When an atheist observes that religion is passed down via indoctrination by the parents, it is not uncommon for a believer to counter by claiming that it is necessary for an atheist to indoctrinate their children into atheism.
It is understandable that they would counter with this argument; in their world, knowledge is revealed so people are not allowed to come to their own conclusions. In reality, though, no indoctrination is necessary to raise one’s child to be an atheist, all it takes is an education.
When they’re really young, instead of reading fairytales you can read them some of the more childhood-appropriate stories from the different religions. You can read them the stories and then tell them about how early humans made up those stories to help them explain a world they didn’t yet understand.
The creation myths are how we tried to explain where we came from; the afterlife is how we first tried to cope with the loss of death; weather was a consequence of god’s favor with an area; and we can even show how people used religion in an attempt to implement rules governing morality.
People came up with these explanations because we like to feel like we have control over what’s going on. Then they can also be taught about how religion used those rules to keep bad people in power and other people as sub-human by exploiting our ignorance.
You must also cultivate their curiosity and instill in them a desire to learn. Ask them why they think things happen, then help them figure out the answer. Make sure they pay attention to science and math, and make sure you don’t let school kill their curiosity. Learning physics, chemistry, and biology will give them the tools to have a basic understanding of the evolution of the universe, the evolution of life, and a general idea of how life works at the most fundamental levels.
Using education, a richer, more beautiful picture of reality can be painted that will make the ridiculousness of religion plainly obvious to any child - no indoctrination required.
from the Facebook page “Atheists and Rational Thinkers”
I’ve been confronted with this very topic in a lot of my discussions lately. It just so happens that this particular Facebook favorite of mine has answered the same question more eloquently than I could, which is why I posted it.