God, Religion and My Five Year Old Twins

Last Saturday about half an hour before bed the subject of God was brought up by R, one of my five year old twins. To say I was shocked would be the understatement of the year, mostly because I never gave it a moments thought that the girls knew anything about God, but apparently they have been learning about it at school.

I would like to start by saying that I have no problem with any religions or anybody that lives their lives surrounded by god and it’s teachings, but it’s not for me. I am a catholic, but I’m not practicing and most definitely not believing. I haven’t believed for many years. I call myself an atheist because I just don’t believe in God or any other religions for that matter, but I totally respect people that do believe, and live their lives surrounded by God. 

So R announced that God made her and her sister M, WOW! Where did that come from? Apparently their teacher told them. This week they have their class assembly and it’s come to light that somehow all of this is included in their assembly.

My initial reaction was one of hold on! God didn’t make you, mummy and daddy made you, and this is where it got quite difficult, as I have said they are five years old and it was became  obvious that their teacher has said that everybody is made by God. Of course they trust their teacher, so here I was about to call their teacher a liar, and totally contradict something they were practising in school for their assembly. Very dangerous ground. 

I decided with a little advice from my wife to hold back, as I was about to give my views on God and I realised very quickly R my daughter  was getting confused, and there is a time and place to explain such a complex subject, especially to five year olds.

Regular readers will know I have five children. My three oldest children were all brought up in the catholic faith, and none of them have any time for the catholic faith now since they have become adults. Which I might add was completely of their choice with absolutely no influence from me. My wife and myself have no religious tendencies and have decided together to not bring the our twin girls up in any faith. If when they are older and decide that they want to follow a path of religion then that will be a decision made as an adult. Which is the way I believe it should be.

I personally believe in man, monkey or more commonly known as Darwins Theory of Evolution  because to me it’s the only logical way the human race started. I just simply don’t believe god created Adam and Eve and hey ho! The start of the human race, this in my opinion is very naive, and misguided. I struggle to believe a story that has been translated and re-written numerous times, I just can’t believe with all re-writes and translations the story hasn’t changed. For example if you tell one person one thing and then they go on and tell another, by the time it gets to the tenth person hearing that story, it’s a completely different story. So this is where my problem with bible is. I wonder if it is the same story that was originally written that we are reading now. 

As I have already said we live in a free world and I believe everybody should have the freedom to live their lives as they wish whether that be with God or not with God.

It has really concerned me that schools are teaching that God was the reason we arrived on planet earth and not the alternative reason of evolution, this is especially concerning to me as five year olds do tend to believe usually everything said to them. I believe schools should be removing this from their curriculum instantly, If it is a non faith school. Otherwise teach them about how we evolved from the cave-man as a alternative belief, which I personally think is more plausible. 

If parents want their children to grow up in a world of God then they can do it at home. Of course I fully understand that if parents send their children to a faith school, then they have consciously decided to allow their children to be taught about that faith in school. I have not sent my children to a faith school, so I expect them not to be taught about any religions. That has to be my wife’s and my decision.

Now back to my five year old twins, I will in the next month or so be chatting to them in a very casual laid back way, about God,but more importantly who made them which was definitely only mummy and daddy.

There is going to be a follow up post, I’m sure, about how our conversation went about religion and God. With our five year old twin girls.

Would love to know your thoughts.

One Messy Mama

45 thoughts on “God, Religion and My Five Year Old Twins

  1. I’m a little concerned on if this is a religious school or not. I went to a religious school so my parents knew part of my curriculum was God and they were ok with that. But if your daughters’ school is not a religious one, it seems parents should be able to ask the teacher not to teach her own personal beliefs to children who may practice a different faith. #ThatFridayLinky

  2. It’s a worry that this is coming home from a non-religious school. I would be checking in with the teacher to find out about the context in which this was said.

  3. We’re expats living in Tanzania and although my husband is a Christian, we are not religious in any way at home. My son goes to an international school, it’s a wonderful school and he loves it, however it is run by missionaries and is VERY religious. There was even an incident in one of the classes last year where a science paper on the heart was given out and I quote ‘the heart was given to you by God to love people’. On a science paper! There were words about it haha. Anyway, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he will be influenced heavily by school so yesterday I did a mass Amazon by of age appropriate Darwin and evolution books. There’s some great ones with beautiful illustrations! I need to even it out somehow, like you say they need to make their own minds up about what they believe and I want him to have all the info :-). Great post x

  4. Fidget goes to a faith school. It’s a very good school. Mummy is Catholic, but not practicing. I have never been christened; neither have Fidget or Little Man. Fidget speaks about the religious aspect of the curriculum all the time, which is fine. I too feel that if she grows up to be religious then that’s fine. If she doesn’t then that’s good too. My stance is that you do not have to believe in God to be a good person. That comes from upbringing, with or without religion.
    We have had some moments with Fidget, though. At Christmas she said that Jesus was lucky to be born on Christmas day!

  5. I’m not religious either and never have been and after our experience with Oliver found it even harder to see a way to believe. We’ve explained to Ella why we don’t believe but that she’s free to make her own choices. Love the evolution picture!!! Thanks for hosting #thatfridaylinky

  6. I personally think religious education should be removed too & completely agree with everything you’ve said here. Eva has come home questioning god too & we have been honest and explained how having a belief can be fantastic for those that CHOOSE to believe but we believe in evolution instead of god. I’ve offered to take Eva to a church at some point so she can take a look around & ask a few questions, I’m happy for her to learn about religion but on her own terms. I don’t think it should be pushed on young children all. It’s too confusing for them & shouldn’t be made to believe in something they don’t fully understand.

  7. I believe as adults we have a huge responsibility to make sure our opinions aren’t treated as facts, unless they can be proven. I believe are job is not to impress our beliefs but to inform young people of opinions and facts and let them create their own. If the facts are strong, then they will make an impression. This could be on anything not just religion. I would always talk about opposing arguments with young people and explore other views.

    In regards to the teacher, she may believe the existence of God very strongly and that’s fine but it’s not a fact. A strong feeling. I think this is an excellent opportunity to discuss so many things and the teacher has given you a gift. It’s a classic of how as humans we have strong feelings about things, become very passionate and can treat them as facts. It is these difference of opinions that create sides and where lines are drawn. You could do work on respect, religion, war oh I could go on but it would turn into a lesson plan. #ThatLinkyFriday

  8. This is very interesting. I grew up in non religious home, but became a practising Christian at 20 so I suppose I am the opposite of you. I get annoyed when they teach ONLY evolution, I think Darwin’s concept and some creation theories CAN co-exist, but I would not force on either opinion on my children, but expose them to both and let them decide when they are older.

  9. Our little boy is starting a C of E school in September. We are not particualy religous, nor are we atheists. We chose his school as we like the morals and ethos of religion. This school is also not too pushy and have many non religous families. hopefully together, Finlay will grow up informed enough to make his own mind up.

  10. It is worrying that in a non-religious school that they would be told at such a young age that God makes everybody. It’s something I am dreading once my little boy gets into school because unfortunately Ireland is very behind with seperation of church and state as far as the education system is concerned. It’s an awkward area to tread into without confusing them. Best of luck with it!

  11. We’ve just chosen a primary school for our children and whether to send them to a faith school or not was a big worry for me. Mostly because, although the local CofE school is considered to be one of the best, I worried about how they would deal with us as gay parents. Add to that I also believe that religion, or non-religion, should be something taught at home, and share the belief that if my children want to be of a particular religion it is entirely up to them. I consider myself to be agnostic.

    We ended up choosing a non-faith school, and I don’t expect them to teach my children about religion other than perhaps an all encompassing approach to help them understand differences in society, which is the approach we want to take at home.


  12. I love that my girls are in a Church of England school as I love the Harvest festival and being involved in the Nativity ect. We are not particularly godly but I must say there is no harm in going to Church occasionally, there’s a great community attached to our local church and we have met some lovely people. Its not all bad. I agree though… God is not having the credit for making them! We put the hard work in, so we get the credit!! #thatfridaylinky

  13. We live in a society with such a diverse religious base now, I don’t think it’s justified for a school to be pushing the teachings of ANY faith. I would definitely see the teacher about this. I’m with you and Darwin.

  14. I’m an ex-Biologist. I’m Darwin all the way, but I don’t like the thought of teaching no religion in schools. And I think while science like evolution needs to be accessible, children also need to be old enough, with enough reasoned logic to understand it properly. I dont want my son to learn about evolution yet. It is such a big concept. I’m happy he’s learning the lifecycle of the snail.
    And the religion thing doesn’t bother me, I was taught the same in primary school, sang all the same songs and all the nativites. I am totally non-religious. Besides if they didn’t teach the Easter story I would have missed out on the image of Dead Jesus on his Easter bonnet. No, he didn’t win lol.

  15. My husband and I do believe in God, but I went to a very religious school as a child which was run by a bunch of hypocites. I vowed never to ever FORCE it on my children. That said, they both attend a catholic school which is very clear in advance of enrolling your children there about their faith and practices. Basically, if you don’t like it, don’t enrol your kids in the school, but they allow children of all faiths to attend the school so long as those faiths accept their practices. Most do. I’m very glad that my girls are being taught about Christianity in the school because we don’t really discuss it at home. I hope this balance will allow them to make up their own minds as they get older.

  16. It’s such a tough and often sensitive topic, religion. I’m not religious, but did go to a CofE school so went to church quite regularly as a child. In schools I believe children should be taught about the different religions, but also made aware that there are people who don’t believe in any religion. That allows them to make an educated decision about their own faith when they’re older 🙂 #ThatFridayLinky

  17. Im an atheist but my girls want to believe and they might need that faith someday so we are just trying to give them a sense of a higher power but not organized religion. We started out Catholic but when we moved to a very diverse community my five year old (at the time) who had been raised Catholic asked if her Muslim and Jewish friends would be not go to “heaven.” That was the point where we switched our religious teaching.


  18. I think it is the law that there is collective worship at school but not necessarily prayer. I have had many open discussions with my children about God. I am Christian but don’t go to church as I believe faith is personal. My partner is atheist. I tell my children that such and such is what I believe but admit I could be wrong. I teach them to respect all faiths including none as they are all equal and they can make their own informed choices when they are older #thatfridaylinky

  19. Although I dont normally talk about religion or religious preferences but I totally believe religion should be kept out of public school systems. if you want your child to learn about your preferred religion send them to a private school. the end.

  20. I would be so concerned that a school is teaching children that ‘god made them’ which is not true in any school, religious or not. I do not follow a faith, I do not believe in God but some people do. I do think that religion should be taught in schools but all religions and from a point of view, so that we can learn to understand what someone is thinking. Some of my favourite lessons were learning about other beliefs and there religious days. I think it is the way that it is taught that is the concern and that should be addressed with parents before they begin to talk to the children then parents can make the decision of yes or no their children can be included. We have a very scientific point of view in our household, that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in spiritual elements. I think it is important that schools teach children that there are lots of different points of views – beliefs.

    But teaching children that God made them would infuriate me, as it is not true! #ThatFridayLinky

  21. I remember something similar with my now teenage son – it wasn’t a religious school, but Jesus did get namechecked more that I would have agreed with. I felt similarly to you – annoyed and keen to give him some balance on it from an atheist point of view. He was a little older than your girls, and I just asked him what he thought, and explained my view and how it was different from what had been mentioned at school. I told him about other religions, and pointed out the good points (compassion, kindness, loyalty etc) but also reassured him that he could be all those things without having a faith. Ultimately, I think kids take more from their home influences than school about these things anyway.

  22. I think if it was Alfie that told me I would be probing him a bit more if that was what was really said. Sometimes he says things that the teacher has not said in that context…if that makes any sense at all!! I always feel a bit uncomfortable as Alfie goes to a CofE school but we are not remotely religious at all…..it’s a good school though! Great post Nige. Thanks for hosting #ThatFridayLinky

  23. This reminded me of my own experience of the school system. I went to a non-religious state primary school. But the headmistress was married to a vicar and schooling was heavily influenced by their religion. At the time of course, we just took it but as we got older we realised that it wasn’t right. However, I did get a good education so I’m not complaining really.

    But if my girls came home from a non religious school saying this I would be concerned. My husband’s family are religious (“blaenoriad” at chapel and all that) but even so, they wouldn’t be teaching this to them. I think you would be well within in your rights to question the school on this matter. #ThatFridayLinky

  24. Having worked in education, this is common practice…particularly in faith schools for obvious reasons. But I would have thought a non-denominational school wouldnt say that God created us all…I also dont believe in God or religion but respect others’ beliefs. I would be pretty miffed if my child had been told by her teacher that she was created by God and would be marching up to the school to find out why she wasnt told that some individuals following a religion believe they were created by God instead of it being amatter of fact. It is down to personal opinion and one that shouldn’t be enforced onto others. To me, its not respectful of an atheist’s beliefs on the subject. #ThatFridayLinky

  25. Ah! Theology! I could write about this all day and night. One of my favourite subjects.

    I’d be inclined to go easy. I’d love to know what this particular teacher said. I know a thing or two about faith schools and children should be told that the six day creation is one possible theory, not that it happened that way. I appreciate your kids go to a non-faith school but the same rules should apply (and if you know about the Old testament you’ll know that day and night weren’t created until Day 4 and that the word for “day” in Hebrew actually translates more accurately as “period of time” rather than “day”. I could give you various other examples in the Bible that, when explained, make a lot more sense).

    I’ll also put my neck on the line. I think children should be given a gentle introduction to faith, ideally both at home and school.

    In my experience, the most hardcore atheists are people who had no introduction to faith at a young age. Hardcore atheists – think Richard Dawkins – hold opinions as trenchant, inflexible and intolerant as any religious zealot. Neither is a healthy position to hold.

    An individual has to be introduced to faith philosophies to decide if they want to be a part of them and also to understand when these philosophies are being mis-used (think ISIS). If kids aren’t told about these things, they will merely believe the lazy anti-faith lines trotted out by many people, the classic about all the wars started by religion (…name me one war since the 16th century genuinely started by religion).

    I’m not suggesting all kids should be taken to Evensong and forced to join the choir. In this day ad age, faith-based education can’t and shouldn’t be focused solely on Christianity. If done properly, a little faith-based education can be of great value.

  26. I’m not religious but I’ve never had a problem with these issues in school. I would definitely have a chat with the teacher.

  27. I’m all for children learning about different religions but not been told ‘God created you’. As far as I’m concerned that’s preaching. I’d want my children to make their own informed decisions about religion but certainly not told about god like it’s fact! #thatfridaylinky

  28. Hmmm, well I am a struggling Christian, but I think religion and evolution should be taught. However, I do not think children should be told ‘God created you’, at least not at a non faith school. I do wonder if a) they have a Christian teacher who just thought, ‘Yay, let’s go for this’ or (b) she has told them Christian’s believe God created them. Either way, I think it may be worth you having a word with the school to get to the bottom of it and obviously have a chat with the girls. My girls go/went to a faith school, so it was expected, I wouldn’t have been happy hearing that from a non faith school though. Well handled by yourself and Emily though #ThatFridayLinky x

  29. For me, there needs to be some differentiation between choosing a faith school or not.
    I went to a non faith school, they had faith teachings, I would have liked to have thought this had changed by now.
    Sure, at a faith school, you expect prayers / religious hymns / assemblies etc.
    Now, I have absolutely no issue with religious education in non faith schools. BUT I think it should be: “Christians believe….” as they would say about Buddhists, Sikhs etc etc In an RE lesson, not just rammed down peoples throats at any given opportunity.
    I can appreciate the need for R.E in order to give kids an awareness and understanding of others around them, I just think the way it is delivered needs an overhaul or else be scrapped.
    And also, perhaps 5 is just too young to bring it up at all. As you say, if the kids are being taught this by their parents at home thats fine, if they’re not, why confuse matters by bringing it into the classroom?
    (Actually, its probably just a cop out answer for where do babies come from ! Ha!)
    Really great post, emotive topic!

  30. Oh my goodness, this would have made me so cross. I am totally with you on this and believe the same as you. If the parents want to bring their children up to believe in God then I feel that should be done at home, not at school. This isn’t their decision to make. Little Man hasn’t been Christened. Like you, if he wants to take a religious path when he is older, I won’t stand in his way. Children are easily influenced and I would rather he make the decision when he is an adult, or at least old enough to decide which theory he believes. I was at high school when I decided. My RE teacher couldn’t answer my question about how the religious theory and the scientific theory totally contradicted each other – that was my answer! Great post and I’ll be interested to read the follow-up! #ThatFridayLinky

  31. I think schools try and cover a bit of every religion as not all children are of one faith at school. I’ve seen the Chinese New Year celebrated at primary school too. I think it’s great that you are allowing your children to make their own decisions. I also wonder about the bible being lost in translation a bit like Chinese whispers. #ThatFridayLinky

  32. We are non-religious and so God isn’t something that we even discuss at home but, although my children go to non faith schools, they still they come home talking of God! I try and let them make their own mind up about things, my eldest especially at 13 has come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as God and that was entirely his feelings, not ours. I will do the same with the youngest three, but we certainly don’t encourage talk of God and religion and I wish that the school wouldn’t either! #thatfridaylinky

  33. Ben is being baptised in a COE church on sunday, but my attitude is similar to my parents. I was raised jewish until 13 when it came to my Batmitzvah. My mum at that stage asked if it was something I wanted to continue with practising and I said no. Since then i’ve always seen myself as COE more than anything else, even getting married in a church as I wanted our vows to be blessed.
    If Ben chooses to not follow the COE religion or any religion that is fine, but I want it to be his choice, his decision… after all it is his life! #thatfridaylinky

  34. Love the pic. Its funny, my daughter is the same age and we’ve started having these conversations also. Like you said, I have no idea where its coming from, but some of her theories are pretty entertaining! Got some notes for a post myself. Its amazing the way they can always find new ways to surprise us, conversations that we didn’t think we’d be having for some time yet! #thatfridaylinky

  35. Love the picture. 🙂 What the different faiths believe and teach should be taught in schools as way of promoting diversity, respect and to correct some of the mis-information in the media. I don’t think it’s right that teachers tell children what to believe as that’s the role of a parent.

    I’d be tempted to ask a few questions about the comment next time you’ve got a parent’s evening just to get some context and use the opportunity to talk to the twins at their level about what you do and don’t believe and why.

    We do believe, but have always told the Tubblet that it’s her decision and we’ll love her the same whatever she decides. Good luck!

  36. I don’t think it should have been taught like that. “Christians believe that we were all made by God”, would have been better than directly telling them that they WERE made by God. Your evolution picture made me laugh! #ThatFridayLinky

  37. I speak a lot of Yiddish because it is fun and says things in a way that mere English can’t do. I was born Jewish, but I practice Tai Chi. Like you Nige, my Mrs., and me err on the side of atheism. She was raised Catholic and we believe in science. I think if this happened at my kinder’s school, I would be livid. We have friends who send their kids to religious school. Big’s friend was talking about Heaven and my Big, she had no idea what she meant. Her friend, said heaven was beautiful, filled with harps and angels. My Big, she thought about it for a few seconds and replied, “I’ve been to Tuscany!” And there you have it! #ThatFridayLinky

  38. I don’t like that they are preaching / teaching religion in school, I think it should be an optional class if the kids are interested when they’re a bit older. Five year olds are not going to understand it properly enough to make their own opinion about the matter so I don’t think it’s fair. I’m like you, pretty much atheist but slightly “spiritual” I think if I looked deeper into it I would be Buddhist haha thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!

  39. I have so much I could say about this subject but will try not to ramble! It’s fascinating reading all the comments, I think there is such a huge difference between attitudes towards religion in the UK and Mexico. Here the majority of people are Catholic and seem to mostly be unquestioning believers (from what I’ve seen). However, church and state are separated (unlike in the UK) and there is supposedly not a religious bias in the school curriculum if you’re in a lay school.
    I remember being at school in the UK and having a christian religious assembly with hymns and prayer. I’m not particularly religious but my husband is Catholic so my daughter was baptised and is essentially being raised a catholic. I don’t mind, as long as I personally don’t have to be hypocritical. I think it’s nice ti have a religious belief (as long as it is moderate and tolerant of others) and it’s part of her heritage and culture. If she asks me when she’s older what I believe I’ll be honest of course and give her the freedom to make decisions about her own religion when she is ready. #KCACOLS

  40. I’ve wanted to write about religion, more explicitly my issue with religion. I’m a staunch atheist. The second someone mentions religion to me and the workings of their beliefs I just shut down, I no longer listen. Like The Mum Project said above, I don’t like the fact they force religion upon kids in school. If I could, I’d opt my son out of RE classes when he begins school. I’d rather they taught other more important things like financial planning etc. Great post Nige. Thanks for linking up to #GlobalBlogging

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