Atheist and my child

Last night I went to a nice family gathering. An atheist started getting loud about why he doesn’t believe in God. He spoke about against how Jesus never called himself the Son Of God and only called himself The Son Of Man, and his distaste for the Catholic Church.

The one thing that bothers me is my child came to me that night and said he is confused because this man made some “valid points.” He said “I worry because that stuff is in my head.” I talked to my child and will continue to talk to him. I will say to go to God he wants our humility and simplicity. Knowing God is not about lofty arguments. Any suggestions on what else I should say?

I want to send this man an email asking that he does not bring up his atheistic reliefs in front of my child next time because it confused him. However, I don’t want to come across as rude. However, he should remember not to be rude next time he sees us. For he was very rude. Any suggestions on how I handle this?

Thanks

For starters, Jesus did claim to be God. He told Phillip that “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” – John 14:8-9

biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A8-9&version=ESV

In John 8:58, and during His trial before the Jewish leaders Jesus said, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am”, which means that Jesus existed before His human life on earth. (God told Moses that His name was “I am.”)

biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8:58

With respect to your specific question, I would suggest that you keep your kid away from this guy.

That’s exactly what I said! I quoted John 14:8-9. But he retorted "ahh but he did not claim to be “God.” Then he started with some argument “if you look at me you’re seeing the Father.” I let it go because I knew it would go nowhere. If I see the Father by looking at him isn’t that some sort of Buddhist teaching?

My main concern is, do you think I should ask him not to talk about his atheistic beliefs around my child?

I think that if you do that, he will feel vindicated. He will feel like you are asking him to censor himself because you fear the influence he will have on your child. If I were you, I would tell your child that “this man is a little crazy and we need to pray for him.” If, in the future, this guy speaks directly to your child, I would tell him directly that “I don’t want you speaking to my child.” I would do that even if in doing so I came across as rude.

Good luck. I’ll say a little prayer for you. I’ll also pray for the atheist.

Good point. He will feel he is vindicated. I will talk and pray with my child again on this matter, telling him that he will meet many people who claim not to believe in God.

I appreciate your prayer. This man does need prayer as well.

The great thing about this is that you were there and heard what was said. It’s a great time for teaching and confirming the faith of your child. It might be the time to start some apologetics with him since he seems old enough to hear an argument and think about the points.

If the atheist starts spouting off at a family function, I would simply ask him why he feels he should bring his negativity into a nice family gathering and make people uncomfortable.

Well said, because the child is -and should be- under his parent’s exclusive responsibility and influence.

Excellent. Your child needs to know that he can’t worry about every idea out there.

Depending on you child’s age, you can introduce him to valid arguments in defense of his Faith. Ask him how he has experienced God, and see if he can express that to you. Encourage him to keep his own list of ideas about how he experiences God in his life and practice discussing these with him.

We all have to learn and realize that there will be people who oppose our faith. Rather than “protecting” our children from these events we need to teach them how to reply. As they mature they will develop their own arguments in defense of their beliefs, and by learning this at a young age they will be better at it than those that don’t.

Constant reading and study of the Bible helps. Look for age appropriate stories that help teach the Faith and discuss them. I always found the stories of the Saints helpful as a child, as I was not raised in a Church going family and had family that did not believe in God. My belief came from a near death experience, so the stories of those who served God really meant a lot to me and fed my soul.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.