Every knee shall bow? Many atheist scientists take their kids to church

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  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 11, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Tekakaromatagi asserts:

    "I am a scientist and I am not an atheist."

    I declare that you are not a scientist at all. Or if we stretch the meaning of the word, you would be, at best, a very poor one.

    You write: "...science has shortcomings about even basic things like, "Why is gravity so weak?" "What is charge?"

    That a person can generate questions for which there are not yet answers does not detract from science anymore than it proves the existence of a god. Indeed, put in such terms, your god is little more than a "god of the gaps" - a convenient fiction invented to explain what cannot yet be explained. Such a god-of-the-gaps has been increasingly irrelevant as science has advanced, with the trajectory being quite discouraging for faith in god. Good luck with that. Your god is fading into nothingness.

  • libertarian Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    I think of an "athiest" as a person who does not believe in God and an "agnostic" or "deist" as one who doesn't believe in "organized religion" or church, but still believe in God. There are hundreds of religions all aspousing different beliefs, what makes one any better than another? Religion is just an earlier form of government, ie. control of the masses by a self-appointed (self-righteous) group of "elite".

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska

    Just because there is scientific evidence to support some biblical stories such as the parting of the Red Sea it does not mean that science has proven that "God did it"....but rather it explains that there is a natural explanation rather than a supernatural explanation. Just because some biblical archeology confirms biblical places does not mean the events attributed to it really took place. The Resurrection of Jesus cannot be considered scientifically because it has never claimed to be a reproducible event. To people of science, dead means dead. They have no evidence that anything that was dead ever came back to life spontaneously or that the world stood still for 24 hours for that matter! Where is your scientific support of that assertion, Bill?

    In science, everything is provisional. Being provisional is not a weakness or a sign that a conclusion is weak. Being provisional is a smart, pragmatic tactic because we can never be sure what we'll come across when we round the next corner. No believer has been able to demonstrate, or even strongly suggest, that there are any events in the universe which requires some alleged "god" to explain them.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 12:01 p.m.

    A voice of Reason says:

    "I simply feel that tolerance requires respecting other people's right to believe as they wish."


    I agree with you.

    Where we differ is when you start to make others live by your belief system.

    I don't mind that you *believe* something is wrong. I don't mind that you *believe* there is some god watching your every move (as if he didn't have better things to do with such a vast universe to govern). I don't mind that you go to church every sunday.

    I mind that you use your belief to discriminate against your fellow men; who may or may not share your belief system. That you send the message to children who are glbt that they're just "not good enough". That you use your god to justify these things, when in fact, your god told you otherwise (do unto others...).

    D&C 134,4 ... "unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others";

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 11:50 a.m.


    Where did you get the idea we haven't learned about spiritual things? My experience is not the same as yours. You ASSUME neither I nor my children learned about things spiritual when we actually did. We even went to spiritual places called churches to be taught about spiritual things. We have all sought spiritual knowledge, but we have also learned about non-belief as well. Have you? I have extensively explored religion as well as non-belief systems and it is always ongoing. Also--it's not as if we have never had any religious influence whatsoever from religious friends, family, and society. Neither I nor my children lack spiritual knowledge. However, despite learning about spiritual things we find that the evidence, logic, and reason is lacking so we had no alternative but to believe as we do. I KNOW that religion is taught so that is why I sent my children to church to learn about it plus religious information is everywhere for one to learn about it.

    Indoctrination and coercion is not freedom of choice, which means that people can choose what ever they want out of the options they are given. I gave my children many_different_options, not_just_one!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 9, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    @ Tekakaromatagi:

    Scientist are learning more everyday how complex are the cosmos and that the universe may have many parallels and dimension, but how does that imply a god. To the contrary it seems as something so vast and complex is beyond creation and control or subordinate to a diety. The diety would have to be more enormous than the multi-universes, and from where would the beyond imagination diety and its power have come from. More probable is that nature itself is god, so to speak.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Dec. 9, 2011 6:20 a.m.

    I am a scientist and I am not an atheist. The title creates the impression that scientists are atheist. The deeper I dig into science, the more I see that science has shortcomings about even basic things like, "Why is gravity so weak?" "What is charge?"

    It seems like the strong nuclear force (the thing that holds protons together in an atom) leaks into other dimensions than the three that I know, what are those dimensions? Some think that gravity is weak because it is leaking in from a parallel universe. What else might be leaking in from that parallel universe? Or leaking into it from ours?

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Dec. 8, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    Joggle: My story: I was introduced to religion as a child by my parents allowing me and my siblings, at the request of a neighbor, to attend the Baptist church down the block from us in Chicago, though neither of them ever attended. My father also foolishly believed that children should be allowed to make their own decision about religion (he being raised in a Catholic home). He believed that suddenly at age 18 or so kids who had been raised without any knowledge whatsoever of things spiritual would seek that out. Well, three out of four of my siblings chose no faith at all as adults, just as your kids have. What a surprise.

    Religious faith is not passed to our kids in the bloodstream; it must be taught. And dont give me that baloney about not wanting to coerce and indoctrinate when every OTHER aspect of family life involves just that. In reality your children lost a lifetime of spiritual learning opportunities, and so did you.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 8, 2011 8:00 p.m.

    Voice of Reason: Thank you for the wonderful example of a true Latter-Day Saint. The invitation was not one of trying to convert anyone or anything of that nature. It was just an invitation to go and see the beauty of Temple Square. So many get upset because a missionary or two will come forward to talk about the LDS Church. I have given the same invitation to others to go and visit Liberty Jail, Nauvoo and Winter Quarters. The same can be said of going to Palmyra, New York and other historical cites of the LDS Church.

    Atheist and Joggle I respectively decline as a scientist once said that the more science tries to disprove there is a God, the more they prove there is one. Science has provent that approximately 2000 years ago in a time frame in April that the Earth seemed to stand still for approximately 24 hours yet the Sun did set and rise again. Science has proven that beside the so called reeds are of the Red Sea, that winds in a certain direction will cause the Red Sea to literally separate and split. Yet, these fascets are denied by many atheist.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    "and watching football are all non-relgious daily events "

    I think you underestimate the way football is frequently treated.

    @A Voice of Reason
    "I invite you to visit temple square and if willing, to view the nativity scene. I also extend the invitation to all atheists, Christians, LDS, non-LDS, and all other groups of people."

    You know... it's funny, when I was an LDS member I steered clear of inviting any of my friends to any of these sorts of things because I don't like even giving the appearance of trying to convert anyone. Now that I've left the church I'm going to be suggesting going to Temple Square to see the lights to non-LDS friends of mine.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Dec. 8, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    I mentioned my Sunday School teacher before--Brother Frank Allan, who had us do an exchange of beliefs with our friends from other churches, at our church and in theirs. I never forgot that, or him. We all learned something...other religions besides the one you belong to might teach you something, for instance, how strong your testimony is in the faith you believe in.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    @ VOR

    I'm with The Atheist on your invitation! Perhaps we could include a read of some atheist texts or scientific studies as well. Despite the beauty of Temple Square during Christmas though....I will have to respectfully decline due to a simple friendly visit to view it in a historical perspective that turned into a prothylizing event that sent us immediately away.

    Otherwise...per this article: I was introduced to religion as a child. I also introduced my children to religion by sending them to a small country church because I believe all belief systems should be explored so a person makes an educated and knowledgible decision about their personal beliefs. I don't believe in forcing any child to believe what the parent believes because it makes their choice coerced and indoctrinated. True choices don't from childhood indoctrination. If one never explores or educates themselves about other beliefs, religions, and non-belief how will they ever understand the beliefs/religions of others, or whether they are really right....or even possibly wrong? I think if you understand others beliefs as well as they do, they'll eventually see that attempting to "educate" you is unnecessary. Today my children are agnostic atheists!

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    A voice of Reason wrote:

    "I also extend the invitation to all atheists, Christians, LDS, non-LDS, and all other groups of people. I personally and I'm sure many others will be happy to share our message with you."

    Thank you for the invitation. Now let me return the favor. I invite you to bring your wife and children to my office where I will "share my message with you". We can have some coffee, maybe a glass of wine, and IF you have a sincere heart, and are honest and have "real intent", you will see the "truth" of MY message.

    Then, after you and your family have seriously considered my message, I would be happy to accompany you to Temple Square (for the umpteenth time).


  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    Ranch, you clearly missed my entire point. The very point I was trying to make to Pagan initially was that one can participate in something and not necessarily agree with it.

    I watch, read, and listen to a lot of British programming. There is a great deal of atheism in U.K. media because of the demographics they cater to. I love the programming. I couldn't stress how much I love it. I've seen some people take offense to those views and some who don't. I don't get offended at a gay couple kissing, an atheist thinking every last religious person on the planet is superstitious, and so on. I simply feel that tolerance requires respecting other people's right to believe as they wish.

  • Kitenoa Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    I believe most Americans are practicing atheists to some degree of their daily lives. Getting a job, working for wages, spending money, and watching football are all non-relgious daily events (8 hours or more a day).

    On the other hand, religion is a useful part-time tradition for life death concerns (8 hours or more a year), and for important life events in between: like birth, Christmases, marriage, death, or explaining the unknown universe etc.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    Solstice Blessings to you!
    If you were tolerant of others' beliefs (notice I didn't even say "respectful") and did not engage in activities (public kiss-in) intentionally designed to provoke a reaction...' - lost in DC | 10:10 a.m. Dec. 8, 2011

    Your right. :)

    'The buildings on Temple Square create the perfect atmosphere for a wedding or ring ceremony.'
    - Temple Square Hospitality website

    *'Pictures List for Your LDS Wedding'
    - LDS Wedding Pictures List website

    'Work carefully with your wedding photographer to determine what types of shots will be included throughout the wedding day. Consider must have shots like:

    'Couple kissing'

    Thanks Lost. :)

    and Merry Christmas.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    lol, Pagan you got a real laugh out of that one.

    I don't worship Santa or pine trees. I worship our Heavenly Father. I suspect that your family is/was LDS and you were brought up in the church. You may have even read the Book of Mormon. I think you know as much as anyone that the LDS Church doctrine is calculated only to promote happiness and freedom as we have explained it.

    If you are welcomed into my peaceful home, and provoke contention, then you either must accept that you willfully chose to conflict in my home. Or if you still blame my rules, then I am guiltless regardless of my actions in your own home. You can't provoke conflict because you don't believe what I do, IN MY home, and call yourself tolerant. It defines intolerance.


    I accept you doing whatever you want in your own home. I do what I want in mine. But provoking people on temple square is essentially you violating another persons home. We promote our views in democracy, sure... but our home, our rules. If you can't even accept that then I am not the intolerant one.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    Solstice Blessings to you!

    If you were tolerant of others' beliefs (notice I didn't even say "respectful") and did not engage in activities (public kiss-in) intentionally designed to provoke a reaction, you would be MORE than welcome on Temple Square. Hard to blame the bees for the stings when you intentionally kick in the beehive.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    'Pagan, Merry Christmas!
    I invite you to visit temple square...' - A voice of Reason | 5:49 p.m. Dec. 7, 2011

    I apologize.

    Let me give you a more specific example.

    *Survey shows some LGBT residents dont feel safe By Rosemary Winters SL Tribune 07/12/10

    'A kiss between two men on the LDS Churchs Main Street Plaza that resulted in trespassing charges.

    Again, I would LOVE to go to Temple. The lights during winter and flowers during summer are VERY nice. And a pleasant view.

    But again...

    I would probably be arrested.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:06 a.m.


    I have a beautiful hand carved wooden Nativity Set. Just because I don't believe that Christ was the son of god (is there even a god?) doesn't mean there's no reason to enjoy the season.

  • L Kaiser REDMOND, WA
    Dec. 8, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    My parents were both non religeous people, they stopped going to church shortly after marrying 37 years ago. Growing up we had a tree, celebrated christmas, went to midnight mass, had dinners, etc just like most religeous families. I asked my parents one time why we celebrate if were not religous? They said we celebrate for the joy of the season and culture of it, santa, presents, christmas tree's, cookies, dinners, etc and all for all people, they arent even found anywhere in the bible. As for mass, they said it was important for us kids to see why others celebrate christmas. Over the years we went to many services of other faiths. Its not surprising atheists take their kids to church, Most atheists are not like what you see in media. Private Prayer in schools, crosses on the highway, public nativity scenes, 10 commandments in courthouses, etc do not offend or bother them and they in fact find it as an expression of our culture. Its only when one's beliefs are used to directly Legislate anothers do you find an issue.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    'Pagan, Merry Christmas!
    I invite you to visit temple square...' - A voice of Reason | 5:49 p.m. Dec. 7, 2011

    I would VOR...

    but I would probably be arrested.

    *'Crowd turns out for Nationwide Kiss-In' - By James Thalman - Deseret News - 08/16/10

    'The en masse public display of affection was staged to replicate actual incidents in recent weeks in which gay couples in three cities, including Salt Lake City, were detained or arrested by security guards...'

    So, maybe not.


    Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Blessed and Merry Yule, Solstice Blessings, Io Saturnalia, Salamun 'Alaikum, Merry Christmas, God Jul, Happy Boxing Day, Las Posadas greetings, St. Nicholas Warm Wishes, Peace and Joy on Bodhi Day, Protections of the Virgin, Joyous Epiphany Celebration, and Happy New Year!

    You are so tolerant! :)

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Dec. 8, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    I don't celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday, but I do insist that my children treat Santa Claus as one should a diety who can perform miracles (you know--the miracle of reindeer flight and the ascencion of the chiminey) and who gives us free stuff. They celebrate his coming by bringing gifts of milk and nutter butters, much as the wise me brought gold and muhr. I absolutely refuse, however--to allow them to believe that Mr. Claus is capable of giving them everlasting life as most religions believe that Jesus does. He can, however--make their earthly life better with material items.

  • ThatsSoUtah Fredericksburg, VA
    Dec. 8, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    What percentage of the "faithful" of any religion go out of their way to expose their children to other viewpoints and ideas of religious beliefs?

    I find it admirable that these parents are allowing their children to form their own opinions on things and wish that more parents would do the same. There are many groups who do everything they can to keep their kids away from differing opinions on things and avoid critical thinking. If you are so confident that what you believe is correct, then why should you worry about your child hearing someone else's opinion?

    This has nothing to do with the atheist parent(s) believing in christ or any other supreme being, only with letting their kids figure it out on their own.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 8, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    It seems so many are very excited to talk about Christ, but very few of them act Christ like; so what is the real value of Christ. Can the supposed faithful really bamboozle their way into haven, or is it just one big act of man trying to tame his fear of death.

    % A voice of Reason, I totally agree with you; the Mormon Temple Square is a very beautiful and special place to visit during the Christmas season.

  • sb SLC, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 5:10 a.m.

    "Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven." (Teach the Children the True Meaning of Christmas, author unknown)

  • Mizzica Orem, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    The Truth: "It seems even athiests can not deny Christs significance in our world."

    I believe you're correct, but it isn't the significance that you imply. Christians are a huge force in the world, as witnessed by the current political climate, especially among Republicans, in the US. Atheists certainly cannot deny that.

    The title of this article is misleading in a couple of ways. Because Atheists take their families to church does not confirm a secret worship of Christ or a need for religion. The bulk of the article does a good job of pointing that out. I attend church weekly with my family, but it doesn't make me Christian; it makes me the father in a family that is predominantly Christian, and I support them in their sincere beliefs.

    I also find the last paragraph misleading. Nothing in the article suggested that the Atheists in the article believed in any type of God. And of the 21% of Atheists in the Pew survey that believe in God, three quarters believed in god as either an "impersonal force" or "other/don't know." In all, it seems the author tried hard to slant the article to a pro-religion message that just isn't supported by the facts.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Dec. 7, 2011 7:43 p.m.

    Regardless of what many claim, I don't think that anyone KNOWS.

    So, I tell my kid the truth.

    There are many "religious beliefs" in this country and this world.

    Some believe in Jesus Christ, some in Buddha, some in Allah.

    Others dont believe in any religion.

    I don't know which if any are correct. These are things that you will
    have to learn about and make your own decisions.

    Now, I know that many of you think you "KNOW", but, in reality, I think you just believe strongly. And that is fine.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    RE: Pagan

    So What!

    So what if the christmas celebration absorbed some peasant (pagan) celebrations rituals (from trees to santa clause)

    Really so what.

    The most important thing has always been the celebration of Christ's Birth,

    The most important and significant thing has been to take a time of the year and celebrate this very important event,

    and so what if other things have been incorporated to make it more festive or help bring the peasants in in the past.

    It seems even athiests can not deny Christs significance in our world.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    patriot: "HA! If religion is so obviously dumb then why waste your kids time taking them to church?"

    How about...
    1) As noted in the article, taking children to church provides them with the knowledge to make an informed decision regarding their personal faith (or lack thereof), rather than blindly following their parents' belief system.
    2) The U.S. is culturally Christian, even if not necessarily spiritually so or practicing. Christian memes run through our literature, arts, music, history, vocabulary, etc. Exposing children to Christian church services gives them the cultural understanding they need to function in society. They don't have to believe the content of the service, but they should know what it means.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 5:49 p.m.

    Pagan, Merry Christmas!

    I invite you to visit temple square and if willing, to view the nativity scene. I also extend the invitation to all atheists, Christians, LDS, non-LDS, and all other groups of people. I personally and I'm sure many others will be happy to share our message with you.

  • DR Don Salt Lake City, Ut
    Dec. 7, 2011 5:39 p.m.

    "Many atheist scientists take their kids to church"

    I'm going to have to take exception to this headline. A mere 20%, one-fifth of atheist scientists, hardly seems worthy of an adjective such as "many". The term "some" would seem to be more appropriate and accurate since the overwhelming majority..:)..do not appear to participate in church/religious services.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    "study also found some attend services because their spouse or partner is religious"

    I would think that'd be a big cause for this stat.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    'The chill of the season is being heated up by the bickering talk of the War on Christmas.' - Article

    If Christmas was about Christ...

    how does the Pine Tree tie in?

    Did they find it in the desert?

    And as for the 'war' on Christmas...

    *Religious lobbying is changing political focus By Mercedes White Deseret News 11/21/2011

    Number of lobbies has grown from 40 to over 200.

    Seems to contradict itself when it's published by a paper...

    that is owned, by a church.

    Evidence that even the 'horrible' atheist's scientist's are tolerant of religion...

    and religion uses it to try and 'discredit' those who choose not to believe as they do.

    Great 'tolerance.'

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 4:11 p.m.

    HA! If religion is so obviously dumb then why waste your kids time taking them to church?

  • El caballero Tremonton, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 4:11 p.m.

    I don't know why it is so surprising. I am LDS and I love periodically visiting other churches and seeing how they worship as well. I also noticed the obvious omission: no mention on what percent of those baptized in a faith don't attend church at all in a year. Bet it's higher than 17%.