Religiously on the Fence: The barriers uncertainty create in parenting.

Parents are supposed to have the answers. Our knowledge and experience are to make us the beacon of answers for our children and a majority of the time this is true; until it comes to the topics of Common Core Math and Religion. More on the absurd teaching of Common Core Math at another time. For us religious “Fence Sitters”, nothing makes us squirm more than how and if to teach religion to our children.

Early on, I decided that I would find a mildly liberal church that is community focused to raise my kids in. It isn’t that I was as concerned with the teaching of doctrine as I was with the moral and value foundation found in children ministries. My early memories of church are ones that are very happy; I learned a lot about being accountable for my actions and for making conscious choices with being able to weigh the outcomes beforehand. I wanted this foundation for my children.  Awana and Youth Groups were among the most positive experiences of my youth.

Unfortunately, the philosophies and contradictions of church members and the vastly different interpretations of the bible left me with more questions than answers. My life experiences shaped me in a way that prevented me from “buying” all of the pieces of religion. How does this form of ideology mesh well when you want to raise your children in the House of the Lord. Here are a few questions posed by my children and my epic way that I probably confused them more.

Mom, why don’t we worship at _____________ church but I attend the groups?  

Me: The children’s programs are very solid and I like them but there are things the church believes in that I can’t support by going myself. Since they don’t teach those things in the children ministries, I find it okay for you to go. Plus, the people are nice and I want you to see, just because you don’t agree with every belief someone has, doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with them.

My Leader said that Dinosaurs existed with Man?

Me: Please, don’t tell me you corrected her!! Sometimes, you will find people believe different things. Go with Carl Sagan, just go with Carl Sagan on this one.

Church said that if you commit suicide you will go to Hell?

Me: Perhaps but it seems if you were willing to commit suicide, then you were probably already living in Hell.

Mom, why don’t you believe in Hell?

Me: Judging people as bad and good seems too simple, plus Earth can be Hell for some. So I think we just get reincarnated until we get it right. Then maybe your soul is just set free. Personally, i want to be a ghost, that would be ultimate goal.

I also teach them about other religions because I do not want them to develop religious snobbery. It is too hard for me to answer with confidence if one religious group has it right or not. I am now at an age with the Girls. that they sense my uncomfortableness with religion but they struggle to understand why. More than ever, I am faced with incessant questions about religion, church, and why I shirk away.

* In front of Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara CA.

Taking it one day at a time,

Mom under Siege.


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