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Guy Sparks Drama After Telling His Young Niece And Nephew That He Doesn’t Believe In God


Redditor Lil-Bugger is an atheist who was forced to babysit his four-year-old niece and six-year-old nephew who are both homeschooled.

When the Original Poster (OP) threatened to take his nephew’s tablet away for misbehaving, the child made a comment that sparked a heated discussion about God.

A misinterpretation of that conversation led the OP to visit the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit, where he asked strangers on the internet:

“AITA for telling my brother’s kids I don’t believe in god?”

“My brother’s two kids (boy, 6, and girl, 4, who we will refer to as 6 and 4 from here on) are homeschooled. This means that they are home all day while both of their parents work.”

“My mother drives 50 miles (one way) to his house 5 days a week to babysit them (without pay, might I add. They rarely even pay her for gas). They refuse to hire a ‘real’ babysitter, because the mom doesn’t trust anyone to watch her kids (personally, I think this is an excuse so they don’t have to pay someone).”

“However, a bit over a week ago, she had a doctor’s appointment, so I was volunteered (without being consulted, or told more than 24 hours in advance) to babysit in her place.”

“4 is a decent kid, but 6 is a holy terror who I swear gets off on causing trouble. After several hours of 6 demonstrating top form in causing mayhem, I threatened to take his tablet away if he didn’t start behaving.”

“Given that his parents let him use the tablet constantly as a way to keep him quiet, this was most disagreeable to him. He did settle down to a dull roar after that, but after a bit, he came up to me and said, ‘God’s going to send you to hell for being so mean to me.'”

“I replied, rather casually, ‘That doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in god.’ A short conversation followed:”

“6: What do you mean?”

“Me: I mean I don’t believe in god.”

“6: You have to believe! God is real!”

“Me: No, I don’t.”

“At this point, 4 had overheard and joined in.”

“4: I believe in god.”

“Me: That’s fine. I don’t.”

“6: You won’t go to heaven if you don’t believe in god!”

“4: Yeah!”

“Me: I don’t believe in heaven either. Or hell.”

“6: *while beating my legs with his fists* YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE!”

“4: *less than 8 inches away from my left ear, at the top of her lungs* BELIEVE! BELIEVE! BELIEVE!”

“At this point, I’m just staring into the camera like I’m on The Office. They quickly got bored of screaming at me and went off to do their own things. Eventually my mother came back, and I went to go pick up the kids’ mom from work. Then I went home.”

“Now, over a week later, my brother called me up, ranting and raving, demanding to know why I told HIS children that they’re not allowed to believe in god.”

“Their mother overreacted (as she does with most things), informing me that I am never allowed to see her kids again (an absolute win, if I ever heard of one).”

“I tried to explain that I did NOT tell the kids they couldn’t believe in god, but the parents were having none of it. Now my mother is angry with me too, because she has another appointment coming up and might have to cancel because, again, the parents refuse to hire an actual babysitter.”

“So, AITA?”

Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Many Redditors declared NTA.

“NTA. If they weren’t homeschooled they’d probably already have had that convo in school lmao.” – mayfly2131

“Exactly this!! Explaining to children that the world is filled with wonderful differences is not a bad thing!”

“It stops (hopefully) intolerance and inclusiveness. All these kids parents had to do is explain that OP didn’t believe in God. But everyone has their own beliefs. Just like you like toast but brother doesn’t. We can all love what we love and still love each other.” – Fruit-Additional

“I think they meant exclusiveness.” – griffhays16

“Here’s a crazy idea, you mum goes to her appt and your SIL gets a babysitter in to watch the kids. You have NO obligation to watch anyone’s kids OP, especially if you’re going to be berated for it.” – bananapantspalmtree

“NTA, you weren’t arguing with the kids, you simply stated you believe differently and in life they’re gonna have to meet people of different Faiths or lack of it.”

“Growing up Catholic I had the fear of eternal damnation and for others around me and them yelling at you to believe likely came from a place of concern for you since being sheltered their beliefs have never been challenged before and because they’re young misunderstood what you were saying.”

“It’s wrong of the parents to not hear your side out and just straight up yelling at you for sure though what the heck.” – babycoog

“NTA. They need to learn that not everyone has the same beliefs, otherwise they are going to end up being total dicks to anyone that doesn’t believe in their religion.”

“Also, the fact that your brother/SIL is believing what a 6 and 4 y/o are telling them in recounting a convo that happened a week ago over you speaks to how they view you imo.” – inquisitoralora

People discussed the drawbacks of homeschooling when done improperly, while those who believed this was an example of unschooling – where the interests of the child initiate the curriculum – weighed in with their thoughts.

“With parents who are involved and want their child to learn in a non-public school setting… it can be great but it takes a lot of work.”

“But other parents who don’t want to put that work in but see an easy way around truancy laws? Horrible. It’s an easy way to teach religious-based education, think like fundamentalist stuff, or for parents who don’t want to let their kids grow up… it can be really really bad.”

“Entirely depends on the parents’ attitudes and behaviours.” – hungrydruid

“100% this. I was one of those kids whose parents decided to unschool. Purely out of laziness, my mom was a SAHM and my dad worked 3 jobs so she could do so.”

“But around the time I hit 6th grade she just decided it was too much work and…stopped. Completely. Just sort of hung out around the house. I begged and begged for the next grade books to self-learn (growing up in the middle of nowhere was boring as hell) and I desperately wanted challenges.”

“After months of begging I was given the next grades textbooks of the program she used. This continued until she just stopped giving in to me and refused to buy any books past 9th grade. (It was very very Catholic saturated. To the point of the English textbook and phonics would be “the Angel Gabriel flew down from Heaven to visit Mary” and then you underline the verb, nouns, etc. Literally every subject had it.)”

“Anyway, to say that college and figuring out life after that was tough is the understatement of the year. I was put at a severe disadvantage and at 27 years old I’m STILL learning new things.” – szechuan_sauce42

“The unschooling movement, which poorly implemented (which it usually is), is just abuse.” – Chaost

“It’s not selfish to know your limits as a home educator. I LOVE the idea of unschooling and I know several families that manage to do it well, and my kids would definitely thrive under unschooling.”

“But i cannot manage that level of wandering and be able to keep up with what they have learned and make sure they have everything they need in the long run.”

“So, I am relaxed and eclectic – we have curricula that we are working through, but if someone asks a question that sends us down a rabbit hole and or we spend the afternoon on a non-curriculum pursuit? That’s fine.”

“My kids are still young enough that content isn’t super important and their skills are developing fine. (For example – right now I am watching them building with cardboard and egg cartons and buttons and stuff because they wandered into the room with all that and got started and there is no reason to stop them – we can do the lessons I had though we would do today on Monday , this type of play is good for them, and I get a little break from reading outloud.” – These_Reading_Gnomes

“Homeschooling is a very wide spectrum. The issue comes from the group that uses homeschooling to isolate their children and educate them in only their religious beliefs.”

“There should be better regulations on it, for sure. But I don’t know if I would have made it through my teen years in public school.” – kaldaka16

“Not being homeschooled doesn’t necessarily mean they’d have learned about atheism and other religions either though, especially at their ages.”

“I went to public school my entire life, and it wasn’t until middle school that I found out about other religions and that there were people that didn’t believe in God.”

“My parents never mentioned it either, so I spent a lot of my childhood assuming that everyone was a Christian. Maybe that’s just my experience though.” – SadisticGoose

“There are lots of AH in this story, but not OP. I would have chosen not to engage on religion at all with young children of religious people but that’s me. NTA.”

“FYI, I’m religious, too, but hell doesn’t figure prominently (or at all, actually) in my beliefs. And I apologize on behalf of all religious people for the wingnuts among us. (I was raised fundamental/evangelical, so I get why these children are like that. With luck, they’ll out grow it, gracefully.)” – NeverRarelySometimes

“I’m confused? You say they are homeschooled but who is actually teaching them? You say the parents work and your mom usually babysits but who is giving instruction? Maybe the four year old is too young, but the 6 year old (at least in the US) would be in first grade and is required to be schooled?”

“That said, light NTA. In all honesty, you should not have engaged a little kid in a theology discussion, just ignore it and let it roll off your back. There’s nothing to gain in that discussion, but it’s not a huge deal. But your brother and his wife are overreacting, and are slight a**holes.”

“They are getting free childcare and are acting quite entitled. If they have a problem they need to shut up and pay for a sitter. But seriously, who is educating their kids!?!?” – HeatherAnne1975

The OP confirmed:

“They do the schooling when they get home. Also there’s a 13 year old who is there every other week (different father so custody and visitation and all that) who helps them.”

Overall Redditors sided with the OP and strongly believed his brother and sister-in-law need to put aside their reservations and pay for a babysitter.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo