Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Atheism and Parenting

Although I am not a parent and don't plan on becoming one anytime soon, I could completely identify with this article from one of my favorite blogs. This part I've included below is similar to the kind of experience I started having in late high school... only minus the kids and the breastfeeding.

I read the gospels while breastfeeding, feeling safer in the New Testament with Jesus’s reassuring compassion than in the Old Testament with its endless wars and wrath of God, but I was not reassured. Had the Bible always been so inconsistent, so violent, so sexist? Had it always needed so much adjustment to fit with my own sense of right and wrong? I tried to stretch my faith, twisting it like the rubber band I had looped through my buttonhole to give me a few more weeks in my pre-maternity jeans, but it didn’t fit. I tried to ignore my questions and doubts as I had in the past, but there was a new question I could not ignore: What am I going to teach my daughter?

When our parents pressed for a dedication ceremony, sort of the SDA equivalent of infant baptism, my husband and I recoiled. We admitted to ourselves then that we could not raise our daughter “in the church” and, eventually, that we could not raise her in the looming shadow of a personal god.

I especially like the part about how she had to stretch her faith, "twisting in like a rubber band." I think a lot of people do this for a long time either because they think their faith brings them some sort of comfort or because they're scared to admit that they don't believe anymore. 

I've often thought about how I would raise my hypothetical children, because like the writer above, I don't have a model for that. But I've always thought it would be nice to spend one day a week as a family exploring art and music and culture. And if my future hypothetical children became curious about religions, I would help them explore that, too... because religion does have a huge impact on society and has had a huge influence on history. It's important to understand it and be familiar with it.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...Image via Wikipedia

It's important to understand the enemy.

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