The American Humanist Association has launched a new website for children and teens called “Kids without God,” which is getting a large amount of attention in both theistic and atheistic circles. Being a Theist myself, I was curious to see what this website was like. The children’s section is full of bright primary colors, an upbeat message that kids can be good without God, videos of the great “scientist” Bill Nye (the Science Guy), and fun science experiments kids can do at home.
For a Christian apologist, the website is like a candy store. There are so many fallacies, inconsistencies, and holes that could be poked through it that it’s hard to know where to start or stop. Others have taken time to point out some of these fallacies, which I will link to at the end of this post. For now, there are three general observations I’d like to make.
Observation #1: There’s nothing surprising about this website
While I know some Theists are very upset at the making of this site, the only thing that surprises me is that the AHA didn’t come up with the idea and launch it sooner. I believe there is a God and want to teach children to believe in Him. So it makes sense to me that an Atheist would want to teach children NOT to believe in God. The website itself is not the issue. The real issue is if children will receive correct or false information from its message.
Observation #2: Kids without God is not a scientific website
Kids without God is a faith-based website that masquerades as being science-based. The site attempts to teach children that morality is possible without God. Children are encouraged to treat others with kindness, think for themselves, be truthful, and help those in need. All good things, right? Yet these moral virtues are decidedly not scientific or based on science. If the AHA wants to convince children that science proves God doesn’t exist, they should stick to the science they believe supports their view. This is where major danger and confusion can come for children. By throwing a few science words in, the website deceptively communicates that their message of “no God” is based on scientific fact, when in reality it’s as much a matter of faith as theism.
Observation #3: We need good, solid Christian apologetics for children
I hope this website is a wake-up call for Christian parents and the Christian community. If we really believe God exists and that there is good evidence to believe in Him (including scientific evidence), we need to start demonstrating it to children. Our kids are asking good questions about God. Are we equipped to answer them? We don’t accept half-hearted, watered down answers. Why should our children accept them? In 1 Peter 3:15 we’re told to always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. This command doesn’t have an age limit to it. Are we prepared to defend our faith and give the reason for our hope to our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters? Here’s an idea. What if Christian parents visited the Kids without God website with their children and used it as an opportunity to teach them about the reality and reliability of belief in God? What if they used it as a tool to teach children to be kids WITH God?
More observations can be made. To read further on the response to the Kids without God website, I recommend visiting the following reviews:
David Klinghoffer’s review at Evolution News and Views
Melissa Travis’ review at Hard-Core Christianity
For apologetic resources for children, I recommend William Lane Craig’s new children’s series, What is God Like?
“Yet these moral virtues are decidedly not scientific or based on science.”
No. They are based on a reasoned understanding of reality and human interaction.
“when in reality it’s as much a matter of faith as theism.”
No, it’s not. It’s no more based on faith than the position “I don’t believe in Bigfoot” is based on faith.
Science has never been meant to be analagous to religion. No one is going around claiming that science can teach morals. Atheists are not science, we are not cold, hard, unfeeling – we are not science in the way that so many people seem to embody their religions. We look to more things than just science to define our views, science is just the starting point – it conflicts with what religion teaches, and so therefore it forces us to ask questions. Religion did not invent morality, in fact, for thousands of years before any of the Abrahamic religions were even thought of, people did a just fine job understanding that murder and rape and stealing were wrong and their law codes reflected it. Religion may teach some moral practices, but religion does not equal morality. Religion did not invent morality. Morality exists within many things, but it is its own thing on its own. Besides, it should be obvious that having religion doesn’t automatically make you moral – religious people do immoral things all of the time, in the same way that someone who does not believe in god can still act morally.
Thansk for your insights, That Cat Katie! I agree with much of your comment. I agree that science and religion are not analogous, that religion did not invent morality, and that many atheists have strong morals and are not cold/unfeeling. And I definitely agree that religious people do immoral things all the time. The question rises then, if science didn’t invent morality, and religion didn’t invent morality, who or what did? You said that, “Morality exists within many things.” what things? Who decides what’s moral and what’s immoral? What happens if you and I disagree which things contain morality? Are we both right, both wrong?
Not a Scientist, thanks for your comment. I’m curious, where do you believe our reasoned understanding of reality and human interaction come from?
I have a hard time understanding why it is believed that morality is indelibly tied to religion and in particular Christianity. It also confounds me as to why Christianity presents itself as the sole arbiter of faith in the world. It is amazing how members of other religions can have faith in their deity(ies) yet Christians portray them as less than faithful because they do not believe in their god. That is a pretty high amount of hubris for a religion that was supposedly founded on the humility of the son of god.
Simple fact is many of us who do not believe in religion or even outright atheist still have some level of spirituality, seek to be good people and even some of us chose the profession which defends your right to believe as you want. In that we attempt to live a life of morals, ethics and doing good where we can. I am a member of the AHA, that does not mean that I agree with everything they do, I am quite capable of freethought, which is what I hope my children will learn as well. They can choose to believe as they wish and should always have access to whatever information they want in regards to faith.
Hi No Kool-Aid Zone. I’m in no way denying that those who claim no religion or atheism attempt to live a life of morals, ethics and doing good when/where they can. My question is, is there a foundation for morality outside of a Moral Law Giver?
And it is unfortunate that many Christians display hubris in the way we communicate our faith. Yet there’s a difference between hubris and conviction. I have the belief/conviction that Jesus, who I believe to be the Son of God, is the only true faith. But I don’t believe it because I want to be right and prove myself right and everyone else wrong. I believe it because He himself said he was the only way to God (John 14:6). So either he was arrogant, delusional, or right. I believe he was right.
“I have the belief/conviction that Jesus…is the only true faith. I believe it because He himself said he was…”
Doesn’t this sound a bit like circular reasoning?
Hi Michael. I guess in one sense the statement is circular (Jesus said it, therefore I believe it). Though in the context of the quote, I was not trying to prove my faith, but demonstrate that it’s based on the belief that what Jesus said is true, not something I arrogantly made up on my own. Granted, just because Jesus said it, doesn’t make it true. Lots of people make claims that are not trustworthy. The unique thing about Jesus is that the claims he made, he backed up in his actions, which makes believing in those claims valid rather than circular.
I wasn’t suggesting you we’re arrogant in making anything up. I do find it interesting that you do use it as a basis for your belief.
Like you said, many people make untrustworthy claims, and I think the scholars that translated and rewrote (then reinterpreted and re-wrote again) the books of the New Testament – many decades after Jesus died, so it was all word of mouth – may have made some untrustworthy claims as well.
As you say, Jesus backed up his claims with actions. Unfortunately I think that those claims may be myths, shaped to propagate the morals and beliefs of the heads of church at the time of translation.
Of course we can’t know for sure and this is taken on faith that what is written is holy truth.
I had put my faith in the Bible, for many years, but part of what crumbled my faith was the sheer unlikelyhood of how accurate the Bible is in a historical sense.
Have you ever looked into the evidence on the likelihood and historical accuracy of the Bible? If you’re interested, I’d love to discuss this more. There’s a lot of sound, historical evidence out there that demonstrates the accuracy and reliability of Jesus’ life recorded in the New Testament, and the accuracy of the Bible as a whole. My email is listed on the contact page if you want to keep the conversation going.
This article appeared in December 2012’s edition of the Christian Carnival! Readers can vote for their favorite submission here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/christian-carnival-ii/51ZCxfBvioo Winner will be posted on the Christian Carnival blog on December 15.
My children were raised in a world where they were continuously confronted with religious dogma (it’s everywhere!). Fortunately my children were taught to ask questions, think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. As adults they are secular, my son an atheist, my daughter would probably consider herself spiritual. They both volunteer their time, and are very happy people.
My stepchildren are being raised in the Bible Belt by a Pentacostal mother. They are taught to trust god, have faith and are actually punished for questioning this faith. They live in fear of the devil, demons and god (he is judgmental, and not the nicest guy), and are generally not very happy children.
What I truly don’t understand is if your god is so powerful, and your religion is so exceptional why are you afraid of looking around? Why are you afraid of questioning your faith? And why are you afraid of your children being exposed to other thoughts? I was confident in my belief of reasoning, and therefore happy to let my children explore religions (knowing they are all so full of nonsense) and letting them draw their own conclusions.
What are you all so afraid of? That reasoning will win, so you must keep them with fear disguised in the sheep’s clothing of love?
I am thankful for a website such as “kids without god” for children who are not allowed to explore other ideas and think for themselves.
In another note secular humanists are not about science (although many scientists are humanists), it is about the love and respect of the human race. About how we are all connected and in this life’s journey together. That because there is no super daddy it is important to take care of and rely on each other as humans. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that this web site would have a message of “be kind to others, no matter who they are”. If only religion preached this message (or actually lived by it).
Thank you for your insight Gina! Like you, I have often wondered why some people, Christian or otherwise, seem to be so afraid to look into what they believe and why. I think it’s wonderful that you raised your kids to ask questions, even if we might have come to different conclusions based on those questions.