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Feb 9 2005
Atheist Father Refuses to Force Beliefs on his Children

Source - WHNT 19, Huntsville, Alabama

Afternoons at the Scott household mean it's homework time for twins Rose and Rachael. But when dinner time rolls around, the quiet is replaced with lively conversation between the girls, their father Blair, their stepmother Yvonne and grandparents Bob and Rose.

Over pizza, Blair recalls a recent conversation with a man about the rapture.

"He said he had non-believers at work and he felt sorry for them because they were going to be left behind," Blair explains. "But he said, 'to make them feel better I told them they could have my house when I was raptured.' And I'm thinking that would be really funny if he wasn't so serious."

They also discuss the possibility of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore running for governor.

"It just really scares me that they could elect him," says grandmother Rose. Her namesake granddaughter answers, "I just hope he doesn't run for president." "No," Blair says, "he won't run for president." His daughter says, "Good!"

They're a typical American family in most respects.

But their beliefs are not.

Blair and Yvonne are atheists. So is his father Bob. His mother Rose doesn't call herself a Christian, but she does believe in God.

And the two 11-year-olds?

When it comes to their religious beliefs, these identical twins couldn't be more different.

Rachael leans toward Christian beliefs.

Rose says she's an atheist.

"I raise them to believe whatever they want to believe," Blair says. "If I forced my atheism on them, then I would be just as guilty as the religious person who forced their children into their religion."

And if both told them one day they wanted to become Christians?

"Knock yourself out," their father says. "Because you have to decide your own path. I can't decide that for you."

Though Rose calls herself an atheist, Blair believes she's too young to make that decision.

"I think he might be right, but in a way I feel as though I'm ready to accept there might not be a God," she says. "I'm ready to accept that."

Rachael, one the other hand, accepts there is a God.

"When I'm feeling sad, I'll talk to God and sometimes I feel like he's sitting there listening to me," Rachael explains.

She even prays each night at the dinner table. "Dear God, thank you for this wonderful meal," she says with her head bowed and eyes closed. "Now may we all eat in peace. Amen."

Her atheist parents respectfully listen, but with eyes open.

"That's her right," Blair says, referring to her prayer. "And we accept that right in this house."

She even reads the Bible at night with her grandmother, although the rest of the family doesn't join in.

It's an interesting mix. And in this household it works.

Blair has a collection of books from the Bible to the Koran to the Kabbalah. The children are encouraged to read them all and make their own decision.

As for Blair, he's pretty much solidified his. Here are his thoughts on what happens when we die.

"That's it," he says. "Game over. You can't put another quarter in the machine and go to the next level. That's it."

No heaven? "No heaven," he answers.

No hell? "No hell. People always say what if you go to hell and you're wrong? I say I'm not worried about it because if I go I'll be on the staff," he laughs.

That's how it is in the Scott household. Everyone is able to speak their mind - regardless of what they think.

Feb 9 2005

I can't recall seeing a more positive portrayal of atheism by the media. Kudos to WHNT.

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