Friday, November 25, 2011

Anti-Faith

This is a re-posting of an article I wrote for Natural Parents Network and had published in August:

I kind of admire parents that want to expose their children to many different religious beliefs without pushing their own. I was raised Catholic and even attended a couple of Catholic Schools. When I took the time to read the bible, it did not speak to me. Sermons did not speak to me. For me, church felt like a fashion show / popularity contest (much like school). For a while, I wanted to be Wiccan and I still feel that it is a beautifully romantic belief system. I don't share those beliefs either, though. What I believe shouldn't really matter to you and isn't really my point.

Jorje's 8th Grade School Picture, Monte Cassino Catholic Benedictine SchoolJorje's 8th Grade School Picture
Monte Cassino
Catholic Benedictine School

When Tyler was very young, just old enough to have play dates, I found myself to be a bit of an anti-Christian. You do find a lot of Christians as well as Pagans in the homeschooling community, especially right here in the buckle of the bible belt (Oklahoma). You would have thought I was protecting my child from... troublemakers, I guess. I didn't want her hanging out with "those kinds of people!" Yes, this is judgmental and awful. I also wound up becoming very close friends with people that have strong religious beliefs.

The other trouble with my attitude was that I did still want Tyler to make her own decisions regarding faith. I just didn't want it pushed on her. And as an Agnostic (at best), leaning toward Atheist, I probably didn't (deep down) want her to have faith. My sister has two daughters and they go to church every Sunday. Another close friend of Tyler's goes to church every Sunday. This complicated sleepovers. When she had her friend over on Saturday nights, she had to leave early for church. And when Tyler stayed over there or at my sister's? Well I finally gave in. Tyler really liked going to church. I don't think she has ever asked me to take her, but she does believe in God. And that is okay. Really.

I've made a point with her, when asked, to make it clear that what SHE believes is all that really matters. That carries over into other parts of our lives, such as Santa. When arguments came up with classmates about Santa and she asked me if Santa was real, I asked her what she thought, what she believed. She believed he was real. That was all that mattered. Her classmates opinions and beliefs didn't matter, so long as she knew in her heart what she believed.

I support my daughter's rights to believe whatever speaks to her. It doesn't have to be what speaks to me (or, more appropriately, doesn't speak to me). I still support her right. I want her to be able to discuss her beliefs with me, just as I can discuss my own with friends that don't share my viewpoint. It doesn't have to be a battle to convert each other. We aren't bad influences on each other. We can coexist.

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