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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sunday School for Atheists

I’ve often wandered what atheists do on Sunday mornings. Well, according to a story in TIME magazine I read a couple of years ago, apparently more and more are taking their children to Sunday school.

"When you have kids, you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on," the magazine quoted Julie Willey as saying. Consequently, she and her husband, both atheists, would weekly take their four children to the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, California, for what they called atheist Sunday school.

The Willey’s are not alone in their quest for non-religious training. Other communities of non-faith have sprung up in locations as diverse as Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Oregon. Moreover, more and more secular camps are opening up for children of atheists.

Bri Kneisley was one parent, who sent her son to a camp saying, "He's a child of atheist parents, and he's not the only one in the world." She became aware that she needed to teach her son her secular values after the child of one of her neighbors began to show her son the Bible. "[My son] was quite certain this guy was right and was telling him this amazing truth that I had never shared." So Kneisley made the decision to be proactive in sharing her faith.

More and more atheistic parents are coming to grips with a truth that fewer and fewer Christian parents recognize: the importance of parents actively sharing their faith with their children. They are taking pages out of the church’s playbook to assist them in their mission. Maybe that is one reason why their numbers are growing, while Christian numbers (some studies show that 18 out of 20 children of evangelical Christians grow up to leave the faith) are shrinking.

1 comment:

  1. We need to add our kids to the 'mission field' list. A speaker at the conference said: "A missionary learns the language of the culture. And also, 'the devil is an evangelist'. If we want to reach the new 'culture', we need to learn to speak the language of the culture. We just aren't willing to do that much.