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Story for Atheist Children

K8let

New Member
I recently had a baby, and have been searching for ways to explain death to him with out religion when the time comes. I have come up with the short story below. I am looking for opinions, constructive critisism etc to make it better!
Thanks!



The Legacy of Spud the Whatsit

On a cold blizzardy night, beside the warmth of the fireplace sat a rather inquisitive girl of eight with her nose buried in a book. Breaking the silence that had taken the room for an hour now, she turned to her Grandmother, quietly knitting, covered in yarn, in her big red chair and asked "Grandmother, where do we go when we die?".
The Grandmother cleared off her lap inviting the girl to sit with her. When they were both settled in she replied "well child, some people believe that when we die our souls go to heaven to be with God. Others believe that our soul is reborn into another body. Every culture believes in something different and it is up to each person to decide what is true in their hearts."
The girl looked annoyed, "which story do you believe Grandmother?".
"Well my dear, let me tell you the story of Spud the Whatsit". The girl of eight snuggled in and the Grandmother continued,

"There once was a Whatsit named Spud. Spud was unlike any other Whatsit in that he was exactly the same. All Whatsits strive to be more than ordinary, except for Spud who was content with whatever life threw at him. Spud lived in an ordinary house, with an ordinary wife and ordinary children. Of course Spud didn't know his life was ordinary because he was a very happy Whatsit and cherished everything he had.
Every day Spud would kiss his wife and kids goodbye and head to work at the factory in Whatsitville where he had worked most of his life. He wasn't particularly good at his job, but he tried hard and made just enough moolawhats to support his family. Everyday on his way to work he would help old lady Agatha cross the street. On his way home he would help little Molly Mischief get her kitty down from the tree. Helping people always made Spud smile.
Every evening he would sit down at the supper table with his family for an ordinary meal which he would always tell his wife was the most delicious meal a Whatsit has ever tasted. After supper he would sit in his big red chair to read the newspaper and whistle a tune. At bedtime he would tuck in each of his ordinary children, whispering in their ears how special each of them are and sealing it with a kiss on the forehead and a lullaby. Once the children were tucked away for the night, Spud himself would go to bed, but before falling asleep he would whisper in his wife's ear that he is the luckiest man in all of Whatsitland to be married to someone like her.
One ordinary morning, Spud did not wake up to go to work, he had passed away in his sleep, the biggest Whatsit smile gleaming on his face.
You see, Spud had lived his life as though every moment was his last and so when the time came, he had no regrets, only smiles.
Some days later, Mrs. Spud and the little Spuds three, old lady Agatha and little Molly Mischeif gathered to give Spuds body to the earth where they knew someday the most beautiful flowers would grow. They did not gather here to cry, or feel sad, or to say good bye. They gathered here to remember. They knew that as long as they remembered Spuds kindness, his bravery, his praise and the sound of his newspaper tune, he would live on in their memories forever and this gave them comfort.
Some years later the ordinary story of Spud the Whatsit is still being told, passed down from generation to generation and in this fashion Spud will live forever in our memories."

"So you are saying then," said the girl of eight, " that when we die, our body becomes flowers and our soul goes into memories?"
The Grandmother chuckled, "pretty close, the moral of the story my dear, is that no matter what, people will remember us when we die, and they will tell our story to others, so we must live our lives the way we want too be remembered, we must build our own legacy with kindness and grace"
"Grandmother I am too tired to think about legacies right now" the girl said rubbing her eyes. The Grandmother smiled and took the child to bed. She tucked in her covers, told her how special she was, kissed her on the forehead and sang her a lullaby. "Good night my dear".


The end
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
I thought it was pretty good, and had a great message.
 

Diederick

Registered Member
I think it is a very reassuring story, especially since the atheist view of death can be very scary. The thought of not existing any longer will be very uncomfortable to children, so I think the story about how you live on (sort of) in the memory of other people, in your legacy, provides a very warm thought while not going into any untruths.
 

Mirage

Secret Agent
Staff member
V.I.P.
It's a good effort and clever writing, but it seems like an odd story to read to a child. Granted, atheists will say the same thing about reading "Bible stories" to children, but I digress.

I don't personally see how any comfort can be inserted into the atheist idea of death. Sure it can be sugar coated but in the end (pun intended), "utterly ceasing to exist" has to be the scariest thought/fear one can have. I think perhaps the reason this story comes across as odd to me is the very obvious effort it makes to put a positive spin on "in the end, it doesn't even matter".
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
If I was a child, it would scare the hell out of me. I'm going to die and my worthless body will be turned into a patch of flowers that some cow will eat and turn into cow dookie.
If I was challenged to tell about death without religion or God, I would say in the end your inner self goes on and then I'd admit that I didn't really understand where it goes or how it goes.

Of course I would never say such because I do understand the where and how. I was just trying to offer some sort of advice that wouldn't completely freak out your child.
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
Why does the atheist idea have to be to "utterly cease to exist"? ...why would you have religion determine our conceptualisation of death in the first place?

IMO..... If you want to be honest with your child both spiritually and intellectually then there is only one response to their question.... ask them what they believe happens? ....and be amazed as they come up with their own answer, it would be as good* an answer as anyone else could give.

*probably better as it would not be tarnished by misguided truths.

If I was a child, it would scare the hell out of me. I'm going to die and my worthless body will be turned into a patch of flowers that some cow will eat and turn into cow dookie.
Could be scarier...... you could tell them Genesis 3:19 ;) ... personally I like the idea of flowers better.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
Not a bad story, I think it was pretty well written. I agree there are some scary stories in the Bible as well, but that's not really the concern I have here.

My concern is, how can you classify a child as an Atheist if they don't even know what they do or do not believe in? I'm also interested in hearing if anyone considers this indoctrination much like they view Christianity as indoctrination.
 

EllyDicious

made of AMBIGUITY
V.I.P.
I agree with Bananas. Why do you have to rely on religion in order to explain what happens after death as if religion was the only reliable source to tell that?

Actually, there's nothing and no one in this world to explain death and the process that comes along with it.
No one knows what happens and neither does religion.
Religion is just a subjective effort to explain different phenomenons but it doesn't mean that it should be the only way to understand how everything really works, especially death.
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My concern is, how can you classify a child as an Atheist if they don't even know what they do or do not believe in? .
I don't think the thread-author was trying to classify kids into theists and atheists. He just posted a story about an "atheistic" death.
 
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CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
I agree with Bananas. Why do you have to rely on religion in order to explain what happens after death as if religion was the only reliable source to tell that?

Actually, there's nothing and no one in this world to explain death and the process that comes along with it.
No one knows what happens and neither does religion.
Religion is just a subjective effort to explain different phenomenons but it doesn't mean that it should be the only way to understand how everything really works, especially death.
I'm still trying to understand the first question...who says anyone HAS to rely on religion? If someone has certain religious beliefs how are HAVING to rely on religion to explain death? They're relying on that religious belief because that's what they believe. If I'm a Christian and believe my soul would go to heaven, and that's my belief, why would I rely on reincarnation to explain what happens to me?

Maybe I just don't get the question posed. Religion is the reliable source for that person because that's what they believe.
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I don't think the thread-author was trying to classify kids into theists and atheists. He just posted a story about an "atheistic" death.
I don't think so. The point is the author is indoctrinating his/her child, which is fine, that's his/her perogative, I'm just curious as to why that's usually not called indoctrination while religion is.
 
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Diederick

Registered Member
I'm also interested in hearing if anyone considers this indoctrination much like they view Christianity as indoctrination.
Parents tell their children all sorts of shit, from obscene reasons for personal hygiene habits to what that gooey balloon they found under the bed is for. Telling young children about adult (confronting, unpleasant, sexual) stuff can be hard and making up a bullshit story usually does the trick just fine. People just have to make sure they know when to stop fooling their kids and start telling how things really work.

Making up a story on how death isn't the absolute end of your futile and pointless life seems only right. But I understand how it would be indoctrination to tell your child about atheism in a religious kind of way, like it is the one and only Truth. That, in my eyes, is almost as bad as telling your child a random religion is the one and only Truth.

If I would ever be a foster parent or adopt a child, I would teach it to be sceptical and look beyond what is made to be obvious. I don't think I'll tell it fairytales, those never worked for me as a child and I don't think I would have missed them if they were taken out of my life. But I'd leave options open. Considering death, I think it isn't lying to say we can't really say what happens because we don't exactly know, and I love the suggesting of asking the child what he/she thinks will happen. If the kid isn't ready for the nasty reality of life, it won't have imagined the end of existence as a human being and might very well come up with a spirit world or rebirth.
 
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