How to Be a Clever Devil and Get All Your Nieces and Nephews to be Atheists

Quick follow on to this post: Can You Win a Debate?

It hit Dan in the heart.

I appreciate you sharing this. My sister is filling my nieces and nephews with this crap and I wonder for their future. I try and plug in as best I can from 2000km away and hope with time reason will prevail.

I reply:

“My sister is filling my nieces and nephews with this crap and I wonder for their future.”

Here’s the deal. Use what they do against them.

Back in the 70s even, they were smart enough to have lots of gatherings. For some reason, it wansn’t OK to promote Hollywood by just going to a movie. But, it was somehow OK to rent a VHS (this just came on line, early 80s) and watch it as a church group.

We were all so very submissive, then, and damn it, but I always wanted to be a good son and respect my parents and not cause them any crap.

It wasn’t like I was biding my time, but when I got on my own, other side of the country, stuff changed quickly for me.

Dan, you can never force it. Show them fun, freedom of thought, liberation. In gentle ways. Direct vitriol towards the adults.

This sets up a conflict that takes years to resolve, and you’ll have the kids.

I guarantee it. Be the clever devil in the midst.


Thanks, heaps.

Will report back in 10-15yrs.

Definitely hearts and minds with the kids. So hard to not strangle the parents with the “Why did god give daddy asthma?” questions.

I too was sent to church group pizza nights as a kid, I remember watching the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie at just such a gathering. There is a church group for everything!


Your task, Dan, is to engage minds, allowing them to think for themselves.

Yea, a quip here and there can do wonders. The adults will ignore it. The kids will hear it.

Set yourself up, gently, as the guy who never does what they do. For those adults, the answer is always JESUS (either with a smile or forlorn look; it’s catch all because its the premise—JESUS can explain everything). It’s not love or hate Jesus. See, you can’t hate Jesus; the handicapped “thinking” is baked into the cake and it’s tantamount to saying you hate chocolate cake and what kid is going to listen then?

You have to be a clever little devil.

Don’t hate on Jesus to the kids. Their parents just love him to pieces—as much as the kids love Mother Goose, and Flying Unicorns that Fart Rainbows.

Be patient. The kids are far smarter and aware than the parents, ultimately. This is the way of proper evolution and the reason we sit here.

Everybody go an do subversively likewise.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. doGnuts on November 10, 2014 at 15:48

    And so may your nieces and nephews rebel against your atheist indoctrination as you rebelled against your religious indoctrination…

    Let’s just hope they don’t do so by finding Jesus. I’ve been looking for him for a long time and I’m convinced he is living in my butt – nothing could produce the smells I do but an act of god.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 10, 2014 at 20:20

      Almost pithy. Has to be 1 para, 2 sentences max. 🙂

  2. doGnuts on November 10, 2014 at 15:53

    Btw, not sure what church group you guys went ot but the friends I had at “church group” got up to far worse shit than my friends with atheist/agnostic parents. I guess they were evening out the score on their restrictive parents…

  3. J+Wynia on November 10, 2014 at 16:53

    I’ve been re-reading a favorite book. Framing this as a simple matter of conformity/rebellion is oversimplifying things.
    From “The Diamond Age”:
    “The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”, said Nell.
    “Which path do you intend to take, Nell?” said the Constable, sounding very interested. “Conformity or rebellion?”
    “Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded—they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”

    • Dan on November 10, 2014 at 18:43

      Thanks again and yes it would be foolish to visit the sins of the parents on the child as it were.

      One mind at a time, I have 3 in my sights.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 10, 2014 at 20:24


      You know what? The best lesson I’ve ever learned in my life is the realization that in any situation, one option is to do or say nothing.

      Empowering, try it.

  4. DH on November 12, 2014 at 08:25

    We’re raising two happy, atheist kids. From an early age, we simply told them, “Magic isn’t real.” Sometimes we make a joke about it: “Watch! I’m going to move that pencil with my mind!” Then, after straining a bit, “Oh shoot, I forgot that magic isn’t real.”

    Once they were exposed to the concept of gods in school, it wasn’t much of a leap for them to see that gods are the same as magic. Then when they would come hope and report that, “Johnny believes in God,” we’d simply reply: “That’s OK. People believe all kinds of things. Johnny can believe whatever he wants.”

    In short, I think the approach of being casually dismissive of claims of magic, miracles, and gods — but not making a big deal about it — works wonders.

    • DH on November 12, 2014 at 08:30

      Typo: “come hope” –> “come home”
      (No, they weren’t “hoping” that God exists.)

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