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Jesus and a pagan child

Discussion of raising your family in the pagan tradition.

Jesus and a pagan child

Postby JBRaven » Sat May 08, 2010 9:10 pm

Taken from http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/familyandparenting/a/KidsAndJesus_2.htm
BY: http://paganwiccan.about.com/bio/Patti-Wigington27907.htm



School-age children will ask questions about Christianity simply because they hear their friends talking about it.
If you're a Pagan parent, there's a good chance you're raising your kids as Pagan as well. And if that's the case, you can be assured that at some point, one of your children is going to start wondering about Jesus. It may be something perfectly innocuous, like "Why is that naked baby in the manger at Christmastime?" or it may be something with a bit more depth, like, "My friend Sam told me Jesus loves me, and I don't even know who that is." Either way, at some point, you're going to have to sit down with your little ones and discuss Jesus, Christianity, and the fact that your family is not part of the mainstream. But how can you do this, without making your kids feel weird -- or worse yet, bad -- about your family's belief system? Here are some ideas on how to address the subject. Bear in mind that the specifics of the conversation will vary a bit based upon the ages of your kids.

Why Can't We Go To Church?
Here's the first one you usually hear. Junior spends the night at a friend's house on Saturday, and has to get picked up before 9 am the next morning because his buddy's family is off to church. Naturally, he's going to want to know why you don't take him to church too -- after all, there's lots of singing, and a bunch of kids from school will be there, so it sounds like fun, right? This is a good time to explain to your child that your beliefs are different from most of his or her friends' beliefs. You can try several different approaches.

For example, you might say "Well, we don't go to church because we're not Christians, we're Pagans, and our church is in our home/out under a tree/over at Aunt Bev's house." Perhaps you can tell your child, "We don’t go to church because church is for people who worship a different god than the ones we worship." However you choose to answer, be honest. Don't just say "I don't know" because that doesn’t answer the question.

How Come We're Not Christian?
This question comes up a lot. After all, once you've had the "why don’t we go to church" conversation, this one is sure to follow. Why, indeed, isn't your family Christian? If your child hasn’t asked yet, he or she will do so soon, because they are surrounded by Christians and images of Christianity fairly regularly. At school, they'll hear other kids talking about the fun stuff they did at Vacation Bible School or how much they love Friday Night Youth Group. Eventually, your kid is going to realize she's the odd girl out, and you'll need to be ready to have an answer for her.

Tell your child the truth. You can say, "Mommy used to be Christian, but discovered she was happier as something else." If you wish to use the god/goddess aspect of your spirituality, tell your kid, "We're not Christian because the gods we believe in are Pagan gods, not Christian ones."

A word of caution here -- no matter how negative your experiences with Christians, Christianity, or churches may have been, be cautious not to bash them in front of your child. Little kids have big mouths, and your off-hand comment meant to be kept private may get repeated in front of friends, teachers, or other parents. The last thing you want is to be known as the mom who tells her children that Christians are dumb or bad.


Who Was Jesus, and Why Does He Love Me?
Kids will naturally be inquisitive about Jesus. He's all over the place, especially during the winter holidays, and the image of the Baby Jesus in particular is one that you can't avoid. There are songs about how much he loves us, and on some churches, his picture is visible on the sign when you drive past. At some point, no matter how Pagan you try to keep your household, your child is going to wonder about Jesus. So what do you tell him? Here's an idea of how the conversation might go:

Kid: Mom, my friend Sam says that Jesus loves me.
Parent: That's nice. Eat your broccoli.
Kid: So who was Jesus? Is he a god?
Parent: Well, some people believe that he was the son of the Christian god. No one knows for sure. A lot of people believe that he was a great teacher, and he tried to show everyone how important it was to love each other and be good to other people.
Kid: How come Sam says Jesus loves me?
Parent: Some people who are Christians believe that Jesus is still around, because he's the son of their god. They believe that he loves everyone, even people who don't believe in him.

… and so on. You can see, clearly, how this conversation can spiral from simple dinner time chat into a theological discussion with a six-year-old. Your child will have questions about "is Jesus real" and "if he died how come he still loves people" and "is our cat Lucy in heaven with Jesus?" Be sure that you phrase your answers in a way that will allow your child to form his own opinions, while still sharing with him what you believe. If Junior really wants to believe that his dead pet is in heaven with Jesus, and it makes him feel better, then don't tell him how ridiculous you think the idea is.

A smart idea here would be to draw parallels between Christian beliefs and your family's Pagan spirituality. You could tell your child, "Well, in our family, we believe that Lucy is in the Summerlands with all the other cats and dogs that have crossed over, but some families think maybe Jesus and the pets are together in heaven." This gives your child some room to ponder things, and will be comforting no matter which way he decides to believe.

Our Family is Different, This I Know
It's not going to take long for your child to figure out that what your family believes is very different than what most of his or her friends believe. In fact, it may be a good idea to be pro-active -- talk to your child about Christianity before other people do. Let him or her know that most of his friends and their families are in fact Christian, and that there's nothing wrong with being different. If you live in the United States or other country with religious freedom, be sure to stress that one of your civil rights is that of worshipping who and what you choose.

Because most Pagan families celebrate and worship at home, if your child is old enough to start asking questions about religion, he or she is probably old enough to include in family rituals and celebrations. You may also wish to take some time each week to work on some basic religious education. Use one of the books on the list of Books for Pagan Kids as a foundation, and build from there.
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Exactly!

Postby zenine » Tue May 11, 2010 5:21 am

Right. Honesty is best when it comes to kids. I mean you don't have to give them the vivid details or anything but like, as long as you being basically honest, they'll trust you more. Kids aren't as dumb as some people think... :roll:
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Re: Jesus and a pagan child

Postby flowersofthelady » Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:59 am

my (nearly) 3 year old daughter is already asking to go to church every time we walk past it. there are 3 churches in our very small town and she is fascinated by them as they are quite pretty buildings and she said likes the singing. my sons school took them all to a local church for harvest fesival, at first i was really annoyed that they had not asked my permission to do this but i eventually decided that i didnt want him to stand out as few the muslim familys were letting their kids go. I took my daughters along and we watched him singing with his class thats where she's heard it. so we have been having plenty of discussions about religion with the kids and i have tried to teach them that there are many different religions and people choose the one that is right for them. I have not taught them much about what we believe yet as i am still trying to figure that out for myself, but i have taught my daughter what the magic broom is for (she was a witch at halloween) and when they ask what that "star" is i explain in a way they might understand.
im excited about introducing them do pagan ways, i wish i had been brough up with it.
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Re: Jesus and a pagan child

Postby Starwitch Stone » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:55 pm

Great article, JB. Thanks for sharing that. It would be good for my site too. I may ask the author about that.

I have a lot of discussions about religion with Ron's daughter (who used to be my step-daughter until Ron and I divorced, but Ron and I remained boyfriend/girlfriend so I still see her on weekends). I was into the atheist mindset for the past couple years, so she heard a lot of that from me. Now I'm back into paganism and Wicca (previous to the atheism I was into New Age thought). I'm guessing the biggest lessons she's learned from listening to and watching me over the years is

1. Religion & Spirituality - Take it or leave it. Whatever makes you good. And you don't have to stick with one religion just because you were raised in it.

2. Christianity - Leave it, because Christians will brainwash you and instill fear and shame in you. In addition, there is no evidence for what they believe. Their beliefs also cause a lot of harm to humanity and to the earth.

3. The Bible - Don't take it seriously. It's filled with lies and myths.

4. The Goddess - If you're going to worship anyone, the Goddess would be best since she's female (among other reasons).

Ron's daughter joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at school this year. She was apologetic to me about it, like she thought I'd be upset about it. But I understand how it is when you're in school. You want to do what your friends are doing, or whatever will get you out of class more. So as long as she doesn't allow herself to be brainwashed into Christian thinking, I think she'll be fine.

One time, I let her go to church with my Mom and her little cousins. That just happened to be the day that the preacher did a pro-life sermon on the evils of abortion. They handed out tiny fetus dolls to pull at the children's heartstrings. That really pissed me off. I never let her go back to church. And even now, several years later, she is still one of these people who say, "Abortion should only be allowed if the woman was raped. If a woman is going to have sex then she should use birth control, and if she doesn't use it then she should suffer the consequences."
So... a young woman who wasn't responsible enough to use birth control is now supposed to be responsible enough to raise another human being? Whatever. I'll change her mind. I certainly have never heard her tell me that I shouldn't have had an abortion when my bf knocked me up at 17 years old. Wonder how she'd feel if she thought that he would get out of prison and come and see us regularly because I was raising his child? (Actually the child would be grown by now, but I don't think that would stop my ex from having an excuse to see me.) I'm guessing that then she would understand why the abortion was so necessary for me. She's afraid of him, and for good reason. He's a very violent, scary person.

Sorry, that wasn't really about pagan stuff was it? Well, anyway, Ron's daughter likes me and emulates me. But at the same time she's embarrassed of the fact that I'm different from other people. She doesn't want her schoolmates and friends to know that I operate a witchcraft website. That would be, like, sooooooo embarrassing! But I'm the person who told her to not tell anyone about it because they would almost certainly make fun of her, be afraid of her, or ostracize her in some way. It's bad enough that her real mom is an alcoholic and she can't have any friends over to her house because it's just a terrible atmosphere. The last thing she needs is to have the stigma of being associated with a witch.

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Re: Jesus and a pagan child

Postby AmethystQuartz » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:31 pm

I dont think all catholics think like that.My RE teacher does but for personal choice, and my maths teacher, who is more religious than my re teacher sait she thout basically the same as yu do.

Your signature is from Time by pink floyd-right?
Love it.
Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.
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Re: Jesus and a pagan child

Postby firebirdflys » Thu May 19, 2011 3:44 am

And did those feet,...in ancient times,...walk among England's Mountains green?
and was the holy lamb of God,... on England's pleasant pastures seen?
Just a portion of a poem by Blake (I Believe) and a song by Emerson, Lake, And Palmer. :D
Idea being that Jesus came to England with Joseph of Arimathea to train with the Druids when he was a young
man. Jesus teachings in a nutshell, is be good to your fellow human, for all people are spiritual beings. I don't think he would be happy with with where the Christians have gone with his word.
As far as the kids go, show them the very rich symbolism in Paganism and the tangible cycle of the season, celebrate it with festive Altars and colorful stories of the turning of the wheel. As they grow up this will become their norm. But when they ask to go to Church or Temple with a friend, don't freak out. They are just curious about what their friends do, and hopefully we will be able to explain the differences and similarities with grace. They will likely come around in the end. Besides it's their choice anyway. BB Firebird
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Re: Jesus and a pagan child

Postby Symandinome » Thu May 19, 2011 4:25 am

i thought this was an amazing thread. I think the information that was presented was spot on to what would be the correct way to handle things *in my opinion*
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