Struggling to Answer the Question
You’ll be glad to know that you came from mommy’s tummy. Your daddy and mommy lay heart to heart and daddy puts his part into mommy’s body where she built you from those two parts to a beautiful baby in 40 weeks. You are a marvel because you are a reflection of your mommy and daddy. Each gave the exact information that caused the cells to develop in just the right way, at just the right time and exactly which body parts would make a child as wonderful as you are.
Some people will tell you that God created people but we know that it wasn’t Mother Earth or Mother Nature either. You were developed as natural laws and processes operated in mommy and daddy’s bodies. A very long time ago, life came about when energy from the Sun and natural materials came together in much the same way babies came into families. Living things developed from elements and processes until they developed into bigger things over many years. The human race eventually developed. Through science, we are able to find out how these processes work.
[Being honest about reproduction: I believe the worst thing you can do in explaining things to a child is to tell them fairy tales about storks etc or parables about birds and bees. Because when they discover it's false, their worldview will be damaged and they'll come to distrust the source of the misinformation… Most children want to know how we got here.]
Some questions are easy to ask, but to answer them it takes quite a bit of knowledge, patience and endurance in searching. According to what we (the humans) have learned so far, life appears to be occurring, at least here on Earth, quite naturally. Mushrooms grow in the woods, little microbes are all around us, and there are so many kinds of life that even the scientists are having trouble keeping the track of them.
Scientists have also noticed that various forms of life undergo a change from time to time, from one kind of arrangement to a different kind. They also learned that life existed on Earth during such a long time that it is almost impossible to imagine it! During this very long period - and by the changes of simpler life forms to a more complex ones which were able to survive better in adverse conditions, one of many complex forms of life which we have now on Earth are humans!
So you see, there is no need to imagine some kind of a magician in the sky who changes a ball of clay into a "first human," but Nature itself has these properties to use the energy from the sun and rearrange the earth or clay into living things. As you grow and learn you will be able yourself to examine all these ideas and to come to intelligent conclusions.
In the meantime, when other children tell you stories about god and his magic, simply say that for now you want to keep your mind open and questioning, and various fables can not be taken as the actual truth! And continue to be friendly with them, so that even they might one day see the advantage of being a Bright!
"The question, 'Where do we come from', is not easy to answer until after you have moved further along in your education. It would be like trying to show you how airplanes fly. First you must learn what the air is made of, and then we must see how engines work ... after that there is a lot of mathematics involved that you haven't yet reached in school. You won't start learning them for a few more years. As time passes and you gain more and more knowledge, we will be sure that all these questions will be answered. The same is true as you grow physically. You can't be a big football player until time passes and you get larger and stronger. So keep up your good work in school and the answers will be yours. For now, let's say your mom and I are working together to create you and we are happy to be doing it."
My own ideas about that derive from what I have learned in school about science. Biologists and other scientists have discovered a lot in recent years about how humans like you and me and your friends came to be. Apparently, the way it apparently happened is something like a long, long road full of twists and turns, like ups and downs with lots of intersections and ways to go. Not everyone has learned the full story. I’m still working on understanding some of it myself, but I’d really like to tell you what I do know because I like the view of that long road! Would you like to hear what scientists have concluded about it? If you like, we could talk about it bit by bit. It will take me a long time, but we can do it together. I even know some books that we can use.
In our family, the "bible" for our younger children is: Our Family Tree: an Evolution Story, by Lisa Westberg Peters, illus. Lauren Stringer (Harcourt Children's Books, April 2003, 48 pages, all ages. ISBN: 0152017720)
"All of us are part of an old, old family. The roots of our family tree reach back millions of years to the beginning of life on earth." Brilliant concept which talks about all primordial creatures in our line as "our family." You meet some of our oldest relatives—from both the land and the sea—and discover what we inherited from each of them along the many steps of our wondrous past.
Complete with an illustrated timeline and glossary, here is the story of human evolution that even a child can understand. Full-color illustrations to inspire a child's vision.
For older slightly children and adults, I use the small book: What About Gods? by Chris Brockman (Publication: 1978, 1989, Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-87975-106-1). Mr. Brockman makes short work of gods as an explanation of anything.
"A god is a mythical character. Mythical characters are imaginary, they're not real. People make them up... Many mythical characters have been invented to explain things that people don't understand."
"But imaginary beings don't explain anything. When someone invents a mythical being to explain something, then we have to explain the mythical character, too. People invented gods to explain where the world came from. But when people say that gods made the world they don't explain anything. They only leave another question to be answered: Who made the gods?"
http://www.atheistparents.org has book reviews and original articles.
Parents are often searching for materials they can supply to or discuss with youngsters. In a very brief preliminary Web search, The Brights’ Net compiled active links (active at the time, summer 2005) leading to listings or commentary relevant to the topic.
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