Sunday, July 11, 2010

Would you do the same?

I wrote a little while back about how I don't really have too much concern about exposing Logan (my son who's still cookin' up in my wife's womb) to religious people and religious thought. I've thought about this quite a bit, actually. As I've said before, I realize that he's probably going to think the same thing that I or my wife thinks (not that we're that far apart) up until he reaches a certain age. Still, what am I going to do if he expresses some interest in religion? I mean, I plan on teaching him some of the basic stories like that of Jesus, Noah's Ark, etcetera, although I'll teach them in the same context as I do any other story. In other words, I can answer some basic questions. After all, I know what Christians believe (for instance) and I think that I can do a pretty good job of explaining it without too much editorializing on my part.

But what if he wants to know what church is like? Will I take him to one myself? I suppose that I could do that, but if I really want to give him a good sense of what it's all about, I'll probably have to turn to my Christian friends. Without any hesitation, I would allow him to accompany them to their worship services. Keep in mind, I can't honestly say this about every version of Christianity (or about every religion, for that matter - lookin' at you, Scientology). While I don't like the idea of forbidding him to go to any religious service, I'd definitely be less encouraging with some (like the ones who talk in tongues and preach all that hellfire nonsense) versions than with others. Would there be some where I'd absolutely refuse to let him go? Well, I don't think that there are any Snake Handlers in my area, so at least that one won't be an issue, but I don't think that I'd let him go to a place where there's a decent chance of physical (or mental) damage.

I realize that some people might be thinking, "Why don't you go, too? What are you afraid of? Afraid you're going to change your mind and start believing in Jesus?" Well, if you like the thought of that being the explanation, then fine. Honestly though, I just think that it's safe to say that at 36, church just isn't my thing. It wasn't my thing when I believed in all that stuff, and it continues to not be my thing with my limited experiences nowadays (weddings and funerals). I suppose if it was important to Logan that I go with him, I guess I'd be willing to do it for him. Otherwise, I'd encourage him to go with somebody who won't be straining to not roll his eyes every five minutes.

All this got me to wondering though, would my religious friends be willing to do the same thing with their kids. Never mind going from one faith system to another, but what about if their kids start to express doubt about their religious convictions. It's a hard thing for the faithful to understand, but quite often nonbelievers don't believe for the simple fact that they just can't. They reach a point where it just doesn't make sense anymore, and they can't pretend to believe something that they don't.

Would these friends of mine say, "Hey, you know who doesn't believe? Uncle Lance. He doesn't have any faith in our god or any other god for that matter, and he seems to get along just fine. Why don't you talk to him?"

I know what happens when you assume, but I have to imagine that for the most part, the answer would be no. I have a couple friends who I could perhaps see doing this, but that seems to be a bit of a stretch in my mind. I'd love to be proven wrong, and I'm hoping that maybe some of them will be so kind as to give me their response, whether it's a yes or a no.

I'm honestly not trying to set anyone up here. Tell you what, I promise not to even reply, unless I'm asked a direct question. Even if you say some oft-debunked assertion like, "Atheists don't have morals!" or "Hitler was an atheist!" I won't bother refuting it. In other words, you won't shout, "It's a trap!" after replying.

1 comment:

Jennifer Shields Baker said...

I might not call you "Uncle Lance", but i would GLADLY encourage my girls to go talk with you (when they start questioning)