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Hello all,

I have a bit of a dilemma and was hoping to get feedback from you all.

First of all let me give you a little bit of relevant background about myself: I am 42 and mother to two children ages 4 and 6. I come from a multi- national background with roots in the US, Switzerland and Iran. My children are being raised much in the same way I was, in that we speak several languages, co-exist with people of different nationalities, religions etc... I live in Switzerland where my children attend public school. My husband is someone who is very spiritual, reads about world religions without adhearing to any speciffic belief. He has never taken the initiative to read the Urantia book but I hope he will some day. He is however very allergic to institutional religions. For us spirituality is the most important task we face in the education of our children, and he has trusted me to introduce my beliefs to the kids. I can't say I've done a lot in that direction but have tried to explain things progressively as they get older in a way that is compatible with their age and capacity to understand. So far they have notions about Jesus/Christmas and Easter on a very basic level. I am very happy with the ways I have found to explain these things to them and I feel they have drawn simple but valuable lessons from our talks.

As a child I spent my earlier years in a muslim country and through my mother and the International schools I attended was exposed to Christianity. But my exposure was very very minimal. I had no religious education what so ever. I was never attracted to Islam but was somehow always touched by what I knew about Jesus. I am very happy that my search for spirituality was self motivated at adolescence although despite all of this I was very confused about old testament stories, evolution etc... so finding the UB at age 26 put all of those questions to rest.

Now that I've bored you with this information here is my dilemma: Last weekend I learned that from first to 6th grade Swiss children are requied to attend bible study classes in school. (in this class they also get exposed to other religions). Upon questioning a few of my friend's children aged 8-12 I found that they knew their old testament stories well and believed them to be factual. I am very distressed about this and am afraid that all my efforts to teach them as I see fit will be seriously hindered. I would be less concerned if these classes took place later between the ages of say 10-18. But that is precisely when they no longer have any such classes.

Before I start writting letters and having meetings with the school director about dispensation from these classes I would really like to know what you all think about this. I welcome any comments, ideas or advice you may have and thank you for taking the time,

Sincerely,
Mina


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Hi Mina,

My sister is in a similar situation with her two girls. 4 and 6 yrs old.
She has them going to Sunday school, more to appease her mother in law who is active in the Presbeterian church.
My sister is not an athiest but she is certainly no practicing catholic either.
From my talks with her about the UB, she believes that there it makes better sense all round then main stream Christianity.

Recently her oldest girl came home from Sunday school near Easter and she wanted to recite to her mother what she had learned about why Jesus was cruxified. You know the whole atonement thing..

Sandrah(my sister) asked me what she should do because she wanted to tell Madaline the truth about Jesus but was afraid that she would go back to Sunday school saying 'He didn't die for our sins,...He was murdered by the Sanhedrin because they feared him!

I didn't know what to tell her really. I guess this is where the revelation smacks up against the mores of society.
I guess if she has to have them in Sunday school, it would do no good to tell them that what they are learning is wrong.
I think that what they are being taught is sort of Jesus 101, I don't think that it is so important for the young mind to sort all the fact from fiction.
At this stage I think the girls are best to simply be exposed to main stream Christianity and develop the brotherhood and friendship aspect of it. But I think when the time comes when they have questions about all of it. They should be fed on truth.
I guess it would be different for each child depending on their hunger for truth. It could be that one of her girls will be content with the main stream bible stories and never want for any clarification, and the other girl may be full of questions and will require much more in the way of explanation and guidance.

All of this would not be an issue for her if her mother in law wasn't determined to see them brought up in the church. But when I remember my own childhood,... I didn't care about much about spirituality and truth.
I could have been educated by the church or not.. I don't think this would deter me in my quest for truth when I was ready for it.

I guess that one has to weigh the benifits of enlightenment at a young age with the possibility of having the child become socially incompatable with their peers.

The one thing I would never do is deprive my child the truth as best as I know it and can explain it if it is asked for.
If the child knows that you possess the truth, then when they want it, they will ask.

I also would say that it would be healthy for the young mind if when being told of the UB, to focus on the fact that the revelation is a clarification of the knowledge contained in the bible and all other books of faith.

I don't think that learning the bible as it is will harm or set the mind of the child. Sort of like the Santa Clause story. Some day when it comes to them, they question if he is real. And it would be responsible to give them the truth when asked. But if they don't ask, then perhaps it's best to just let them enjoy Christmas as a child.

good topic Mina.
nice to see you again.


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Hi Mina:

I am completely shocked at your story - so I have to ask a question - when did this "requirement" become a requirement in Switzerland?

Thanks,
Ana


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I have two girls, ten and five. When we lived in the states, they attended church with our neighbors, who were fundamentalist Christian. So, of course, when they went to church they we taught all the standard Christian dogma about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and no salvation except in the name of Jesus.

I also took my children the Buddhist temple in Seattle. I shared with them at the level they could understand, about God, Jesus, the Urantia Book, and the fact that there are many religious traditions out there, and they sometimes believe different things.

One day, my oldest asked me on the way home from the fudamentalist Church, \"Daddy, is it true if you don't believe in Jesus you will go to hell? What about grandpa and grandma who are Buddhist?\" My children are half American and half Korean. I thought for a moment, and asked her, \"What do you think? Why don't you ask Jesus' Spirit of Truth and see what Jesus says?\" She thought for a moment, and then said, \"I don't think that is true, because it wouldn't be fair or loving.\" I told her I thought she was correct, and whenever she was taught something by someone from any religion, she could always ask her own inner Spirit of Truth to seek an answer.

Perhaps if such experiences can serve as opportunities to allow our children to start their own inner dialogues, with our guidence of course, then there is something positive in such experiences.

So, when they get old enough to ask questions like the one above, then is the time to encourage them to look within, as well as to seek our advice as parents.

I have taken the time to speak with her about respecting other people's religious beliefs, and that we must be both tolerant and thoughtful how we share our own beliefs. So, for example, we talked about the atonement doctrine. When she asked me if this teaching she heard in church was true, I asked her if it would be fair if I punished Chloe for something she did wrong, and of course she did not think this was fair. It allowed me to help her understand both what was being taught, how it was erroneous, and then how she can learn to love even those whom she disagrees with by respecting their beliefs, but not having to accept them as her own.


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Hi Mina,

Thanks for sharing this dilemma, I'm sure every UB parent faces it at some point. I know I did.

I have a 30-year-old, a 27-year-old and a 9-year-old and have always engaged in active conversations about religion with all my children. When my first two were in grade school I let them join Awanas, which is a children's Christian group. At Easter time all the kids in Awanas put on a puppet show about the little lamb that was chosen to be the sacrifice. The lamb was afraid to die and the other lambs came to him and said, \"Don't be afraid, you should be happy that you have been honored in this way. You have been chosen to be the sacrifice, like Jesus!\" I wanted to stand up in the middle of the church and scream \"How can you allow children to be exposed to such ugly teachings about God and Jesus?\" Of course I didn't, I just sat there astonished.

Like Rob, I discussed with my children what was said and I asked them if they believed that about the God. They said, \"No, we don't believe that junk, we just go because they serve dessert.\" I asked them if they really wanted to continue going and they said they didn't. So that was that. They much preferred the UB teachings of a fair, just, loving and perfect God. I have always found that children have a natural spirituality and a natural connection to God.

With Mae Lee (my 9-year-old Chinese daughter) I started telling her about God when she was very little. I told her that God lives in each person. One day when she was about 3, we were riding in the car and out of the blue she said, \"So, God's up in heaven and God's in my heart.\" Of course I absolutely affirmed this discovery and I told her that God does truly live in her heart and that she can talk to him any time she likes. Periodically I ask her if she talks to God in her heart and she always says yes. One day when she was about 5, I asked her if she was still talking to God and she said emphatically, \"Yes and he listens. Daddy's car was stuck in the snow and I asked God to help him get it out and he did!\"
Needless to say, my heart melted.

You have a bit of a different issue though, since this is happening in school. Perhaps you could ask to sit in on some of these classes just so you know what is being said and taught. At least this way, if there are some teachings you find questionable you can discuss them with your children. It could be that the school handles the curriculum in an objective and non-dogmatic way, and you really don't need to worry.

I really do think it is up to us as parents to help our children learn about God's perfect nature, so that, when the flood tides of human adversity do crash down on them, they will be able to find comfort and peace in that unassailable inner bastion...that citadel of the spirit. What a blessing to a child to help them understand early in life that they can have a relationship with God. Rob's telling his child to ask her Spirit of Truth is priceless because it's helping her to know that she can discern truth for herself. Once a child is able to make moral decisions, their capacity to understand God's nature is greatly enhanced. This is a parent's prime opportunity to start introducing these invaluable concepts of God.

Blessings.....Paula


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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies...it has set my mind at ease about how to handle contraditory information they will recieve. I don't think sitting in on the classes will be possible and I fear this would only draw attention to my daughter which she is not very comfortable with. Having her dispensed would also attract attention and perhaps make her feel excluded, But I still feel really strongly against sending her to these classes.

I shall pray and ask for guidance, and furthur more discuss it with my daughter and then make a decision...I still have time and am still interested in more comments and advice on the subject.

Thanks again for your thoughts, I'll keep you posted.
Sincerely,
Mina


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Society itself is the aggregated structure of family units. Individuals are very temporary as planetary factors--only families are continuing agencies in social evolution. The family is the channel through which the river of culture and knowledge flows from one generation to another. (84:0.2)

-----

World culture rests on foundations of folk lore, fable, fairy tales, historical episodes, tradition, scriptural portrayals, parables, proverbs, psalms, superstitions, etc., etc. A good percentage of it simply isn't true, but unlike computers human beings are able to learn to discern fact from fiction.

Just a little over 100 years ago the Bible was still a part of the teaching curriculum in public schools in the USA -- it was used in English classes, in spelling classes, in literature classes, and in civics and ethics classes. Today more and more children grow up to become adults without knowing even the basic Bible stories -- Adam and Eve, Sampson and Delilah, Job, David and Bethsheba, Shadrach, Meshak, and Abednago, David in the lion's den, mana in the desert, the Egyptian captivity, and yes, even Jesus hanging on the cross. And how many children today have ever heard of Anderson's Fairy Tales, or Hans Christian Anderson, or Aesop, or Greek mythology?

Whether true or not, these all comprise the rich cultural heritage of the planet that helps us to fit in and become a member of the human family on planet earth. It's a shared cultural background for Western civilization that helps us recognize that we are all brothers and sisters.

Do we care if it's all true or not? I don't think so. Most of these stories provide a moral lesson, good triumphing over evil, actions come with consequences -- these stories are usually learned at the time when thought patterns are forming in children and the brain is developing its ability to correlate information. With proper training, by the time we've become adults we understand how to separate fact from fiction and truth from error. We know that although it was fun at the time, Santa Clause isn't real.

To deprive children of the wealth of information, beauty, tradition that the Bible contains just because it doesn't all ring true to us as adults is to deprive them of one of the richest sources of inspiration that is available and has been fundamental to western culture. In times of stress and need our minds search our subconscious repository for answers and for direction. If, as a child, one had a foundation in the classics and the Bible then there are many ready sources for comfort, for contemplation, for answers to help us overcome our trials and tribulations. If instead, as a child one had only popular music and contemporary culture to rely upon then no wonder one could be unhappy, confused, untrusting, violent.

The Urantia Book isn't a substitute for the Bible. There are more quotes from the Bible in The Urantia Book than from any other source. We're learning that The Urantia Book isn't pure revelation -- it's much like an index into the most valuable teachings of the past. With that understanding Urantia book readers should even more reverently embrace the Bible.


Last edited by lwatkins on Sat Jul 16, 2005 7:25 pm +0000, edited 3 times in total.

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Hi Mina,

I agree with Larry that it can't harm a person to study the Bible. It's the interpretations or slant of the teacher that can do potential harm.

I completely understand why you wouldn't want to make your child feel uncomfortable by going into the class. I wouldn't do that either. In the US it's pretty common for parents to sit in, especially in grade school, and even volunteer to help out. But since that's not the case there it would surely put your child in an awkward postion. You may be able to call the teacher and discuss the curriculum with him/her. My only point in suggesting that you find out what the class will actually be like is because you might find that it's just as Larry suggests, a study of a wonderful historical religious document free from dogmatic interpretations. Another way to assess this is to ask other parents whose children have already taken the class.

I wish you the best with this!
Love....Paula


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Hi, Mina

My wife is Iranian. Half her family is Muslim (and anti-Christian, anti- this and that). The other half is Baha'i (which believes in Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha and......).

Maybe you can investigate this group. I have been a UB person 1 yr, and am convinced of it's truth. However, I have begun to appreicate 'religion' more so - esp for families.


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If it becomes manditory for public schools to study the Bible... then I say let's make it mandatory to study the Koran and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bahai Text's, the Book of Mormon, and the Bhagavad Gita.... Amen?

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Arie, this can never really work, so long as Christianity insists that everyone else is "going to Hell", and that the Bible is the ONLY "true Word of God". For them, there is no room there for any other path to God. That is why Christianity is reviled so often. Yes, the Muslim are pretty closed in their religion as well, but at least they acknowledge Jesus as a great prophet.

We have a way to go here. Some sects of Christianity are coming around, but the very vocal rigid \"Fundies\" are not interested in anything except erraticating all other beliefs. :(

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Yes... I agree Dave. I feel it will take more discoveries in science to shake their belief that the Bible is the word of God. But as this happens... they will start to gradually seek the truth through other pathways as they keep their truths which are revealed in the Bible. Eventually they will start to look upon the Bible as we do... as a source of truth... but not the sole source of truth. Amen?

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Arie, you have pointed to a primary concept that all must come to understand, if we are to acheive Light and Life; There is only one source of TRUTH, God. Yes, it seem obvious and even mundane, but think for a moment. How many of us turn only to God within for our answers? And, when otheres seem to get \"different\" sounding anwers, do we accept that their answers are valid, but by necessity different, because we each are different? Probably not.

Of course there is only one TRUTH, and of course none of us is capable of knowing that TRUTH in our present condition. But God reveals truth in ways we each are capable of grasping at the moment.

What a corner we will have turned, when we can accept our differences with each other, and our \"sameness\" with God.

What a concept! Someone should write a book... :shock:
Bro Dave :wink:

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Mina...

I'm a second generation reader, and I was raised on the teachings of the UB. however, I also remember attending sunday school as a child, and being a part of a christian church... and all the sunday school teachings that came with it.

my experience growing up was very dynamic and full of open communication with my mother. I remember her sitting down with me and reading to me the UB stories that corresponded to the sunday school teachings. So I grew up knowing the basics of the bible stories, and being able to relate that to the UB. one of my favourites was adam and eve. it was fascinating learning the UB story after the shock of the bible story.

As a parent, you are the teacher.

I don't know at what age I learned these things.. because it's been for as long as I can remember. I learned that studying the bible does not require accepting it. I learned that different people believe different things, and that's ok. I learned to question, and seek truth. and if i was taught something at sunday school that worried me, or was negative, I knew I count count on my mom to explain it to me in a positive and loving manner.


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Hello Erin !

We're tickled that you've found our discussion site here and that you have been moved to join us.

I am touched by the wise and considerate way in which your mom raised you and choose to develop your spiritual education. We all should be so fortunate.....but alas we're not.

There are a few others here who have shared a similar early background to yours. Your experience will be extremely valuable to many persons on this board and I am hoping you can be with us for a long time and share more of your insights. Do take a good look around all of our forums. Hundreds of good discussions have been started on many intriquing subjects. Perhaps you will find more to comment on and perhaps you'll be moved to start some of your own.

You are so very welcome here :smile:
Thank you,
Woody


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