Why Even Atheists Should Teach Their Children about God

Why Even Atheists Should Teach Their Children about God

Why Even Atheists Should Teach Their Children about God

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As a therapist, Erica Komisar is often asked by parents, “How do I talk to my child about death if I don’t believe in God or heaven?” Her answer is always the same. Can you guess what it is?


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As a therapist, I’m often asked why depression and anxiety are so common among children and adolescents. One explanation—almost surely the most neglected—is declining interest in God and religion.

I see the consequences of this in my practice almost every day. 

And this is not merely my personal observation. A 2018 Harvard study involving 5,000 people examined how being raised in a family with religious beliefs affects the mental health of children. 

The study found that kids who attended a religious service at least once per week scored higher on psychological well-being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness.

Weekly attendance was also associated with higher rates of volunteerism, lower probabilities of both drug use and early sexual initiation, and a sense of purpose.

Yet, despite all the evidence that religious involvement leads to positive behaviors, Gallup reports that the U.S. has seen a 20% decrease in attendance at formal religious services in the past 20 years. In 2018, the American Family Survey revealed that nearly half of adults under 30 do not identify with any religion.

From a purely psychological point of view, this is not a good trend. 

Nihilism—the belief in nothing—is a rich fertilizer for anxiety and depression. In contrast, the belief in God—a guardian figure who loves us—is an invaluable source of support and comfort.

I am often asked by parents, “How do I talk to my child about death if I don’t believe in God or heaven?” 

My answer is always the same: 

“Fake it.”

There are a many things you don’t tell your children the full truth about.  For instance, if your children hear about a tragedy that has occurred in your community, you tell them that it will never happen to them. We don’t have a crystal ball and cannot know that bad things will not happen to our children, yet we reassure them with a hopeful narrative.

The same applies to believing in God and heaven.

Even if you believe that when your life ends, your bones turn to dust and you are gone for eternity, such beliefs don’t help children, they only scare them and create anxiety over death and dying. Belief in a benevolent God and a heaven does help children with their fear. 

In our current age of broken families, distracted parents, school violence, and nightmarish global-warming predictions, imagination plays a big part in children’s ability to cope. It is far better for kids to use their imagination constructing something positive—such as a God who cares about us—than the dark, nihilistic idea that there’s no creator and protector, and no purpose to our existence.

I am also frequently asked how parents can instill gratitude and empathy in their children. Again, the best answer is involvement in an organized religion. All traditional faiths encourage gratitude and empathy as antidotes to entitlement and selfishness. These are the building blocks of strong character. They also protect against depression and anxiety.

Additionally, religion provides children a chance for community. Being with people who share their faith can act as a buffer against the emptiness and isolation of modern culture. This is more necessary than ever in a world where teens can have hundreds of virtual friends and few real ones.

And religion helps teach children mindfulness, a sense of self-control, and discipline. Your young children might not be aware they are entering a house of worship, but they do know they’re supposed to act in an appropriate manner when they are there. They have to relax their bodies and calm their minds.

It is true that if you feel ambivalent about God and religion your children will likely follow your example.  However, if you practice religion or send your children to religious school knowing it is good for them, you might surprise yourself and get something meaningful out of it too.  In other words, your children may bring you back to faith. It’s certainly worth an extended experiment for their sake and for yours.

For the complete script as well as FACTS & SOURCES, visit https://www.prageru.com/video/why-even-atheists-should-teach-their-children-about-god


36 thoughts on “Why Even Atheists Should Teach Their Children about God

  1. Otterface

    When it comes to teaching, educating about the different religions and beliefs in the world is invaluable. As long as you're not only teaching your own religion and demanding people be taught only your religion. Based on my past viewing of PragerU, the latter is, without a doubt, the plan. They certainly don't want people being taught about Islam beyond 'everything I need to know about Islam occured on 9/11'. Even though their views are a lot more in line with Islam and radical islamic beliefs than not, as much as they really don't want to admit it.

    The description mentions how talking about turning bones to dust scares children and creates anxiety. I'd say telling a child that if they don't follow the religion right, they'll spend eternity in hell, suffering horrific pain would scare them a lot more.

    Based on the description alone, this is literally a feelings over facts video. Facts in the sense that you don't know what happens and have no facts to back up your point (therefore if you care about teaching facts, you shouldn't be saying 'fake it') and feelings in the sense that you are telling people to fake it in order to cater feelings and telling people something in order to make them feel happy. You don't need religion to learn about mindfulness, self control, discipline and community. If you think otherwise, that actually makes you look bad and tells that you'd go out of control, harm others and keep to yourself if you didn't have religion. Many horrific people throughout history had religious upbringing and yet that didn't stop them from committing horrific acts.

    The state of our world today has a lot more to do with capitalism than religion. If the world was the way it is because of the lack of religion, the most religious countries now would be heavens on earth. However, the most religious countries on earth would be countries that the likes of PragerU would call shithole countries.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  2. bawe shelah

    , when Christians teach their children about christ or raise them as Christians , it is called indoctrination by Atheists, but when atheists raise their children as atheist or teach their children atheism it's not indoctrination, I mean why the double standards? Why do atheists like to lecture religious people on how to raise their kids? Why do you want us to raise our kids in your own way, but you get offended when we may tell you to teach your children about God as well?
    It's like expecting a Hindu parent to raise their children in Judaism or teach their children about Hashem.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  3. E.K.

    I’m going to teach my kids about every major religion, as well as well as atheism. When they are old enough, they can decide for themselves what religion, if any, they choose to believe.

    Forcing your child to believe the religion you believe stifles their development as critical thinkers and moral individuals, narrowing their perspective and making it more difficult to interact with ideas, cultures, and people that are foreign to them.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  4. iamchillydogg

    I tell them we are all a small part of a greater cosmic consciousness which devolves and incarnates on this planet as a game the object of which is to evolve back to cosmic consciousness through a series of lifetimes.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  5. ErinCM TheMC

    For sure if you're American. For even if you are atheist the belief and reverence that created this amazing nation is history. It's no different than Christians teaching about the beliefs in different gods that created many aspects of ancient life.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  6. Lucas Lombardo

    Dislikes are at 63. In a few hours PragerU will erase more than half of them

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  7. ChargedChaos11

    It is impossible to know whether or not a god exists for certain. Why teach our children one way or another when we could let them find their own paths in life?

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  8. Maestrul Gamer

    I can already tell Dennis will be in this video speaking some BS!

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  9. Adolfo Lerito

    Sadly it seems as if the Left holds a monopoly on Atheism, but it doesn’t.
    I am a Right-wing Atheist myself, and we’re a growing bunch; people who love their country, culture and heritage (even the religious one) but simply think that God doesn’t exist. The very LAST thing that Conservative outlets should do would be to play the Left’s own game, applying the Leftist “us or them” rhetoric and help them push the idiotic, false argument that “only the Left can represent Atheists because the Right doesn’t want nor tolerates them”.

    This house of cards needs to fall. Especially as the Left supports ISLAM ever more furiously…

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  10. Randy C

    Even Atheism is a path to God. May be faster than church too?

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  11. Meachel Ruiz

    Everybody needs Jesus He is the savior of the world, but because people rejected God their understanding has become darkened claiming to be wise they became fools. The light has come into the world but people loved darkness more than the light because their deeds were evil.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply

    They will pay for not doing it……

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  13. Strike The Root

    I like PragerU and if the argument is to teach the kids about all mythology. then I agree. Understanding why people believe things. My kids know about Zeus, Thor and all of the other mythical gods including Yahweh. The history of humanity starts with the invention mythologies to explain the unexplainable. My kids understand that. I just wish some adults did as well. We'd have a lot fewer wars. As for death. My kids know that death is the end and they aren't the least bit frightened by it. I never tried to sugar coat it. All living things die and when they die they are gone forever. it is what it is. That's why it's so important to live a meaningful life, because it's the only one you'll have.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  14. Mitchell Coyoon

    Teach them about Santa and Jesus.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  15. Svampis

    I already hate it. Why don’t they just ban prageru off of YouTube already?

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  16. N o

    As a Christian, I am genuinely shivering at the advice prageru is about to provide. These people give us a bad name…

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  17. Lubor Mrázek

    my very very very atheist and very very very smart grandma told me the biblical stories and read bits of the bible to me

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  18. Lyfe of Lai

    Even as a skeptic, you should be educating yourself on different religions just so you know how to better interact with other people, know their customs (and their reasoning behind them), and understand how they think. I'm Christian, but I've read the Qur'an and studied other religions and content by skeptics as well. Knowing other people's belief systems is an invaluable tool.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  19. Tullius

    tsk tsk Prager. This is hypocritcal as you constantly rant against the Left indoctrinating children.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  20. AMonRA

    Military Hangs Susan Rice — Report by Michael Baxter -August 6, 2021

    The U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps on Wednesday hanged former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, just a month after a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay found her guilty of high treason and recommended that she be put to death for crimes committed against the nation and its citizenry.

    Asked if she had any last words, a tearful Rice said she had done nothing wrong, that she had only ever followed lawful orders.

    Her execution took place without much fanfare, and she died on the same apparatus that was used to execute Hillary Clinton last April. Vice Adm. John G. Hannink ordered the execution detail to conduct the sentence at 9:00 a.m. Rice’s neck snapped, and an attending military physician declared her dead.

    Vice Adm. John G. Hannink remarked that he took no pleasure in overseeing executions but acknowledged that duty mandated he conduct “unpleasant business.”

    “These are grim times, and we’re called upon to enforce sometimes unpleasant business. We must remember that these people are among the worst society had to offer, and their departure from this world does make the earth a better place and give us a glint of hope for the future,” Vice Adm. Hannink told the small assembly who had gathered to watch Rice hang by the neck until dead.

    A source involved in the military’s Deep State purge told Real Raw News that rice spent her last few days in captivity in tears, a sharp departure from the stoic silence she displayed at her time of arrest and during her military tribunal.

    “She was in some state those last four or five days. She cowered in a corner of her cell with her knees drawn up to chest, crying that she was innocent. She begged the guards who brought her meals to let her go—like they could have done anything. I think she was hoping her Deep State allies would spring her, but in the end, she got what she deserved,” our source said.

    Rice had had numerous opportunities to avoid the hangman’s noose. The military had hoped Rice would supply incriminating information on her former boss, Barack Hussein Obama, who the military believes is still masterminding the Deep State’s efforts to enslave law-abiding American patriots.

    “Obama’s hold on these people is remarkable,” our source said. “Rice wouldn’t give him up. Podesta wouldn’t give him up. The Clintons wouldn’t give him up. But that’s not stopping JAG from pursuing its case against him, and it’s only a matter of time before Obama shares a similar fate,” our source said.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  21. Bel Diman

    Every atheist should also teach that clerics always try to manipulate the believers

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  22. Michael Rubin

    How can we teach something, that hasn't been studied and explained by scientists?

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  23. hermatred

    What a joke

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  24. ConstipatedSheep

    I'm a Conservative athiest and dont agree with this. You should simply teach good morals and those good morals just so happen to be relevant in many religions but there is no need to be educating them on God. You should let them decide on their own what they believe rather than trying to force it down their throat. My grandparents on both sides tried doing that and eventually I decided on my own that I don't believe in Christianity.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  25. Lord Devil fish

    I’ll happily teach my child about how to avoid the Demiurge

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  26. Flor !

    Me, a jew: So anyway, jesus was uh…

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  27. albert mooney

    so religion is to make children feel better? finally a prageru video that is truthful.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  28. guido mista

    Welp if atheists should teach their children about God it should be fair that religious people teach their children about atheists. I mean it's only fair because if not we would have a double standard wouldn't we

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  29. Im Nova

    If my future children want to be Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or anything else go ahead but I'm not teaching them about religion.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  30. some person

    Religion is dying out the more people know about evolutionary biology. If the Right doesn't want to die out too, we must distance ourselves from the unscientific.
    This doesn't mean distancing religious voters from ourselves, it means realizing that there will be fewer and fewer of them, and that we need to build a solid, modern political platform: from infiltrating the academy to adopting economic populism, instead of "tax cuts" for international corporations which hate us anyway.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  31. Seamus Lee

    I love how mad PragerU always makes the pearl-clutching "intellectual" libs.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  32. Gareth Judd

    Everyone should know about the bearded sky wizard. 😆

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  33. Calista Landa

    The problem is that alot of atheists have no clue about the matter. Spirituality, theology and religion in general is something so deep and vast that when you are not interested in it, you wont be able to teach about Gods beautiful nature.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  34. Cake Yummy

    Atheist here, I feel as though it is important to teach children about religion, but to let them choose which region if any at all by their own choice

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  35. GuerrillaWallFlair

    Yeah. Your kids would be pretty confused when they find out you're so full of s***.

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply
  36. Aaron White

    I'll teach my chil about all gods. Not just the main one.

    In the end jews Muslims and Christians all follow the same God. Just a different Name and way of worship.

    But I'll also be teaching my child to respect all the fairytales and let them believe what they want to believe

    August 8, 2021 at 6:25 am Reply

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