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Myself : Was a staunch religionist. Life lead me to find my version of God which is the omnipresent nature. And for the most part I am inclined to the Buddha's way.

Partner : Religious and prays to idols.

There is never a conflict between us and as a result the kids haven't heard of any "religious conflict" and neither has our individual ideas been imposed on them. Now, the 5 year old has started asking questions about God. Who/What/Why is God? I looked at this question How to raise a child between agnostic parent and believer relatives? but I believe my question is fundamentally a bit farther down the ladder - I am seeking answers on how I can introduce God agnostically or as a presence/nature. The questions are rapidly transforming to prayers.

Recent most was "I am gonna pray today to make me a good cyclist"

The father that I am, I asked him who and where God was. He repeated something I had told him as a passing statement - "I prayed to the God in my heart"

"Why don't you pray like mum does?"

"But she prays to a statue."

I am finding it hard to show examples of how I can explain that, mostly, all help needs to come from within, while making him mindful and acknowledging of grace from an external presence (nature). I am also mindful that the school(s) (and schoolmates) he will attend will play a role in shaping this.

How can I be able to supply enough information as a means to introducing God agnostically in a way which will hopefully enable him to find his version of God/Religion ?

  • Where is your child's idea of god coming from? You or your partner? Or an outside source? – Erik Sep 9 at 12:52
  • @Erik I think mostly from partner. Or when I do some chanting/breathing exercises. Kids glance and mostly observe us both when we are praying/introspecting respectively – happybuddha Sep 10 at 5:50
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You have at least three different questions here.

The answer to the title question is that you don't. Your child has already been introduced to the idea of God.

The next to the last paragraph asks how to introduce your child to your idea of God. You're doing that too. You're telling him about what is important to you.

The last paragraph is just a question about comparative religion, so take him to a library. He will decide what he believes in his own good time.

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I'm not in pedagogy so I don't know if this is age-appropriate. But here are some ideas roughly based on philosophy of religion and/or personal experience that might help:

  • Your child says he prays. How about asking what that means, who or what he is praying to, and then see if you can find common ground on something like God being in himself as well as everywhere?
  • Does your child share the ambition of striving for something higher and better? If so, perhaps they can appreciate the idea of (the realm of) God as the ultimate fulfillment of what we strive for (nirvana, paradise, absence of pain/happiness, peace, etc.). This is how my parents introduced God to me as a child and I think I "got it" at the time -- I don't remember how old I was.
  • You mention the idea of God as a presence in nature. From my very limited experience, kids are great at being very attentive to and caring towards nature (plants, animals etc). Perhaps a conversation about the value of nature (why is this flower beautiful? why do we want to protect this little animal?) might enable your son to consider divinity in nature?
  • Some philosophers think of God as the ultimate cause or unmoved mover. Kids might have a good understanding of something that causes the sun to rise, brought about the universe (big bang), etc. Perhaps you could have a conversation like "Why did A come about?" -- "Because of B." -- "And B?" -- ... -- "And ultimately? That's what we can call God."
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