Today’s question of the day comes from a reader who asks:
I raised my daughter without religion. She’s 19 now, and all her friends have something to belong to, her boyfriends make fun of her over what she puts on forms under “religious affiliation.” She has zero religious belief. I want to make her proud and confident about being an atheist. Do you have any suggestions?
Sounds to me like your daughter needs new friends. And not necessarily atheist friends, but people who will respect her beliefs or lack of beliefs. The majority of my friends and family are religious to some extent and this has never been an issue because we have respected each other’s beliefs if not disagreed on them. Contrary to what a lot of people who write me nasty emails might believe, I don’t have any problem with religious people as long as they don’t try to force me into their dogma. Granted, although I have many religious friends, I don’t think any of them can be considered orthodox or anywhere near a fundamentalist.
As to being a proud and confident atheist, I personally have never thought about it in those terms. I’ve never been proud nor ashamed of being an atheist. I had a well rounded education that led me from my catholic school beginnings to agnosticism and finally to atheism. The book that actually turned me into an atheist was the bible. The trick is to read the whole thing from cover to cover and not rely on excerpts that people are so fond to quote.
I suppose that had I read Dawkins, Ingersoll, or any other atheist books or websites I would have had more confidence in my atheism which probably would only have made the transition from Agnosticism faster. The best way I can think of for you to help your daughter when it comes to belief or disbelief is just to make sure she receives the best education that you can afford. Give her your support whether she’s an atheist or religious and you’ve done your job as a parent.
Does anybody else have anything to add or correct?