my little brother asked me (an atheist) about god the other day..

Canada
August 4, 2007 9:38pm CST
my brother is 10. he went to christian school last summer and he finally understood it and it got to him... it started with "heaven" he asked me if i believe in it, and i said no... he asked me why? i told him he is too young to know why but he persisted. i first told him that these are my feelings towards it and he MUST NOT accept it, he must question everything i am about to explain to him and dont accept anything just because i think it is right. i told him that the idea is illogical, and there is no proof for it... i of course had to explain what that meant... "too much of a good thing", how to know something exists... you know, those types of critical arguments against heaven.. he seemed to accept it. then he asked me if i believe in god, and i said no. i again told him he was too young for me to explain this stuff to him but he kept wanting to know so i explained again that there is no proof of god.. he then, gave his own example of their being no proof of god... he explained that he had prayed before, but it didnt come true... and that is why he had doubts of god as well.. he asked me again, what happens when you die? then i said, you go to a more "peaceful place", not like heaven, not like hell, but where everything is neutral always. he said that would get boring.. and i said no, because boring is a negative thing, and you cant get bored in this neutral peaceful land because if you did, it would be a "negative place" which would be equivalent to hell (same as hell*). he agreed with me that there is no proof, but i kept telling him not to agree with me, and question every word i say. i was about to tuck him in when he asked me if i "hate god" and i said, "i dont believe in god, so i cant hate him" but really i was thinking "there is no god for me to hate". then i explained how it was a good thing NOT to believe in god, mainly because we can make our own destiny and it is not pre-written by some guy.. ofcourse i had to explain my whole freewill vs omnipotence thing.. but he understood very well that they cant both exist. i told him again, not to accept anything i say, or anyone says, at face value, and question everything. he agreed. and i said goodniight. do you think i took the right path when he asked me this? what would you have done? PS: i was against the whole christian school thing but my mother had no place to put him and a couple of his friends were going there and she really thought that this would have no effect on his religious beliefs.. you see how vulnerable children are? i would use no other word than "brainwash"
8 people like this
12 responses
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
5 Aug 07
So you talk about children being brainwashed to believe in God and now you attempt to brainwash your little brother to not believe in God. You should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you can repair the damage you have done and I hope he resists you. Because if he does not, there is a saying about it would be better that a millstone be placed on you and you are dropped in the midst of the sea.
• Canada
5 Aug 07
it seems like your a complete idiot.. im sorry but every time i have a discussion you say something completly idiotic, i dont care if you give me a negative for this because you must understand that i told him to deny everything i tell him.. if you read my discussion again, you will understand that i told him to question everything i said something that religion does not do.... screw you man, thers too bad there isnt a hell for you to go to.
3 people like this
• Thailand
5 Aug 07
As my friend from Thailand from the first answer would say, Jai yen, Keep a cool heart. If animosity enteres here this discussion will be dilated just as a previous on was that I was enjoying.
1 person likes this
@Latrivia (2890)
• United States
5 Aug 07
You obviously didn't read his post correctly. He stressed to his brother that those were only his opinions, and that his brother should question even his opinions. That's not brainwashing, that's giving him information and encouraging him to use critical thinking skills to assess that information. He even told his brother not to take what he said at face value. It's you who should be ashamed for jumping to conclusions and wasting no time in throwing the first stone at someone you deem a sinner.
1 person likes this
@Latrivia (2890)
• United States
5 Aug 07
I think you did pretty good; that's about what I would have done. I've had a few talks like that with my younger brother before. Normally when I express my views about theology or politics I normally make it a point to tell him that these are only my opinions; they are not facts, and I'd kick his butt if he took everything I said seriously without first bothering to question it. Yes, I do threaten to beat my brother up - but it's all in jest (especially since he's a foot taller than me and could probably break me in half). But it gets the point across, I'd hope. The most important thing I could want my brother to do is learn to think for himself. If he can't do that, he'll grow up to be another faceless sheep in a herd of nameless, faceless, un-original sheep. Although, I wouldn't use 'brainwash' to describe the situation. At least your brother asked you about your beliefs - that right there is good news itself. Knowing multiple opinions is the first step to forming your own opinion on a matter. Mind you, if a child does know how, or doesn't want to question what they learn, they never will. In my opinion, that in itself is the issue.
2 people like this
• Canada
5 Aug 07
thats very true, he did ask... it started when we were watching a TV show and this cartoon character went to heaven... + i wrestle with my brother all the time =D
1 person likes this
• India
5 Aug 07
He asked you, and you shared what you thought was right. That is ok. But the concept of heaven is not illogical... of course, it depends on how you define heaven. one can define it in such a way that by definition heaven becomes illogical, but the other way round is also possible. And I don't know how you've defined. whether it is the muslims' understanding of heaven or that of hindu or atheist or Christians. As much as there is no proof of God so much so is there no disproof of God. It is only by inference that one may say that God is there or God is not there. Whichever way it is one must make a leap of faith. To be an atheist because there is no proof for God is intellectually untenable. In such a case one must be an agnostic. Freewill and omnipotence are not contradicting ideas. of course, again it depends on how one defines it. But most religion will not define it in contradicting terms.
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Aug 07
yes thank you.. but, the atheist is not burdened with having to prove that god does not exist, you cannot prove a negative. the theist is the one who needs proof, not the atheist. you don't need proof to prove god is non existent. also, to create "will", one must be existent. god knows our will before we existed. therefore, god created our will, not us.
1 person likes this
• India
6 Aug 07
I don't think so. Because atheist is one who says 'there is no god'. There is knowledge of negative affirmation. Agnostic is one who says there is no proof so I don't believe...Theist is one who says 'there is god' and that involves knowledge of positive affirmation. If one is an atheist or a theist there is the burden to prove whatever position one holds, but it is spared for the agnostics. I am using the definition of an atheist according to Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, by Edwards. To say 'there is no god' is a philosophically self-defeating statement. And to my knowledge, therefore, we hardly have classical philosophers who are atheists...they prefer its softer version i.e. agnosticism.
• Canada
6 Aug 07
no no its not a matter of i think so, or not, its a fact. if i say X exists, i need proof. you dont even know about X until it is introduced to you, and if the proof is introduced and it does not meet your requirements (in this case, scientific requirements to prove something as FACT), it is not accepted by you. you dont need evidence at all. all atheists are agnostics in the way that we claim that we do not know if there is a god, however, it does not meet requirements to be known as a FACT. that is why, there is no god. if a tree falls in a wasteland and no living thing is there, does it make a sound? you cant prove the sound exists, therefore, there is no sound.
1 person likes this
@sunshinecup (7882)
5 Aug 07
No I don't think you did wrong, lying to him would have been wrong, you were completely honest about your feelings and thoughts on this and thus can't be wrong. I say that as Christian. We can only be honest about our selves and I don’t think God wants his followers coming to him under deception. If you lied and told him “yes there is a God” and all these things you yourself have not found yet, THAT would have been a lie on your part since you don’t believe it. You did right in saying to him to question what you said, and I believe in time when he is older, he will, just as you will continue to question what you think right now until you have found the answer. I do have a question, you believe when we die we go to a neutral place, so does that mean you believe in a soul?
1 person likes this
6 Aug 07
Thanks for the answer, I kind of figured you didn't believe in a soul, but I just wanted to be sure.
• Canada
6 Aug 07
yea, i mean, if i did believe in "soul" it would be contradictory to my lack of belief in god.. right? contradictions are something i am strictly against (IE human freewill VS god's omnipotence)
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Aug 07
I like your saying he MUST NOT accept what your saying and question everything...regardless on your beliefs and standards, you just gave your brother a life lesson, which is priceless. I'm gonna use your saying as my own but you'll get full credit promise.
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Aug 07
haha thats fine.. im sure im not the first who said it.
2 people like this
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
5 Aug 07
No you were not wrong. I have my own personal beliefs about things and I would not want anyone to lie to my children if they questioned my belif system. Religion and the whole is there or is there not a God is so vague...no one really knows for sure. I would want my child to hear all viewpoints and come to his own conclusions which I would hope would be everchanging as there is no right or wrong answer here. Yes..question everything!! I personally do not conform to any religous structure. I also do not consider myself an atheist as I am very spiritual. My girls are free to believe whatever they choose. I have one daughter that absolutely does not believe in God or a higher power...it is her right and who knows...maybe she is right!
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Aug 07
yes, i agree with you.. however, the religious answer to what you said is "what if shes wrong??" in which, she will surely go to hell.. that is why i think that any religion outside of organized religion, (which i mainly call "spirituality") is not a bad thing at all, at least you can think freely..
1 person likes this
@santuccie (3377)
• United States
6 Aug 07
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (Romans 1:20) Just look around you and ask yourself, "Did all this happen by accident? Am I an accident?" If you believe that, then you are selling yourself short, as well as everyone you have ever told that you loved them. But if you can possibly conceive the idea that it might take a bit more than just a "big bang" to create something as awesome as this universe, then you've just transitioned from atheism to agnosticism, and possibly even faith. My pastor recently told me that when self-proclaimed atheists tell him mathematics hold the answers to every question in the universe, he asked them, "How do you explain love? Is it just a rush of protons in a positive direction? Try telling that one to your wife, and see how she reacts to it." The "proof" is all around you, friend. You're ignoring it, and taking everything for granted. All these theories about this "neutral" place, and the inability for free will and omnipotence to coexist, are your own creation. They make no more sense than the book of Genesis itself. But at least Genesis still manages to teach morality. I am glad you at least told your little brother not to simply believe you, and to question everything he is told. Not that I think nonconformity should be encouraged to the point of rebellion, but I do believe that questioning is a vital defense mechanism. If we question nothing, we are easily "brainwashed." "If you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything." We become no more intelligent than lemmings, following the leader right off a cliff. When I started to question God, I transitioned from blind faith to faith by revelation. I hope someday you will too. Good luck to you.
• Canada
6 Aug 07
to say that there is a god is to say that the human life is meaningless in comparison. to say that we were created by this sort of being makes the miracle of life, much less of a miracle. love, like every feeling, is a bunch of amino acids in your brain that react with other parts of your brain to produce electrical impulses.. you may not get this feeling with everyone. there is no proof. im not ignorant. free will cannot coexist with god, this is not my creation. conformity is always bad, in my opinion... unless I am the leader.. faith and blind faith are the same thing. i used to believe, but i grew out of it. just like how i used to believe in santa, and the fairy god mother, and the tooth fairy... god is just another fantasy story, especially the god of the bible. good luck to you too.. and im sorry, even if i do exercise the notion that i will one day become a theist (or become 100% atheist), i will never, and i mean NEVER, believe in any sort of organized religion..
1 person likes this
@santuccie (3377)
• United States
6 Aug 07
"to say that there is a god is to say that the human life is meaningless in comparison." Does this notion disturb you? "to say that we were created by this sort of being makes the miracle of life, much less of a miracle." Sometimes life is that way. I once thought that computers were magic, until I learned how they worked. "love, like every feeling, is a bunch of amino acids in your brain that react with other parts of your brain to produce electrical impulses.. you may not get this feeling with everyone." Great, but if amino acids control love, then what happens to free will? "there is no proof. im not ignorant." I didn't call you ignorant, I said you were ignoring the proof that is all around you. Ignorant means uninformed. It means you don't know any better. Stupidity means dullness of mind. The two are not the same thing. "free will cannot coexist with god, this is not my creation." Whose creation is this, then? Let me see some bibliography. "conformity is always bad, in my opinion... unless I am the leader.." Now I'm starting to get the picture. "faith and blind faith are the same thing." When you flick a switch, you assume a light will come on. This is not blind faith. Sorry to bust your bubble. "i used to believe, but i grew out of it. just like how i used to believe in santa, and the fairy god mother, and the tooth fairy... god is just another fantasy story, especially the god of the bible." Tell Him that when you meet Him. "good luck to you too.. and im sorry, even if i do exercise the notion that i will one day become a theist (or become 100% atheist), i will never, and i mean NEVER, believe in any sort of organized religion.." When did I ask you to believe in any sort of organized relition? And when did I ask you to believe in God Himself? I'm just expressing my point of view. And never will I tell you that any one organized religion is correct. There are three reasons why I use the Holy Bible for reference: 1) It is purportedly some of the oldest written "history" we have 2) It's what I'm familiar with 3) I believe in the four gospels. I'm not telling you, or even asking you, to believe in my understanding of God. I'm just suggesting to you that this universe does have a rhythm and purpose; that it has a conscious, intelligent Creator. What He/She/It looks like to you, what His/Her/Its name is...is anyone's guess. I have books that tell me God's name is "Yahweh," or "Jehovah," or "Jesus," or "Allah," but I don't really know. I do believe that a man called "Jesus" walked the Earth some 2,000 years ago, was killed, and was resurrected. Do I have any proof of this? No. You might say this is where my blind faith begins. But I fail to see the notion of a "creative intelligence" as being blind faith; I think I have more proof of this than of your claim that free will and omnipotence cannot co-exist. There are people who believe in a creative intelligence, yet do not go to any church. It was one of these people who actually helped me break away from the dogmatic, anti-Trinity views of the Kingdom Hall. You can believe in God, and not in organized religion. I still hope God reveals Himself to you one day. If and when He does, I hope you share it with another. Not forcibly, of course, but you know what I mean. Again, good luck to you.
• Canada
6 Aug 07
1. no, because there is no god lol 2. computers cant compare. 3. and that is the great free will debate (the one beyond god). its quantum physics vs classical physics... i personally believe in quantum.. but it is, a belief. 4. ignoring proof is ignorance. and there is no proof. 5. go read a book, this isnt an exam LOL! 6. its not faith because you know the facts. 7. too bad i wont. 8. the bible isnt the oldest crap we have.. why dont mark and john know anything about jesus born of a virgin? i have come to realize that the purpose of the universe is not prewritten, for if there is a purpose we are nothing more than robots without free will. we need to find our own purpose.
1 person likes this
@Nanette99 (220)
• Canada
9 Aug 07
I have a 10 year old brother in Catholic school. Last year he asked me if I believed in God. I told him that I believed God is spirit created by, and living in the hearts of people. It is a presence people have created to help them look at things from another perspective and help guide them to do the right thing, the thing they are capbable of doing all on their own with or without a God. I told him that I did not believe in God so much as I believe goodness of people, and their desire to achieve and live up to the standards of something that is bigger and more enlightened than themselves. I am not so sure he understood everything I said but I know he did get it when I told him that he needs to believe in himself above all else and everything (including his belief system)will fall into place for him from there.
• Canada
10 Aug 07
thats cool i guess, good job..
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
8 Aug 07
No you were not wrong. You made it clear that he should question everything. I look at the teachings in a lot of world religions and I see a lot of good there, as well as the crazy stuff. It was not you who did the brainwashing just make sure he decides for himself.
• Canada
9 Aug 07
i think that the good things in religion only come through the good nature of humanity.. and simple ethics.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Aug 07
i no like kohn like dat dey no goot.dey no like god,dey no no noting. i like god,i no belip in god,but Buddha say,He ebeewhere.god in tlee, god in sky,god in water.god in moutain.he no like people say stup thing like dat.he punnit people for dat.dey do long,dey no good.god's good. you like god,you good.nobody pehfect.Buglih chawp my.
• Canada
5 Aug 07
k, thanks for your response, (that was very hard to read) lol... buddhism is kind of like an atheistic religion because it is not the same omnipotent conscious god..
1 person likes this
@agnescav (566)
• United States
7 Aug 07
I think your brother must have had some idea of your beliefs before he asked you about them, which shows that he is trying to put things in perspective and figure out what he believes. The hardest thing for him to do will be to understand that his own believing in something will make it true, even if it is only true for him! Since he asked you, you had no choice but to tell him the truth.
• United States
6 Aug 07
Bravo!You handled it perfectly.Now it is up to your brother to choose his own path. Without or without G-d.And with a loving,understanding family he will be fine.But I agree with your brother, a "neutral, peaceful place seems boring to me.But i don't think of boring as a negative thing. I hope the end is as busy, positive or negative.I also believe man can make his own destiny because he has free will. And any education can be brainwashing to someone and I am glad your brother had the intuition to ask his wise brother.