Christian Parents, would you allow your children to play with children of different religions?
If your neighbor were Muslim or Jewish, would you be okay if your children went over and played with their children? Would it make a difference if they were pagan or atheist?
I was raised Catholic. When we lived in Philly our neighborhood was comprised of Catholics and Jews. I had many Jewish friends and even called their parents Aunt and Uncle. A person's faith is only part of who they are and it's a very personal part of who they are.
We played together, went to school together (well, not really because I went to Catholic school), attended parties together.
We all breathe, bleed, love, play ball, climb trees, roller skate, ride bikes, eat, cry, and feel the heartache of suppression when prejudice raises it's ugly head.
If a child or person tried to sway me or my child into bad behavior, I'd take measures to stop the interaction. That has nothing to do with religion. What each person believes is what they believe. I'm okay with all of it until it results in violence.
Politics and religion are two things that should not be discussed, especially amongst children. Let innocence live as long as it can.
Let the children play.
It really shouldn't matter what religion a child is. As long as the child is a decent child, why not play with the child. However, there are very narrow minded religionists who strongly portend that their children should only associate with those of like faith. They feel quite uncomfortable with their children associating with those of different faiths because they have a paranoid fear that their children may learn about the different faith, thus causing their children to question, even drift away from their religion of origin.
Many liberal and universalist Christians really don't care if their children associate with other children of different faiths. They contend that this association will benefit their children in the long run. They furthermore argue that religious boundaries are only artificial constructs and that all are one under God or the Universal Being.
Sadly, many dogmatic, traditionalist, and fundamentalist Christians are quite FEARFUL of their children associating with children who don't have their particular slant on Christianity let alone another religion. They fear that if their children associate with such children, they will begin to absorb outside beliefs which will, in their minds, cause the former to really question the logic of the religion of origin if not leave it altogether. Dogmatic, traditionalist, and fundamentalist Christians want to keep their children as sheltered and cloistered regarding their religion as possible.
I am a catholic and I have friends who are of different religions. If my children were to have friends of other religions i would tell them to respect the faith of their playmates. We all believe in a supreme being, and I do believe that goodness is not about religion but rather character of an individual.
Christians are possessors of God's love, and it must be shown to all colors, tribes, cultures, and beliefs. The perimeter of God's love is the world (John 3:16), so Christians must show their love to all. Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:21). Religion is not a hindrance for manifestation of love. The only playmate that I do not want for my kids is the devil.
Even as a nonbeliever, I would allow my children to play with anyone they see fit, just as long as I am confident they are not being subjected to any harmful rhetoric or practice.
As an Agnostic Atheist - as long as the children are treating each other with respect, then my daughter can play with any child regardless of religion, lack of religion, divorced parents, gay parents, long term together unmarried parents, happily married forever parents. It's how they learn, how they grow.
I was raised in a Catholic home and I was encouraged to get along and play with all the neighborhood kids. Many came from different backgrounds. Ironically, when the first African American family moved into our neighborhood, I was the first kid who went and knocked on the door. I did not care. The fundamentalists down the street however scolded my parents for allowing me to play over there - they were afraid it would lead to more diversity in the neighborhood if we all got along. These bigots were the ones who proudly proclaimed their religion the loudest. While I was part of a religious family also, it was never taught to me to hate others based on that, or skin color etc.
My father, in one of the few moments I respected him growing up, told this man that we were kids and that kind of pettiness should not be foisted upon us. The neighbors response "well those kids will grow up"... sigh.
Interestingly enough we did grow up - and if memory serves the one neighbor boy became a minister in their church. Don't know or care what happened to the bible beating fundies that preached racism. I wonder if they ever knew that Jesus wouldn't have been white? lol
Of course I would if my children were still at home. As long as the neighbor child was not a bad influence otherwise on my child, it wouldn't matter what religion the child came from. Unless times have changed, most children don't discuss religion during playtime. Bad influences come from bad behavior, not religion anyway, or at least they did when my children were small. My best friend in elementary school was of a different Christian religion that some of the people in my church called a "cult", but I never knew that she was of that faith until we were teens because religion was never discussed among us kids. Then only "bad influence" coming from her was that in the 3rd grade she told us there was no Santa Claus.
As for Jewish, my husband who was raised as a child in the Baptist Church became best friends with a Jewish boy when he moved up north as a teenager. The boy's mother got him into the Jewish private school where his friend went because he was failing in public school. They were so progressive that a teacher diagnosed his dyslexia and had him put into a special program where he was taught how to work around the dyslexia, and it was learned that he had an exceptionally high IQ. His life changed for the better and was enriched by knowing his Jewish friend.
My grown son has a Muslim friend, and they joke around about it and tease each other about their religions.
Certainly! My children played with other children of many different faiths. As long as the children were well-behaved and respectful in our home, they were welcome. If they were outside, they still had to obey the house rules about profanity, etc.
I was much more concerned with the other children's behavior, than I was what religion they embraced.
Thanks all. My 11 year old is naturally talkative about religion. Mostly because we live in the south east where beliefs seem to be brought up in normal conversation. My son wants to make friends and eat at people's homes but is not comfortable praying before meals with other people. I have assured him that if he is polite and simply sits quietly during prayer he won't have a problem, but he fears rejection.
It makes me feel much better to hear so many of you say that you wouldn't care as long as the child was well behaved, but I have to wonder if secretly parents would worry that their child may question their family's beliefs if a child of a different belief is around them.
Thanks for all the great answers.
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