How to teach atheist children about religion

I am raising my children atheist. Is there a good way to teach them about religious beliefs so they can understand what their peers are talking about? I'm a bit embarrassed, when my 5 year old calls a crucifix a "T" and pictures of angels "fairies", but I don't want her to get confused. Are there any good books?

Talking to Children about Atheism

First, thanks for creating this site - I have been really impressed by the clear, calm, logical answers that SmartLX provides. On to my question. After being raised Catholic and majoring in comparative religions in college, I've finally come to embrace atheism. But my question is about how I can best raise my two children (currently ages 6 and 9) to be skeptical and perhaps someday atheists, themselves. My husband still believes, and the kids go to church with him occasionally. More importantly, they attend an otherwise excellent Christian school where they have daily devotionals and there is much talk about Jesus. My concerns are threefold: First, they are being indoctrinated at a young age by people they respect, and it would be a big deal for me to contradict all the teachings of the school. Second (and admittedly selfishly), if I were to share my non-belief with my kids, they would be shocked and horrified. Third, if I were to somehow transform them into little atheists, they would be in for a really tough time at school - probably more from the students than the teachers. (Just for the record, there are plenty of Jews and Hindus and a few Muslims at the school, but somehow I feel like atheists would be viewed differently). So I guess I'm asking for any advice you may have on how to raise my kids to be skeptical and hopefully someday agnostic or atheist without completely rocking their world and without turning them into social pariahs. I've thought about starting with just enhancing their skepticism (any good kids' book recommendations?) and letting it develop naturally. Thoughts?
Atheist Answer: 

Ta for the compliments.

Always keep in mind how long it took you to come around. I know you want better for your kids, but perhaps they need to take the same path you did.

Think a step further: why would they be shocked and horrified to find out you're an atheist? Partly because of the stigma attached to us by the religious, but ultimately they would be afraid for you. You reject God, so you're going to hell, that sort of thing. The most important thing when it comes out, and it will, is to let them know that you are not afraid yourself. (Another little fact which might help is the idea that not everyone who claims to be religious really is.)

At that, they'll either ask why not or argue with you. You'll then have a line of communication open, and it's up to you. Expect your husband to get involved, and make no attempt to make this happen behind his back. Just be open, and listen to them all.

I grew up religious too, as you might have read in another answer of mine. What first set me on the road to doubt was the fact that my father was an atheist. He didn't talk about it AT ALL, he just told me once and that was it. I wondered why, and later, I found my own reasons.

As for kids' books, I recommend the children's and young adult books of Terry Pratchett. A humanist himself, his books often encourage critical thinking despite having fantastical premises. A favourite of mine is The Wee Free Men. Later, perhaps they'd enjoy his other Discworld books.

Incidentally, I just watched Happy Feet and the anti-religion message in that is fairly obvious.

- SmartLX

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