trick question, then my daughter said, “No, they would probably be mean.”
That was a perfect opportunity to clarify the difference between belief and behavior. I explained that all people, regardless of what they believe about God, can be nice and do good things…and all people, regardless of what they believe about God, can be mean and do bad things. I emphasized that you can’t necessarily tell what someone believes by how they behave.
When you explain the difference between belief and behavior, it’s a great time to then make three crucial points…
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