Author Topic: Religious presents for athiests' children  (Read 9233 times)

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Bluenomi

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Religious presents for athiests' children
« on: December 18, 2011, 09:56:15 PM »
So I've just been told I'm rude and a big fat meanie on another forum I visit and wanted to check with those who actually know what is rude and what isn't if I am  ;D

Background: DH and I are atheists so avoid any religious things for DD. It hasn't been too hard since none of our families are strongly religious and until recently the only time it came up was me seeing a cute Noah's Ark set and mentioning to MIL who I was with at the time that it was cute but DH wouldn't approve.

My step mum was out shopping with my sister for a present for DD for Christmas. DSis was texting me at the time to double check things as DSM was looking at them to make sure they weren't getting anything DD already has. DSM spotted the Little People Nativity set and since she really liked it she got DSis to check if DD could have it. DSis sent me a message saying 'is DD allowed to have the nativity set? It is really cute' (which I have to agree it is) and I replied 'It is cute but no, her athesist parents wouldn't approve'. DSM and DSis were happy with that and we exchanged a few more messages as they did more shopping.

So I mentioned on a forum that I told DSM not to buy DD the nativity set and someone replied that I was rude for telling DSM not to buy it and a meanie for not letting DD have it or a Noah's ark. She then compared it to not buying Thomas the Tank Engine things for people unless they were train spotters.

So was I rude for telling DSM should couldn't buy it for DD when she asked and am I a meanie for not letting DD have it?

AlwaysQuizzical

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 10:01:01 PM »
Nope, I think it's your right to refuse to teach a religion you don't believe in to your children. Especially since you were being asked if it was an ok present before the other person bought it. Also, it think it would be more rude if your DD was playing with her set in a way that assumed it was fake like, Thomas the Tank Engine, with a child who was religious.

Judah

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 10:02:59 PM »
Ridiculousness!  You are no more wrong than any other parent who puts limits on the types of toys their kids are allowed to have.  All parents have some sort of limit on such things. 
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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Venus193

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 10:08:55 PM »
No, you were not.  Per the other thread about gifts for kids you have the absolute right to reject a gift you don't approve of for any reason.

However, in view of how commenting on how "cute" a Noah's Ark set or Nativity set were in front of relatives, said relatives could regard that as "opening the door" (to use TV courtroom speak for this).  You need to be careful about this.

Roe

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 10:35:48 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

Veronica

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 10:41:29 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

A lot of people consider Christmas to be more of a fun, secular holiday than a religious one.  We have a Christmas tree up, stockings, Santa Claus figurines, etc. but we would never put up a nativity scene and would be offended if we received one from someone who knew we weren't religious. 

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lady_disdain

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 10:44:42 PM »
My opinion is based on the fact that I am an atheist, raised by an agnostic and an atheist, but having very religious grandparents.

My parents never forbade my grandparents to give their daughters religious items. They explained to us that, to our grandparents, those items were meant as protection or for religious reflection and that it was up to us girls to decide if we wanted to display or wear them (I remember this from as early as 6 years old). Same thing for any folkloric item (such as evil eye talismans), things from other religions, etc. We didn't have overtly religious items in the public areas of the house, but if I wanted to display a nativity in my room, it was up to me. Personally, I like this approach.

Bluenomi

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 10:46:23 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

A lot of people consider Christmas to be more of a fun, secular holiday than a religious one.  We have a Christmas tree up, stockings, Santa Claus figurines, etc. but we would never put up a nativity scene and would be offended if we received one from someone who knew we weren't religious.

That's pretty much it. It's International Giving day in our house. We have a tree (admittedly a wall sitcker one so it is cat and toddler proof) but nothing else and we don't follow any religious aspects of Christmas. Even amoungst the religious people I know, Christmas has very little to do with religion

KenveeB

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 10:48:20 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

Lots of people celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday these days, or celebrate other gift-giving winter holidays.

And I don't see anything wrong with saying no to the nativity or the Noah's Ark.  I don't think that there's anything wrong with parents not wanting their children to be given gifts they don't approve of, whether it's pacifist parents banning guns, feminist parents banning Barbies, or atheist parents banning nativities.  Part of being a parent is deciding what you want to expose your child to and what world-views to raise them with. (Not that the child will decide to follow through with this world view as they age, but the parent gets to decide on the raising.)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 10:51:59 PM by KenveeB »

Rohanna

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 10:54:35 PM »
Lot's of people celebrate Christmas as a cultural event and not specifically a religious one. I hardly think that is a new or revolutionary idea worthy of telling someone their custom is "off". If anything, the idea of having festivals of one nature or another at this time of year is older than Christianity itself.

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CakeEater

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2011, 11:02:59 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

A lot of people consider Christmas to be more of a fun, secular holiday than a religious one.  We have a Christmas tree up, stockings, Santa Claus figurines, etc. but we would never put up a nativity scene and would be offended if we received one from someone who knew we weren't religious.

That's pretty much it. It's International Giving day in our house. We have a tree (admittedly a wall sitcker one so it is cat and toddler proof) but nothing else and we don't follow any religious aspects of Christmas. Even amoungst the religious people I know, Christmas has very little to do with religion

With a complete lack of snark, what do you mean by the bolded?


My BIL and SIL are athiests, as far as I know. They had their daughters baptised, partly to appease a grandmother, and partly to get a step up in enrolling them into a private religious school. DH and I were godparents to the eldest. We promised to help her parents teach her the tenets of the religion.

I have no qualms at all buying her, especially, religious gifts.

Oops, edited to say that I wouldn't buy religious things for avowed athiests, whose stance I knew on the matter. However, things like Noah's Ark are so ubiquitous now as a decorating theme, that I might get something like that without even making the connection. Hey, look - cute animals!
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 11:05:27 PM by CakeEater »

Bluenomi

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2011, 11:14:36 PM »
Forget the fact that the nativity has a religious aspect to it but I'm curious why you would be fine with accepting a Christmas gift if you are an atheist. Doesn't make sense to me and I do think that is a bit....'off' if not rude.

A lot of people consider Christmas to be more of a fun, secular holiday than a religious one.  We have a Christmas tree up, stockings, Santa Claus figurines, etc. but we would never put up a nativity scene and would be offended if we received one from someone who knew we weren't religious.

That's pretty much it. It's International Giving day in our house. We have a tree (admittedly a wall sitcker one so it is cat and toddler proof) but nothing else and we don't follow any religious aspects of Christmas. Even amoungst the religious people I know, Christmas has very little to do with religion

With a complete lack of snark, what do you mean by the bolded?


My BIL and SIL are athiests, as far as I know. They had their daughters baptised, partly to appease a grandmother, and partly to get a step up in enrolling them into a private religious school. DH and I were godparents to the eldest. We promised to help her parents teach her the tenets of the religion.

I have no qualms at all buying her, especially, religious gifts.

Oops, edited to say that I wouldn't buy religious things for avowed athiests, whose stance I knew on the matter. However, things like Noah's Ark are so ubiquitous now as a decorating theme, that I might get something like that without even making the connection. Hey, look - cute animals!

The religious people I know (those who got married in a church, go to church sometimes, christen their children etc) don't go to church at Christmas and it is all about the presents and Santa and the whole Jesus being born bit gets left out. I think with small kids around they get lost in the excitment of it all and forget about the fact it is based on a religious holiday.

The whole no religious presents for DD thing is more DH than me. He is very anti religion and views even the cutest of arks as an evil plot by the church to brain wash innocent children so if I can head off the issue before anyone gives DD something that will serioudly offend him I will. I was just upset about being called a meanie for doing it  :( The person on the forum has written a huge rant at me about it since I first posted this thread and has said some pretty nasty things about not letting DD have an ark or nativity set.

O'Dell

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 11:33:14 PM »
You were not rude, nor were you a big meanie. The anonymous person ranting about it has a personal problem...don't make it yours. '

And I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how Thomas the Tank Engine/trainspotting has anything to do with religious gifts. That person seems to have a screw loose.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Palladium

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 12:02:43 AM »
You were asked a question, you responded politely and honestly, and the person asking accepted that response. That certainly doesn't make you a meanie.

Personally I would not want anyone buying my (hypothetical future) kids religious gifts (it sounds like your DH and I have similar views), so I think it's good that they asked first but were willing to accept that the answer was no.

As an atheist who celebrates Christmas in a secular way, I think of it as a time to be with family and friends and celebrate/close the year. We do exchange gifts in my family, because it's a way of showing our loved ones how much we appreciate them.

Sterling

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Re: Religious presents for athiests' children
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 12:05:24 AM »
You have every right to limit what your child plays with.  My fiancé and I are not Christian.  We do Christmas with my family but is about gift giving and family time.  The Jesus part is not part of our tradition.  Furthermore we are pagan and celebrate Yule on a different day.  I won't even get into the part about how one holiday stole from the other.

Personally I would not want my child to have the nativity set either at that age.  When they are a little older they can make choices but at that age no.
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