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.