I am an atheist and the father of a young daughter.
I am delighted with the fact that I do not have to teach my child a thing about atheism. Nothing. The subject doesn’t even need to come up. The reason for this is that all people are born atheists. No one believes in any gods, angels, or that Jesus died for them when they are children. It is not until they are indoctrinated by their parents or religious leaders that they start to believe in such things. There is literally no such thing as a Christian child or a Muslim child. Every one of them is a little atheist.
Being Misunderstood as Atheist
A good friend of mine, who is a Christian, expressed sadness about this fact. He said, “It makes me very sad to know that your daughter will never get a chance to know god, or go to heaven.” On the contrary, my daughter will never be exposed to the doctrine that she is born evil. She will never have to endure the absurdity that no matter what she does in her life, without religion, she is a bad person, worthy of punishment in and everlasting fire. She will never know what it is like to feel unearned guilt. She will never think that things can get done in her life through prayer. Instead, she will learn that if she wants something, it is her responsibility to make it happen. She will learn that if she wants to make a difference in the lives of her friends, family, and even strangers, it is her own effort that will do so.
This small child will never be taught unquestioning obedience. She will never be in the place of Isaac, about to be sacrificed, or Abraham, about to sacrifice what she loves. Instead, she will learn that she must develop a hierarchy of values and that it is the judgment of her own mind that must decide, not the whims of other people.
She will learn nothing of faith, humility, and sacrifice. Instead, she will be armed with the values and virtues required for happiness in this world. The reason will replace faith. Integrity and independence will replace obedience. Pride and self-esteem will replace humility. Joy and happiness will replace sacrifice. She has nothing to gain from indoctrination with religion. She has her mind, and the world, to lose
There will come a day when she does learn of religion. I, certainly, do not intend to shelter her from opposing world views. She will learn them all in the manner that we learn today of the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian religions of the past; as mythology. And atheism will be as natural to her as the day she was born.