As I’ve mentioned before, my daughter attends two local church-based youth groups.

And she’s an atheist.

Today one of the youth groups is going to see “Get Smart.” I encouraged Taylor to go, too, but the weirdo boy isn’t willing to put up with a little extraneous religion to go to a movie and have pizza.

This made me think about Reagan; is it immoral of Reagan to attend youth groups when she has no intention of believing in god or in converting to the religion? (And immoral of me to let her?)

Or, is it similar to those timeshare tours, where they are happy to have anyone attend, in the mere hope that the person will “bite?”


9 Responses to “”

  1. Grandma's Attic Says:

    I’d go with the timeshare thing. My sis and I did the same when we were younger. Never understood the whole “Just open your heart cuz Jesus is knocking” thing, but we had fun!

  2. ollie Says:

    My daughter attended a Mormon camp because her buddy wanted her to go.

    Oh yes, she got me a Flying Spaghetti Monster t-shirt for my birthday. 🙂

  3. postsimian Says:

    I would say neither–it doesn’t fit into either category. I would consider this a social gathering, not a religious one. That’s its primary purpose, regardless of the intention.

    Though it reminds me of the time my mother tricked my brother, my wife and I into going to a church service. She said we were going to a movie, which happened to be “The Nativity” back in, uh, I think it was 2006. Well, what she didn’t tell us was that it was being put on by some rather fundamentalist church in Morton.

    The movie was enjoyable. I rolled my eyes through most of the sermon. Also got to see some angry, red-faced, knuckle-dragging fundie on the verge of slapping his kid around. The kid, as far as I could tell, wasn’t doing anything to warrant this (I was watching for awhile).

    Needless to say, I’m suspicious of my mothers invitations now.

  4. Secret Server Says:

    I definitely do not think it is immoral. She is not pretending to be Christian, is she? Even if she is, it is really no one’s business what her personal beliefs are. Also, maybe they are not even trying to convert her. Maybe they just sincerely want to offer something fun for kids to do, no strings attached? I think it is within the realm of possibility for a church to be altruistic and want to help people without converting them.

    I was thinking about this today, reading about a Baptist church in Washington having a clothing giveaway. I was considering donating some clothes my kids have outgrown and maybe “shopping” for some clothes for them there. I was wondering what, if any conversion tactics I might encounter.

  5. otherwise known as "k" Says:

    Secret Server, I have went to one of those clothing giveaways and they don’t try to convert you at all. They did give me information on a toddler playgroup they had at the church. They thought it might interest me.

  6. Becs Says:

    So, its not wrong. I have been on both sides of the coin here.

    Background: I was born and raised Catholic, and am currently Catholic. I have no issue with anyone and their religious views. You have yours, I have mine.
    As a middle and high schooler, I attended 2 friends youth groups a lot because ours was lacking. I was always welcome at both and felt accepted. They knew I was not going to convert. One night, one of the groups randomly turned on me. I was devastated and it had a lasting effect. Needless to say I never returned. Looking back, I am not surprised. This was the more bible thumper type of the two churches and groups. The other church was more than welcoming the entire time, and I remember times with them fondly.
    Last fall, I stumbled upon a position at a Presbyterian church as the middle school youth director. They were more than welcome of my taking on the position, even though I was Catholic. Half of the kids who attended my group meetings were not even members of the church. And no one had a problem with that, aside from a few random parents. We all saw it as a positive activity for the kids to do, at an age where there isn’t a heck of a lot going on thats age appropriate. We played games and the bible talk was at a minimum and geared more towards overall character development. (Not repent or thee shall suffer a life of eternal damnation.) And for those who needed/wanted a more in depth delve into bible study, we offered small group that focused more on that. Never in my mind as the leader, did I have the agenda of making any of those kids church members, etc. Of course, I did leave the position in the Spring, but that was because of the difficulty I had balancing that job with my other jobs, my husband’s line of work and my family. Something had to give. I miss the kids and our crazy, fun activities.
    I have a friend who is a youth director, too, at a church nearby and they have the same philosophy. I hate to say this, but some denominations are probably more into changing people than others.

    So yeah, in summation, some have other agendas, but I really believe most do not. If she has had a positive experience with these groups, then it can be a positive group in her life. Id rather my child hang out there than some of the other options that are out there. (Of course one is 3 and one is in utero, so that decision is a little far away.) I guess, however, I would have a problem if the church was impressing upon her something that I had a deepseeded issue against or that she was uncomfortable with.

    Again, I have rambled, and offered an unsolicited opinion. For some reason I really enjoy popping in on your blog from time to time.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    Simi- I would be asking your mother a lot of questions before I went anywhere with her!

    SS- I don’t think she pretends to be a Christian, per se, but I do think she just tries to kind of “fly under the radar,” in that she’s not proclaiming herself saved or a love of Jesus, but she’s also not wearing a darwin fish necklace to meetings either.

    Becs, I’m so glad you like my blog. I appreciate your comments. And I think you are right about the different denominations, some seem much more pushy than others. She mainly goes to the Methodist Church youth group and they seem pretty cool and honestly seem to like the kids, not to just view them as a body count of members.

  8. becs Says:

    Yeah, the Meths (he he) are pretty open… I have found the Presbyterians to be, as well.

  9. Jenny Says:

    I was raised Methodist (my mom’s religion) and my dad was raised Catholic. When I was 15, I started going to my boyfriend’s Baptist church and continued going there well past the end of our 3 month relationship. (especially since a lot of the kids said they liked me much more than they liked him.) I even took Miss Nomer with me many times, who has since converted to Catholicism. So, even though I always believed in God, I really didn’t give two shits about it while hanging out at these youth group meetings. Nomer and I went to check out the boys. And pine over them because we were too shy to do anything else. So I really think it’s like everyone else is’s a social outing.

    I laughed about how you and Becs mentioned that Methodists are pretty open and cool. It’s definitely not a rigid religion. In fact, Floyd said that pretty much the only “requirement” to being Methodist is that you need to be “white and boring”. :o)

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