Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Glimpse of Life at Home

I’m what you would call nominally agnostic.  I was raised Catholic and was very involved in the church up until college.  I quickly became very disillusioned with organized religion. 

My opinions have morphed slowly over time into thinking that if there is a god, it is impossible for human to know what it is or what it truly wants.  Its possible that some Creator is responsible for our universe.  It is also possible that it is a cosmic accident.  I’m OK with not knowing, it doesn’t really drive my behavior one way or another.

The upshot of all of this is that religion doesn’t have a very active role in my home life.  Both of my girls were baptized in the church, but we don’t attend mass outside of the odd baptism or wedding.  We celebrate Christmas and Easter, but they are family events, not religious ones.

Earlier this week my daughter, Alanna, was working on a homework assignment and I asked her what she was working on.

“I have to write a paragraph explaining whether I would rather live in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance.”

I jokingly asked if I got to be a King in the middle ages to which she rolled her eyes. “No, Dad.  You are the same class as you are now.”

I told her the decision was easy – we would likely be artisans or merchants and life was much better for them in the Renaissance than the middle ages.  She was worried though because non-Christians were killed in that era.

“I’d rather be a slave than dead.”

I pointed out that many that actually could make that choice made the opposite decision, but her statement surprised me.  While we are certainly not actively involved in church, I wouldn’t necessarily describe the family as “non-Christian.”

My wife would absolutely describe herself as Christian and I don’t really discuss religion at home.  My daughters are free to come to their own conclusions on the subject, so I don’t actively try to influence them.  I am not a militant anti-religious person, I think that there are some positive aspects to religion in the community sense.

So I guess I have been successful in not instilling strong religious feelings in my kids – hopefully it leads to being open minded about the subject.  I do wonder sometimes if I have taken the wrong tact and should have instead raised them in a more “mainstream” manner.

I guess only time will tell.

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I was raised going to church once in a while, became a bit more active in college, and now do not attend church, even during the holidays. I plan to raise my kids in the same manner as you however, perhaps let them be knowledgable about the subject, but don't force anything on them while letting them come to their own conclusions.