I wasn't sure if I should post this or not. Most people who know me know that I am not a Christian, but most people I know are Christians. I decided to go ahead and post this because regardless of mention of religion I read many other blogs and keep it respectful so I am crossing my fingers that I will receive the same in return. I may lose followers and people might get mad, but it is what it is.
I was raised Catholic in my early years. I enjoyed my time at church and the extracurriculars involved. I still remember my CDC teacher and how I thought he was a great guy. I went to vacation bible school. I received Holy Communion.
You probably think I am about to tell you some horror story that drove me away, but I have none. I have a lot of respect for the Catholic faith in that it seems to stick to the book, which I like. That gets to one reason why I started losing faith, I'm not sure I understand the point in fervently following a book that you don't really follow in action. Basically, as I grew older, I began to look around and things just didn't sit well with me. It was just a simple matter of me not believing what I was hearing. It didn't make sense and frankly, not only did some things not make sense, they seemed flat out wrong.
Now I am a mother in a world where people have no boundaries whatsoever. I also live in the Midwest at the tail end of the Bible Belt and while all non-Christians are a minority, non-Christians in this area are quite rare. I know with 100% certainty that people will begin their plight to convert my children, judge them and their parents, or put a general sense of unnecessary fear into them as soon as they can. Because of this, Hubby and I have thought long and hard about what we need to instill in our children as they venture out on their own into the world.
1. Respect. We do not believe in the Christian faith, but that never gives us a right to be disrespectful from the get go toward people presenting these beliefs to us. I do think it's okay to get what you give, so if people are disrespecting us if we cannot tolerate it to a certain degree, do what you will. You may notice that I don't say "raising non-Jews" or "raising non-Muslims" or "raising non-Buddhists." I have never in my life had anyone from any non-Christian religion attempt to convert me or repeatedly say negative or derogatory things about other people like Christians do so it isn't as big of an issue.
There is a park behind my house and a woman who routinely tries to convert me to Christianity while we play there. I always listen to her because I have identified her as one of two types of people who do this. There are people who do this simply because they feel the love of the Lord and they want you to feel it and they want to see you in Heaven. We don't believe this and we don't agree with it, but I do feel that it comes from a good, innocent place so being respectful is very important. I never say anything rude or challenging to her because she isn't being rude or challenging to me so although we don't believe what she is saying, I take no offense to her behavior.
A big reason for why I am not Christian is I feel there are many people who try to convert you to their religion not out of kindness or goodness, but because they are bullies. Maybe not even bullies all the time, but insecure people who need to belong to a majority group so that they feel validated in their personal life choices at best, and religion giving them a place to control others or feel superior at worst. This is completely unacceptable to us and this type of behavior is not acceptable in my household. We will teach our children that this behavior is wrong and people like this are not good and it's okay to stay away from them.
But we want to do our best to foster respect for others and their differences when they are doing non-harmful behaviors towards us. There will be no making fun of or even really worrying about people praying in public. We will not be offended by non-offensive or non-discriminatory Christian paraphernalia like t-shirts, road signs or sayings that people tell us. These things are okay, it is okay for people to express their faith in non-harmful ways and we should meet these things with respect for others' beliefs.
2. Understanding. I already mentioned that we will teach our children to understand that there are different types of reasons people will try to convert them to their religion. Something else that I believe is that everyone has varying needs of spirituality. Science has even documented things like this. For people who need a structured form of spirituality, this can be a huge benefit to that type of person and that's okay! I am not an outright Atheist, but Hubby is. I won't try to relay the type of spirituality that I feel or that is good for me because it's hard to explain, especially in a heavily indoctrinated society that we live in, but it is what works for me. We want to teach our kids to explore their spirituality because we do understand that their spiritual needs could be different than ours. But . . . they currently live in our house so we will raise them to believe (or not believe) what we believe and don't believe. There are some Christian teachings that we think are immoral and wrong and we will teach them that because that's our right as parents. We want them to have an understanding that people are different and need different things. While it's not okay to participate in immoral behaviors (by our moral standards), it is okay to accept people for their differences and let it go. Most people are going to be different than us, that doesn't make us wrong, that's just how it is and we need to understand that we can agree to disagree and continue to do what we feel is right.
3. Education. I have seen the trailer for this movie posted several times on Facebook and I will honestly say that I find the premise of this movie disturbing.
I have a degree in the liberal arts and took a ton of classes in liberal teachings, including religious classes for electives. All my religious classes were taught by an Atheist. He did not display any of this anger or rage that I have seen in this type of up and coming view of educators in liberal colleges. Not even kind of. I am sure this happens somewhere at sometime, but I think that by and large this is a made up construct of the religious right to explain why educated people are less likely to be Christian. This angry lead character trying to take away everyone's faith is not something I have personally experienced and to be frank, I think it may very well be a crock of poo and I don't believe it. I do think there is a reason that educated people are less likely to be involved in doctrine based Christian religion, but I won't go there because it may be offensive to some. I can certainly say it is not due to angry professor's forcing people to write "God is Dead" on their papers or they get an F in the class. Honestly, this is another example of the type of thing that drives me away from religion as far and fast as I can get away from it. Part of this disrespect of people who aren't Christian and blatant, yet widely accepted, lying about their characters is a reason we find some forms of Christianity immoral. The other part of that immorality is when Christians attempt to restrict the rights of others based on their own views which are not known truths to all. We are not okay with that.
Education is a big deal in our house and will be. We will teach our kids that going to college is very important and it will be an expectation. Learning of any type is important to us. I plan on possibly taking my kiddo's to a Unitarian Universalist church when they are older because I feel they will get a great education on various religions from an unbiased and open minded source. I will encourage them to listen to their friends when the time is right. Learning is good. That doesn't mean that everything we hear is correct, but it is good to learn and be educated on what is going on around us and that includes the religious practices of others.
We are raising our children to not be Christian. We are teaching them values that we have. I know this may come as a shock, but non-Christians also have values and morals. We don't sacrifice babies or worship the Devil and we also don't hate or have intentions on destroying the Christian faith and Christian people. We are teaching them right from wrong. We are also teaching them to respect others. Just because someone is Christian doesn't mean they are stupid (we will assign stupidity on an individual basis, ha) and even though people are likely to tell my children they are wrong, going to Hell, are heathens, have no morals, we will be sure that they know otherwise.