Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Religious Odyssey

Our family is beginning what is sure to be an odyssey into the world’s religions. Not just for our class, but to further expose our children to religion. Nothing is to be left out either. We’ve already been to the library and brought home quite a stack of books. Wanna know what the titles are? Sure ya do!

  • Buddhism:  Origins, Beliefs, Practices, Holy Texts, Sacred Places by Malcolm David Eckel
  • A Century of Christian Science Healing
  • Encountering the World of Islam edited by Keith E. Swartley
  • Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard
  • The Everything Jewish History and Heritage Book by Richard D. Bank and Julie Gutin
  • Essential Judaism:  A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals by George Robinson
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman
  • How to Practice:  The Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The following books, due to our family background, we already had on hand:

These are all published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

  • Learn from a Great Teacher
  • What Does the Bible Really Teach?
  • My Book of Bible Stories
  • New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

I also have my King James version of the Bible.

I’ve never delved into this subject before on my blog. Dana was looking forward to the day that I did, so here ya go! I’ll leave the comments open but I ask that any comments that are left are benign and aren’t “preachy”. Please read “My Last Post” if you are unclear as to the laws that govern my blog. Lastly, I consider this to be a drama-ridden subject so I apologize for bringing the drama.

Background info:

The Mister was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and I was raised as a Christian Baptist. By the time we had met, neither of us was practicing our respective religions much to the dismay of our parents. Speaking only for myself here, I had moved beyond religion believing in what, in my opinion, can be proven: Evolution. In the most briefest of definitions, religion to me is an explanation for the unexplainable; a comfort to people who need answers (even if they are obscure) to everything. I don’t need that. I’m content to believe that once I die, my consciousness ends too and that’s it.Guessing at what the “afterlife” is has never appealed to me. Frankly, I’m confused by people that can believe in something on faith alone. Furthermore, since I am an open-minded individual and admit that I don’t know everything, I’m not opposed to the possibility that a higher being of some sort exists.

Fast forward a few years to when the oldest child first started asking questions about God….

We briefly discussed with her how we felt about religion and then left it alone hoping that with time, we’d be able to figure out how to broach the subject in the most neutral and unbiased way possible. The Mister and I have very strong views on this subject. While I believe it is the right of parents to express their beliefs to their children, I also think that everyone has a right to choose for themselves what they think is right or wrong. We needed to find a balance between our beliefs and our disbeliefs I guess you could say.

Fast forward some more to last month..

While staying with family in Ohio, religion was formally introduced to my children unbeknownst to me and against my express and specific wishes. Having our family tell my children that their father’s job is wrong is so unbelievably wrong in itself that I could just pull my hair out. Anyway, I don’t want my children barred from religion forever, but I want to be there every step of the way so that I know what they are being taught and what they are exposed to. Have you ever read the book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? The main character of this book is an adolescent girl who, confused about religion and growing up in general, begins to explore this subject by attending different church services and trying to decide which is best for her. I read this book when I was 9 or 10 and it left such an impression on me that I use it even now, 20 years later, as a sort of guideline. This is how I pictured it for my children. Due to some people jumping the gun, I’m not getting exactly what I wanted but I can work with what I’ve got and we’ll go from there.

I’m actually pretty excited to get started. I find religious traditions and rituals to be a fascinating subject which is why I enrolled for the religious class this fall. We also plan on attending religious services at various churches, synagogues, etc., which makes me extremely nervous. I haven’t been to church except for weddings and funerals since I was 17. These are the sacrifices that parents make for their children.

So, there you are. The floor is open but remember to mind your manners. I’m actually curious to see who is brave enough to tackle this subject with me. That’s not a challenge, just me wondering. ;)

2 comments:

  1. I see what happens when I don't check your blog for a few days, lol. I just have to say that I totally agree with you regarding religion. I also chose to believe what is "proven" if that makes sense. We have treaded lightly with our kids as well because of being from different religious backgrounds, but neither of us is practicing either. I personally would love to find a church type place where they don't tell you what to believe; they let you choose for yourself. If you find that I would love to hear about it. Closest I have found is Unitarian but never actually attended one. Ok, I could go on forever.

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  2. I'll be keeping everyone apprised of our journey. It's kinda taken a backseat with moving, but we still bring it out to beat on a few times a week.

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