Let’s Talk Religion: Belief in Passing it on

This is a topic that I’ve always wanted to discuss but never felt comfortable enough to do so. Even in private conversations I’ve never wanted to join in and speak my two cents. One of the first somewhat in depth conversations pertaining to religion was with a few of my college roommates. Two of them were finishing up a course in religion and had to write a paper. One of them had asked how do I identify in terms of religion and why. I’d given my answer but there was a but. I wanted to finally speak my truth and realized myself how long I’d been holding this in. The second time I’d had a conversation with my Uncle in regards to religion and my thoughts and feelings about church. That first conversation I was about 18 or 19 the second was around age 22, and now at 25 I’m revisiting this topic. Because of the unanswered questions, because of the doubt, because of the future and possibly my children and because recently a friend got baptistized and re-dedicated herself to the Lord… And I thought it great and was confused all at once.

I’d grown up Christian. Not strict, super religious type Christian, but non-denominational Christian. Honestly growing up I had no clue what that meant or Baptist or Pentecostal. All I knew was we were to strive to live a certain way, be kind and loving to everyone, attend church services and read the Bible. I’d learned lessons and stories and believed in the Lord 3-n-1. I prayed and prayed for others. I believed in heaven and hell. Then one day I had questions. Questions about everything. Questions about what the pastor said. Questions about stories leaders in the church told during classes. Questions about things I’d read in the Bible. And when I’d finally mustered up the nerve to ask, I was told to turn to my Bible for answers. Tf? I was over it. I started to have doubts and even not believe. I continued to have hope though, because why not?

I took a break from attending church regularly in high school. I attended when it was a holiday or my mother wanted us all to go as a family. I still had questions. I felt why did I need to be in a specific space or place to hear “the word.” If I can pray anywhere I can get the word and praise anywhere. I carried this into college. I’d attended several different churches with friends. It was routine just as it had been growing up. The questions arose and I no longer cared to attend. When my roommate asked me how do I identify in terms of religion, I told her I don’t. I consider myself spiritual if a label must be placed. I believed that there was a higher power, but not being able to explain it bothered me. I was raised Christian, because my mother considers herself Christian. I feel I connect with teachings and words found in multiple religions. I question everything and disbelief a lot. It was awkward. I’d gone to church with this person. We attended college night bible study sessions regularly. I shared a room with her and did not want it to be awkward. It wasn’t. We discussed doubts and beliefs and the folks on campus recruiting and attempting to push their beliefs on others.

At 22 the topic was revisited with my Uncle who felt the exact same way that I did. He felt he doesn’t owe anyone any explanation as to why he did or did not attend church. He didn’t really ever force his children to attend services. We both felt we didn’t need to label ourselves Christian just to live a good life and make good decision, have common sense and treat others well. In our talking he posed many of the same questions I’d had.he brought up his doubts about things in the Bible. I finally felt I had someone who understood.

A year or two ago I attended bible studies and women’s church groups to hear the word, gather explanations (which I’d sometimes get from two women in particular at the women’s group). Once the topics and conversations became repetitive I stopped going. Now at the age of 25 I rarely go. I usually go if I know for sure I’m going to stay awake the entire time and I care to hear what’s being “taught” or reviewed and push for someone in church to have a discussion about it with me. But as I’ve toyed with what my future family would look like and how I’d like my children to be raised I think about my upbringing and the pros and cons I guess. How would I address my child who like me questions things and wants to understand and have facts about everything? What would be the pros and cons of raising my child in church?

Then I came across this article. I already have tons of things boggling my mind, but this somehow gave me some relief. The author of the article wants to raise her children in church with all of the songs and stories she loved growing up, but does not want to pass on her doubt to her child. Okay, I get it somewhat. Me personally I think I’d take my future children to multiple churches and hold open discussions with them. I want them to form their own opinions and decide if that is something they want to do. I want them to know they can be good people regardless of religion or spirituality. I never want them to be afraid of asking questions or not believing in what others believe. I want them to have a solid foundation, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be religion p-based. Then thinking about that caused confusion for me all over again. It’s like with Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Do I want my children believing in someone we cannot see just to give them hope or order? I don’t know.

So what do you all think? Should religion be passed on to children if the parents aren’t affiliated or hold some major doubt? Let’s start conversations.

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