Atheism, Spirituality, Religion & Raising Kids

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I am personally an atheist. I grew up Lutheran and had an extremely religious extended family. Through the first couple decades of my life, I did a lot of “soul searching” to figure out my place in organized religion and what I truly believed in. Throughout my twenties, I slowly transitioned from Agnostic to Spiritual and ended up an Atheist.

Now, let me make this abundantly clear. I do not like organized religion as a whole, but absolutely abhor so called “Christians”. I don’t hate Christianity, but considering 70% of the Christians I have met over my life are using the teachings of Jesus Christ to back up their hatred of immigrants, LGBTQ+, their racist ideals and hatred of anything different.. it’s fair to say I actively avoid Christians, Churches and any kind of ideology if not speak out against what I view as wrong or corrupt. I’m looking at you Catholics & Evangelicals. 

However, I believe that everyone, children included, should experience (and learn) about religion personally.. preferably more than one. This is why I have no problems driving the kids to church, or giving them highlights of different beliefs or pointing them in a direction to read un-biased information about another religion. I do not however, lie to children (unless they are super young, we’re talking about 5 and under) about what I believe in, or lack there of, or my thoughts on religion, if I am asked.

Which makes things interesting in my household. My daughter is pretty much agnostic. She has gone to a local Lutheran church, VBS, and has her own bibles. She has also discussed with me how science and religion often clash as well as having done some reading on her own about various other religions (primarily Islam & Paganism that I’ve seen). It’s not something I actively pursue talking with her about, but I’m open when she has questions for me.

My step-daughter however, comes from a very religious area. She listens to nothing but “Christian Music” and her real social outings are primarily to church. She prefers to listen to Christian Pop simply because she’s never been exposed to other music regularly at her Mom’s house. Naturally she has questions about different kinds of music we listen to here, as well as different kinds of books that I have on my bookshelves. I’m waiting for her to ask Noodle, why she doesn’t want to go to church as well. I’m essentially bracing for a load of questions from her, especially since she’s been hanging with my daughter listening to her kind of music, and Noodle has voiced her dislike of “religious music” as a whole. I visibly winced when I heard “American Jesus” by Bad Religion come across my daughter’s speakers.

As much as I’m not entirely looking forward to answering some of the questions that will inevitably come my way by the end of summer, I am happy to see a child be exposed to more religions, cultures, music, literature and ways of thinking. Everyone should be allowed to make their own choices when it comes to their faith, spirituality or lack there of. Most importantly, it’s always sad to see when children aren’t exposed to all this world has to offer because of their religious upbringing. So I’m happy I get to be a part of that.

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Easter for the Non-Religious

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It’s already Easter, March just flew by!  It seems I was just bitching about it only being February and BAM! Tomorrow’s the first day of April.  Easter weekend isn’t anything too special for my family, I haven’t been particularly religious since I was a kid.  Basically after the trauma of losing my Mother when I was in 5th grade, Christianity just morphed into “being a good person”.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, I just don’t believe in organized religion or practicing my faith with in a church.  What it comes down to for my family and I is regardless of what you believe, try and be a good person.  I guess I’ll find out if that’s the wrong answer at the end of my life.  *Shrugs*

Easter as a kid was a big production for our family.  We’d all go (were dragged) to church in the morning after raiding our Easter baskets.  After church we’d head to my grandparents house for an Easter Egg hunt and dinner.  It was usually my grandparents, my parents, my sister and I, my Aunt and her daughter.  Definitely some fond memories there.

Like I already said, my family isn’t too religious.  I intend on teaching Nood about Christianity (and other religions once she gets a little older) so she can make the decision for herself.  So our house is pretty tame on Easter.  Of course we do Easter baskets and egg hunts, and most years we go to my parent’s house where they do an egg hunt for Nood.  This year we’re postponing it until next weekend.

One of the wonderful things about this Easter is that I had Good Friday off.  So hurrah for three day weekends!  Nood had a costume party at school on Friday, so I gave her the option of staying home with me or school, and she chose home.  So we hung out all day and relaxed.  Saturdays are always filled with errands here, so it was mostly shopping and cleaning, which we got a lot done.  Today though, today was extra nice.

Ry had to go help his sister move, so we did the Easter Baskets/Egg hunt first thing and then I dropped him off at the train.  Noodle and I came back and hung out for a couple of hours this morning and then cooked lunch together.  She helped make grilled cheese (with swiss on everything bread!!) and tomato soup.  Lunch together today was different.  There was no whining about food or any of that, she actually talked.  Like told me her “great ideas” and what she wanted to do this summer.  She’s a very vocal child as it is, meals are usually just punctuated with complaints since she’s the pickiest eater alive.  So it was definitely nice.

After lunch it was finally in the 50’s outside and the sun was shining.  We headed out in the backyard for a few hours, I got some writing in and Nood ran around like crazy alternating between the trampoline and swing set.  I think the sun did both of us some good.  Afterwards she helped me shell all of our coloured eggs and make Deviled Eggs.  I even got her to try one.  She tried so hard to eat it without making faces or complaining.  I had to laugh and let up on her.  Ha.

It was just really nice.  I’ve picked up Ry already, and Nood got some bike riding time in on her new bike with the neighbor boy so everyone’s pretty content.  I’ve sent Ry out to grill the skirt steaks I stuck in a marinade earlier, and for now it’s eerily quiet as the kid relaxes.

I was a little bummed about moving Easter Dinner at my parent’s to next weekend at first, but I ended up having a blast with my kid.  I wouldn’t trade today for anything.  Besides, next weekend is a double whammy.  My birthday (I’m growing down now) and Easter.  Fuck yes, I’m going to eat everything and drink too much wine.  :)

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend too regardless of whether you celebrate or not.  Happy Spring!