I’ve worked with adults young and old for over twenty years in faith formation. I’ve seen the steps in this list below repeated time and time again with great success. If creating an atheist child is your goal as a Catholic parent, this list is for you:
- Emphasize that being a Catholic is just about following rules and avoiding sin
Whatever you do, don’t mention that your children should grow in virtue. This will lead them to the inexorable conclusion that Catholic morality is the same as repression, which will promptly be rejected.
- Stress that hyper-tolerance is the proper way to get along in a pluralistic society
The only conclusion that can be draw from this is that dogma is always opposed to unity. A dogmatic Church like Catholicism will then be viewed as opposed to living with others in harmony.
- Never pray individually or as a family
If you don’t pray, the desire of your (and your children’s!) heart will remain disordered. The teachings of the Church will seam unrealistic and hopelessly outdated.
- Constantly complain about the Church
On Sundays, spend most of the time complaining about the length of Mass, the priest who celebrates the Mass, and the homily. Be on the lookout for excuses to avoid going to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Even better, send your kids to Mass while you stay home.
- Believe that your media consumption has nothing to do with your faith life
Disconnect what movies, sitcoms, and TV shows you watch from your morals and Catholic values. Instead, listen to or watch programs that promote relativism. Of course, doing this for any length of time will connect your entertainment with your values, and you’ll find you no longer have any values left.
- Live for popularity, status, and worldly success
Strive to fit in your faith around the other goals that you’re vigorously pursuing. This will ensure that your children will view the Catholic Church as existing only for the clueless and unsuccessful.
- Assume it’s not your job to pass on the faith to your kids
It’s anyone’s job but yours to inspire your kid’s faith life. Whether it’s the Catholic school or the School of Religion that educates your children, your job is merely to drop them off.
- Indulge in sexual immorality
Promote a lifestyle for your kids that approves and participates in adultery or pornography. Your kids will feel unimportant and uncared for. This way, they’ll view God’s Fatherhood in the same light.
- Be stern about Church teachings without empathy or compassion
If you follow this step, your children will associate the Catholic Church with cruelty and lack of sympathy.
- Dissent from Church teachings
If you live your life without regard for Church teachings, your children will get the impression that the Church is merely governed by man-made rules that are prone to error. They’ll promptly reject it.
Maybe, for some reason, this is not your goal. If you’d rather inspire and raise a devoted disciple of Christ, simply do the opposite of anything mentioned hear. I’ve seen the opposite of these steps repeated time and time again with great success!