How should a Non-Religious Person answer his Children’s Questions about God?

A year ago I faced the big question from my young children:  “Is Santa Claus real?  Our friends say he isn’t.”  I had taught my children to believe in Santa Claus.  I grew up believing in Santa Claus.  I believe that the story of Santa and his reindeer is a wonderful childhood belief.  I knew that in time they would grow out of it, so no harm done.  So how did I answer this question?  My answer:  “Santa only exists if you want him to.”

Last year, I joined the approximately 20% of Americans who identify as non-religious.  I am a secularist; a non-theist.  Now I had another major dilemma to deal with:  What do I say to my children when they ask me about God? 

Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious 

This question is discussed in a new book, “Relax, It’s just God” by author, Wendy Thomas Russell.  I watched an interview with her on PBS tonight that was very interesting.  The interviewer was asking her how she, as a non-religious parent, answers her own children’s questions about God. 

—Immediately upon hearing the interviewer’s question,  my seven year old sitting on the sofa next to me blurted out, “God only exists if you want him to!”—

I didn’t even think he was paying attention to the news!

(Back to the newscast) The author responded that when asked this question she tells her children, “Well, some people believe God is like this, and others believe that God is like this, and as your Mommy, I don’t believe in God.  But any of these options is ok.  When you are older you can choose which of these beliefs you want to believe.”

I think my approach is easier.  I do not tell my children that God exists or doesn’t exist.  I don’t tell them what to believe about God or religion; they are free to believe in God or to not believe in God.  It is their choice.

So, months ago, when my young children asked me, “Is God real?”  What was my response?  But you already know:  “God only exists if you want him to.”

          
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3 thoughts on “How should a Non-Religious Person answer his Children’s Questions about God?

  1. What if God does exist but you don't want Him to? VS What if God does not exist but you do want Him to? Who has more to lose should they be wrong?

    Like

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