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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I’m with you on that "God's plan" nonsense. If everything is progressing along with "God's will," then isn’t praying a waste of time? If God is the warden of our goofy little asylum, I don't think he bothers consulting with the inmates.

But it has always bugged me when people decide they no longer believe in God after something terrible happens to them. It’s a negative and solipsistic view of faith that says "I'm into the God thing as long as there's something in it for me."

I was also interested to learn that more than 90% of the world's population believes in some sort of supreme being or spiritual force. So I want my kids to experience some sort of organized religion; if they want to join the vastly outnumbered nonbelievers, that's up to them. And if they decide to believe in God, I hope I can at least teach them that the nature of faith is not quid pro quo, and God's primary job is not to make sure everyone's life is fair.

Besides, you can't really decide if something is truly "terrible" until you've have a little time for the context to play out. I was laid off when Son1 was 14 months old, and it seemed like a bad thing at the time. But I used the insomnia spare time to start a blog, and then I got a job as a blogger, and now here I am, a happy agnostic, endorsing that kids be exposed to religion. Can life get any more random than that?

Permalink | Should you raise your child religious? | Comments (1)


I'm not one to say what you 'should' do but I am pretty confident that kids follow their parent's lead at some level. My kids went to church about twice. Make that my oldest went twice and my 2 younger ones went once. I felt they needed to go to Church on Christmas Eve at least once. The eldest went one Easter, as well. That was it - no other churchification for them at my hands. They were never baptized because I don't believe in original sin and I was never short an excuse to throw a party for them.

My oldest (22) started going to Catholic catechism school when she was about 16 because her cousin was doing it. A few weeks later the Pope refused to consider the very idea of birth control and being a budding liberal feminist she was so out of there. She goes to church with her devoutly Catholic Grandmother once in a while just to feel close and have a meaningful shared experience but other than that she is a church-free individual.

My son (19) declared himself an atheist at the age of 12 based on I don't know what - pre-teen angst? He thinks the very idea of God is just a load of crap.

My younger daughter (17) just doesn't really care. She is moderately interested in Buddhism but doesn't really do anything about it.

I am suffering some guilt over this. I feel like I raised my kids in a spiritual vacuum and in so doing did them a disservice. They all feel that I did the right thing and that everyone has to make up his or her own mind. I agree with that but I can't help wishing that they had more of a basis from which to make that decision.

I don't know if that will help you or not but I think the fact that you are not a church going guy and your wife is might be the best of both worlds. Your kids can grow up at least having an understanding of the Christian belief system and of the meaning of Christian ritual (unlike my son who thought I was nuts when I told him Easter is a religious holiday - "Mom, it's about CANDY!") but if they decide that church isn't for them they will feel comfortable giving it up, just like Dad did.

Posted by: 21stCenturyMom | Dec 1, 2005 2:32:55 PM

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