Would you force church on your kids?

Katherine - posted on 03/23/2011 ( 309 moms have responded )

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Cafemom



I am a born and bred church girl. So as a kid coming up in an actively Christian family, I knew my Sundays — at least from 10 a.m. to around 2 p.m. — were on reserve for the Lord.



My Nana was a super sweet, easygoing woman, but she was also serious about her Jesus, which meant I was free to hang out with my friends on Friday, free to schlep in front of the TV watching cartoons on Saturday, but come Sunday morning honey, I’d better brush my teeth, throw on an appropriate dress, and be ready to park my rear end in a pew of Mt. Sinai UAME Church, no questions asked.



Then when I turned 12, I went through this phase where I wanted to be everywhere, anywhere, but sittin’ up in church. There was no real reason behind the falling out. I was just ... bored. But I adored my grandmother too much to give her the kind of grief that I really wanted to about not going. Instead, I’d wage these silent protests that I hoped would get me and my pokey antics left behind. I’d drag my feet getting ready in the morning like I was prepping to go to a calculus marathon. I came down with more mystery sore throats and more dramatic symptoms of sickness than a hypochondriac actress. When that didn’t work, I’d come out rocking skirts that were clearly too short for me to wear out of the house, let alone to God’s House.



My grandmother, bless her heart, never once checked me on being the insolent little knucklehead that I was. But she did get the memo and just like that, she didn’t pressure me to go. I remember feeling guilty at first, especially when my family was herding out of the house in their Sunday best and I was sprawled out on the sofa in sweats and a stained-up t-shirt, or when my cousins would half-snort, half-whine indignant questions like, “How come Janelle gets to stay home?” Ah yes, at first liberation was my greatest joy. And once you stop going to church, it gets easier and easier, and even easier than that, to make more excuses and find more reasons not to go. But after a while, I actually started to miss it, so I warned Nana not to get all mushy and excited when I decided to accompany her again. It was a dry run, I said.



The happy ending to the story is that my era of turning up my nose at the church didn’t last long. By high school, I was back in the rotation of being in every Christmas play, every Easter production, and every single Sunday School activity, including a scholarship pageant that paid for my books my freshman year of college.



Even as I finish writing this, I’m checking the clock because I have to be at church — singing in the choir to top it all off — in less than two hours. Nana would be so proud. Probably relieved, too.



I’m toting Tween Wondergirl (my daughter), who’ll sit in the back pew with her little homegirls and hopefully absorb some of the The Word floating through the air. Thankfully, she hasn’t given me any of her own flack about going to church. In fact, she likes to go. Part of the reason is because the church we go to (shameless plug for Hunter Memorial AME in Suitland, Maryland!) isn’t stodgy or stiff. My pastors are cool and laid back — never preachy, even though they are preachers — and there are plenty of kids her age to hang out with. I even let her wear jeans just about every Sunday.



The important thing to me is that she builds a genuine relationship with God, not that she gets “churched,” which means mastering all of the habits and traditions — including being able to recite scripture back and forth — but never really connecting with the Lord. That would be missing the whole, get-up-every-Sunday-morning point. Last week, I overheard her listening to a gospel song in the midst of her hip-hop and R&B lineup. I think my heart skipped a beat.



If my daughter were to come to me and say she wanted to take a break from church, I’d be concerned just like my Nana probably was. And I’d pray for her to change her mind, just like my Nana probably did. I wouldn’t force her to go but I sure as heck would be God’s head cheerleader at home so that she couldn’t forget who was in charge, church or no church.



If your child decided they didn’t want to be a part of the temple/masjid/mosque/church scene anymore, would you make them go anyway?



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My parents forced it on me and now I hate going. I love bible study and going to church functions, but I will not go to service.

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Mary - posted on 03/27/2011

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I can't help but be struck by the irony that so many of you who are self-professed atheists/agnostics don't see just how prejudiced and bigoted against "believers" you are. Perhaps you don't view yourself this way, but trust me, your words in this thread are clearly communicating to the rest of us that you are. I guess I find it a little funny, because on many other topics, you seem to be much more accepting and tolerant of those with different lifestyles, views, or cultures, but when it comes to religion....total blind spot.

I don't know that you can see this, but when I read some of these anti-religion posts, they strike me as being just as judgmental, critical, and intolerant as a conservative Tea Partier going off about the evils of gay marriage. It's still discriminatory and prejudicial thinking, whether you realize it or not.

I won't deny that there are many examples of abuse and mistreatment carried out either in the name of religion, or by religious officials. Those crimes are indefensible. However, I am not so ignorant as to assume that they are representative of all believers (be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever). To do so would make me no different than the redneck in southern buttfuck who watched the news, saw that a few crimes were committed by black men, and decided that all blacks were criminals.

Stereotyping and generalizations such as this are never right, whether they are applied to race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.

Jenn - posted on 03/25/2011

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Krista - prove to me that love exists. I can't see it, or smell it, or feel it with my hands, or taste it, or hear it. But I know it exists.

And if you ladies are going to throw around a word like brainwashing, and go so far as to post the dictionary definition, let's not pick and choose and only look at the first half of the definition because it fits your desire to belittle those who believe.

"Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs."

In some cases, it may be so that there is intensive talk of God and their own religion, and the child/ren may be "forced" to go to church, however, let's look at the rest of the definition. Is the parent's aim to destroy their child's current "basic convictions and attitudes"? I think not.

And if you still insist on using the word brainwash, let's take a look at your own life and things that you teach your children. How about you Julianne? Don't you "brainwash" your child into being vegan and living a vegan lifestyle?

Krista - posted on 03/25/2011

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"Actually there IS scientific evidence for love http://www.youramazingbrain.org.uk/loves... Love is not just for poetry and greeting cards and is vital to our species."



1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.



1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.



Thanks for proving God exists Jenn ;)




I actually find that really offensive. You THINK that your god is the same thing as love, so you use the fact that love exists as some kind of "gotcha"? No. Love exists all over the world, and I do not appreciate you co-opting it in the name of your invisible friend.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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Johnny...oh man do I have ALOT to comment about this...damn...gotta clean house though. I will say this....it is very clear where you stand on bringing kids to church. It is not taking away a childs rights by exposing them to your religious beliefs. I think you are pushing the envelope quite a bit. Taking away their rights would be telling them when they are allowed to used the bathroom, or locking them in their room and only allowing them out for certain purposes. These things can also be viewed as child abuse. So, what I gather from what you are stating, is that bringing kids...ooops...I mean FORCING kids to go to church is child abuse. That is blasphemy. It is educational, can be spiritual, and also is family time spent together. It is 1 hour long, 1 time per week (for most) and if you have your child attend CCD, it might be an additional 1 hour per week. Most kids watch more TV than that in a day. I think TV is more damaging then church.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/26/2011

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I really don't feel that going to church is forcing anything on your children. In fact, I think quite the opposite..despite my own views. I think opening their life up to religion gives them a better chance of deciding what they choose to believe later down the road. It will teach them about what your chosen religion believes, and can open up their eyes to all the religions. If they chose to not believe, atleast they were given the chance to know what it all means.

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Irene - posted on 07/14/2012

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I was brought up in a very open and accepting family, and as the youngest child, I was brought to church while my way older brother and sister didn't have to. When I was 16, I stopped going because I just didn't (and still don't) have faith. My parents were cool about it and they didn't keep forcing me to go. They know I have an open mind and while I confess to not being a Catholic anymore, I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm an Atheist: I simply choose not to believe in ANYTHING.

I think everyone should have a choice as to whether or not they should go to church/ read the bible. If they really don't, don't force them into it or scold them for it. If, after a while, they decide that they like it and want to continue, let them.

It's not a hard decision :)

Heather - posted on 06/20/2011

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wow, before reading your post, I would have answered, of course! Whatever I say goes. After reading, I wouldn't say my opinion has changed totally, but you have definately given me something to think about!

Kimberly - posted on 06/20/2011

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i will never force my child to go to church i am not against it. but i see my friend do it to her kids punish them when they dont go. and i dont believe in doing that.

Desiree - posted on 06/20/2011

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I am a Catholic and grew up in a home where all religions were learnt. When i turned 21 I was confirmed into the faith. Both my children are being bought up in the faith but are not forced to attend mass every week. They do how ever have to attend Catechism until they are confirmed and supposed to attend mass once a month and important feast days. Christmas and Easter. My daughter attend willingly and my son put up a fight so I just don't fight with him over it. They are constantly exposed to other belief systems but I believe in the grounding that my faith brings. I have only recently been more than just a lay and have become very involved in the church because of a promise to my daughter so in actual fact it was my children who bought me closer to my faith and let me see something more than just praying because..... but it is for each person to choose for themselves.

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I was required to go to church till I was 18 even though my mother was fairly liberal about a lot of things. Even when I went through a very early pagan stage at 12 then went back to christianity because that's all I knew.

Now I'm an atheist. See, it doesn't always have the desired effect.

Vicki - posted on 06/19/2011

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Well I guess if I truly believed there was a God, and he was speaking to me through the institution of a church than I would think it important to make my child a part of that. However I don't believe there is a god so no chance of religious indoctrination here. :)

I do think community building is important though, we are part of several groups, sporting and voluntary and I think they fill some of the social roles that church does for others.

Teresa - posted on 06/19/2011

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Our kids go to Catholic school even though we aren't Catholic so yeah I guess we do force church on them but for different reasons than most. I feel learning about Christianity is a good part of any education regardless of how I feel about it.

Sherri - posted on 06/18/2011

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We attend to church as a family and that will not change till they are not living here anymore. It is what is important to our family. Plus they love to go get donuts after church on Sundays and all the kids activities at other times.

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He spends alot of time with my parents and my dad is set in his beliefs so h ewill talk about the bible and jesus and all that with him. I my self like to watch documenteries on the origions of jesus and the bible I find it very interesting so hes not completley cut off from it and i wouldnt do that, I want him to form his own opinion on it in his own time so no matter my beliefs I allow him to listen to what my parents say about it he watches the documentaries with me and so on.

Katherine - posted on 06/18/2011

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How did your son come to those beliefs? I mean if you're agnostic....

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I was raised going to church every sunday, was raised the the lords way was the right way.... then I got older and started thinking for myself, Im not a christain im an agnostic and more an evolutionist but my son who is 9 years old belives in god and prays sometimes. He asked me once if I would "mad at him" for it, absolutly not! My biggest thing upon having kids was that I nor anybody else would push anything on them. he is more than welcome to have his own beliefs but I do encourage him to question damn near everything. My beliefs do not HAVE to be his and i would never push either way when it comes to any of my kids.

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I was raised that we all go to church together as a family. I would never say that i didnt want to go not because i was scared or thought i would get in trouble but more so because i knew it was something that we did together as a family. Now that i am married its different because my husband is not a church goer he believes but he is sort of on a pause i guess you could say when it comes to all that, he is still trying to find himself spiritually. So being as i am the only one in the household that is a church goer and really wants my daughter to be brought up that way ( not in a strict way or anything but just to know about it and be involved in it) it is difficult because i know when she is a little older she will question why does she have to go and daddy doesnt? And even tho i am prepared for that conversation i really dont know what i will when my child is older like 16/17. Because sometimes kids dont want to do things just cuz they are lazy or just dont want to do it so i feel we have to be the ones to encourage them and kinda shove them in the right direction. If we let our kids not do all the things they didnt want to do they wouldnt be doing anything!! haha so thats where i am on the subject i guess only time will tell.

Jenn - posted on 03/27/2011

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I wonder what percent of those 77% in Canada actually attend church. I can see how THAT could be on the verge of becoming extinct.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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ok now my eye and brain hurts, i'm blaming it on you girls but this has been fun. :o)

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bringing children to church and informing them its not fact and they have a right to choose different spiritual ways is one thing.
FORCING them to go and telling them its the only way and they will go to hell if they don't believe is wrong.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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There may be declines that is not an indication that something is becoming extinct. In all populations (I guess that this could be defined as a study into religious population) there are always troughs and peaks on the graph.



These majority group Christians should have the right to bring their children to church and give them a Christian upbringing but those children should also know that Christianity is not the only way and they have the freedom to choose.



I've heard that too Emma

Stifler's - posted on 03/27/2011

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I've heard Islam is the second most popular religion in the world... and it's growing in popularity and may take over Christianity as number 1 practiced religion.

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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'Becoming' is the operative word. Religiosity is on a sharp decline in Canada and the other nations listed. I actually do not believe that it will become extinct, I doubt the science in the study is being used appropriately in this case. But the census data and surveys on religion are showing a sharp decline in both faith and church attendance in these countries. If the decline was actually to continue at the current rates (which is unlikely, I agree) then religion would become extinct in Canada.

Krista - posted on 03/27/2011

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Christine, the number of self-professed Christians in Canada HAS dropped by almost 10% just since 2001.

So you might not want to dismiss that study QUITE so blithely...

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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Mary, it is nice to hear that your experience was so positive. I have a couple of friends who were raised in the church and who continue to attend who had similar very positive experiences. One of my girlfriends went through a terrible experience in her mid-20's and her church supported her and helped her a great deal. Although, much of it would not have been all that supported by the hierarchy in the Vatican. I can see how that can feel rather removed from one's daily experiences.

For me, it's hard to separate that. I've known and worked with so many residential school victims, people who have never received apologies from the church, and who continue to struggle with daily life as a result of their abuse and neglect. It was not just the Catholic church who did this, the Anglican & United churches did as well, but they have at least offered apologies and attempted reparations (not that it really makes up for it...) Now seeing the modern day scandals and the cover-ups, it's difficult to understand how people can remain connected to that. The Catholics that I personally know are wonderful, caring, deeply moral people, so it just seems like this enormous divide. I often think that the church has more to learn from its parishioners than they do from it.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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My point is that religion is not becoming "extinct" like Krista said it was, using Canada as an example of this and that Canada is a Christian country so the "religious extinction" study is untrue.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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That's why Canada is a Christian country (majority of it's citizens being Christian) not a Christian State (Government and laws are based on and ruled by Christianity).



I never said it was a Christian state i said it was a Christian country.

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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The Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms guarantees equality for all. Non-believers are not being treated as equals when we are forced to sing songs about god or to take part in any theologically based activity (regardless of religion) as part of our participation in the country. That is why we are now allowed to "affirm" instead of swearing on the bible for jury duty and taking public office or becoming a part of the civil service. It will only be a matter of time before other discriminatory laws are altered. There may be a majority of Canadians whose personal faith is Christian. But there is also a majority of Canadians who believe that the church and the state are separate entities.

Mary - posted on 03/27/2011

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Carol, I don't know the answer to that question....and it's one I've wondered about myself. My guess is that I would probably still believe in God, but had I not been raised Catholic...truth is, it's easier to be born and raised a Catholic than to convert. I also think a large part of my remaining Catholic has more to do with it being such an ingrained part of my background and identity. I went through 12 years of Catholic school - and all 12 years are happy memories for me. Unlike so many stereotypes, I had a truly wonderful experience, and was taught and mentored by some truly amazing, kind, and caring nuns. The pastor of my parish during my grade school years was an exceptionally outgoing and enthusiastic man who simply loved kids, and made even mass "fun". He was a huge force in developing the sports programs in the greater Baltimore area for children of all (or no) faiths.

It's hard to separate it out. I certainly don't agree with the Vatican on most of their social policies, but they honestly seem so far removed from the Catholic Church that I know in my area. As I've said before in other threads, my parish (and many others in the Baltimore area) are much more liberal and accepting, so while the official church policy may be one thing, it is certainly not what I have encountered in my reality.

Like most, I've gone through periods of questioning the existence of God, and rebelled against the entire concept of organized religion. However, I always seem to go back. Perhaps it is just my comfort in the familiarity of it, which is wrapped up in warm memories of happy times. It certainly helps that the large percentage of my friends, and all of my family are Catholic (hell, even my employer was a Catholic institution!). I also know that in the worst moments of my life, that community has certainly supported both me and my family, and never judged me for my absences or half-assed participation.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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Like I said before.

"All countries have a majority religion or a religion their government and laws and built upon. Christianity is Canada's."



There is a difference between being a Christian country and a Christian state.

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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What Krista said!

We are not a theology like Iran or Saudi Arabia. We do not have a state religion. It does not matter what religion Canadians are in general, that is unconnected to the governing of the nation.

Krista - posted on 03/27/2011

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Yes, the majority of Canadians are Christians. However, that does not make Canada a "Christian nation". The latter implies an official state-sponsored religion, with Christianity permeating every aspect of public life. Whereas Canada, as a society, is really very secular and for the most part, very conscientious in keeping church and state separate.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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"One of the unique features of Canada is that it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country. Christianity is the predominant faith that the majority of the Canadian population follows. According to the 2001 census figures, approximately 77.1 per cent of Canadians are Christians, out of which about 43.6 per cent are Catholics. The United Church of Canada is the largest denomination of Protestants in Canada."



"While 16.5 per cent of Canadians said they are not affiliated to any religious faith, the remaining 6.4 follow faiths other Christianity. The largest faith in the country other than Christianity is Islam. The United Church of Canada (established in 1925) is the second-largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church. It is called in French as the L'Eglise Unie du Canada. It was formed after the merger of four Protestant denominations in Canada, namely the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Methodist Church of Canada, the Congregational Union of Ontario and Quebec and the Association of Local Union Churches.

Religion in Canada encompasses a wide range of groups.[2] The preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms references "God", and the monarch carries the title of "Defender of the Faith". However Canada has no official religion and support for religious pluralism (Freedom of religion in Canada) is an important part of Canada's political culture.[3][4] The 2001 Canadian census reported that 77% of Canadians claim adherence to Christianity, followed by no religion at 16%.

With Christianity having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life, it has been recently suggested that Canada has come to enter a post-Christian or secular state, where practice of the religion has "moved to the margins of public life",[5][6] and irreligion is on the rise."



"While there is no state or dominant religion, an estimated 74.6 percent of the population belongs to Christian denominations or claims Christianity as its religion. Roman Catholics (43 percent of the population) constitute the largest single religious denomination, followed by Protestant denominations (29 percent). United Church, Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal are the largest Protestant denominations. About 1.1 percent of the population is Jewish. According to a 2001 government census, the Muslim population increased to 2 percent, double the number recorded 10 years ago. Other religious groups include Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs, each with about 1 percent of the population. Several other religions, such as Scientology, Baha'i, Shinto, Taoism, and aboriginal spirituality, each account for less than 1 percent of the population. Sixteen percent claimed no religious affiliation."





Ok so the majority of Canadians aren't Christians?

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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I also would like to comment that I just finished reading the other thread on masturbation. I noticed several comments in that thread about feelings to do with body and sexuality that were taught to people as a part of their faith that has caused them great troubles as they have become adults. This is the sort of results of "indoctrination" that concern me. Obviously it is possible for parents to mess up their kids about stuff like that without religion, but I notice that religious upbringing was the common theme in that thread.

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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Oh, and just a note to the silliness, Canada is not and never has been a "Christian" country. God should definitely be removed from our national anthem. There has never been a state religion in Canada.

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2011

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I am just going to reply to Mary N., since she was replying to me and a lot of this other stuff is just silly arguing.

Mary, I think that you may be reading generalizations into my comments on behaviors of religious people that were not intended to be there. I apologize if I was not more specific, I wrote the latest post after being awoken rather early this morning by someone climbing on my head and then not drinking any coffee. I should have done that first.

I understand very clearly that there are many religious people of all stripes that do not only expose their kids to just their own faith and are quite open about different beliefs. I mentioned a few of those instances in my earlier posts. I know there are parents who are open to stating their own beliefs as theirs, explaining why they believe those things, how those beliefs help them, and what other options are out there in the big wide world. I've got absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. In fact, I think it's important for kids to know how their parents feel about the world. It is part of who you are and influences how you are raised. It would be weird if I kept my feelings about faith a complete secret from my child.

What I am so exercised about is those who are unwilling to acknowledge that their faith is about them. That it is personal and their children are not obligated to believe the same thing. To be honest, the majority of people I have met are instructed by their religious institution to teach their children their faith as the one truth. Like I have said in several of my posts, there is a huge gulf between telling your child what you believe and telling them what they believe.

If I may ask you a question, more for my own curiosity than to spark debate... if you had not been raised as a Catholic, do you believe deep down that you would have chosen to follow that faith on your own? I do wonder that about myself. While I was not raised with any religion, and was allowed and encouraged to explore and develop my own beliefs, I wonder if the development my agnosticism would have occurred if I had not been raised by a person who was an atheist and a person who believed in God (but was not religious). I know plenty of people raised in religion who became atheists, and a few raised without religion who later became religious. I know people convert faiths and all. But statistically, it is not as common for people to change from what they were raised with as I had thought it was. So I am interested to hear what someone who has stayed with the religion of their childhood thinks about this.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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still not believable. Those numbers have no bearing as many people these days who believe in God and Christ do not identify with an organised religion and will just mark themselves down as Christian which in senses is marked as background not religion.

Krista - posted on 03/27/2011

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And Marina, they way that you do it, I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with that. I think that's a great way to teach kids about religion.

ME - posted on 03/27/2011

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I am Catholic, and would definitely encourage my children to read Dawkins, just for the record...:)

Krista - posted on 03/27/2011

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Christine, don't be obtuse. They're reporting on a study, not making stuff up out of whole cloth. The Daily Mail was just the first link I found.

Tell you what, here's the link for the Google News search showing all 97 news sources reporting on this study.

http://news.google.ca/news/more?hl=en&q=...

You pick the one you like.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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The reason that I told you all that is becouse I am not hardcore anything. I want my kids to have an opportunity to learn about faith and religion, Jesus, God, and other biblical characters. I see nothing wrong with this.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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Krista, I "teach" my niece about Jesus and God, and biblical stories. I let her know they are stories. I am simply opening up a door for her so she has the opportunity to explore religions if she likes. My sister talks about Buddism and Catholicism to her...these are the two faiths that she can relate to and make sense on a spiritual level. Her kids, nor my kids have any idea about my direct feelings on Christianity and the bible strictly becouse I want them to have a chance to enjoy it, and gain everything that I have from it. I will not express my feelings and notions until they are of an age that they can handle it. Like teenager years or older. There are aspects that I believe, and many that I don't. Truthfully it is about spiritual guidance, and that is what I want me kids to be in touch with.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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Oh because the daily mail uk says it, it must be true. They have also been noted to say Kylie Minogue is an alien but hey if the daily mail says it then she must be.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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"And Christine, Canada is not a Christian country, thank you very much. We have no official national religion."

All countries have a majority religion or a religion their government and laws and built upon. Christianity is Canada's.



"As a matter of fact, Canada is one of several nations predicted to have religion become basically extinct within its borders."

Did you just come up with this "fact"? Religion is in no danger becoming "extinct" anywhere much less Canada.



"They're not teaching them ABOUT the religion, they're teaching them TO be religious. And it just seems that at no time is there any admitting, "Hey, I COULD very well be completely wrong on this." I know that doubt is seen as a bad thing when it comes to faith, but to me, a lack of doubt shows a lack of humility -- it says, "I am completely and utterly, 100% right, and refuse to even entertain the possibility that I am not right."

Your generalisations are amusing

Krista - posted on 03/27/2011

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The ending part...will you tell your kids what you believe, or let them figure it out for themselves? Do you tell your kids your beliefs? Cause that is forcing your beliefs on them also. You chosing how you view religion is going to help shape your kids beliefs. This is the same thing in reverse. You are not giving them an honest to goodness chance to make their own minds up.

If my kids ask what I believe, I will be honest with them. But, I WILL admit freely that I could very well be completely and utterly wrong, and so will encourage them to come to their own conclusions based on what they see and think, and on what seems to make the most sense to them.

And I guess that's the main thrust of my issue with religious folks teaching their kids about religion.

They're not teaching them ABOUT the religion, they're teaching them TO be religious. And it just seems that at no time is there any admitting, "Hey, I COULD very well be completely wrong on this." I know that doubt is seen as a bad thing when it comes to faith, but to me, a lack of doubt shows a lack of humility -- it says, "I am completely and utterly, 100% right, and refuse to even entertain the possibility that I am not right." And to pass that message along to an impressionable child -- well, like someone else said upthread: religions are very much divided amongst geographical lines. Your kid might turn out Christian, because you raised her to be Christian. And she may be content. But who's to say she might not have been more spiritually fulfilled as a Hindu? And she may not ever consider Hinduism, because she was raised Christian, and it's what she's comfortable with.

Like Johnny said, faith is SO personal. I think it's the most personal thing about someone. It shapes a person's entire world-view. And so to basically choose someone else's faith for them, and to train them in the way they should go, so that they shall not depart from it (sound familiar?)...well, it's just not something with which I'm comfortable.

And Christine, Canada is not a Christian country, thank you very much. We have no official national religion. As a matter of fact, Canada is one of several nations predicted to have religion become basically extinct within its borders.

Vegemite - posted on 03/27/2011

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"Telling them what we believe is not equatable to telling them what they believe, which is what church does."

I've been to many churches as it's important to find the best one for the individual and have never heard from the pulpit or anyone else this is what you believe because this is what we believe. I've heard in many places don't take my word for it go home read your bible and pray about what you've heard and decide for yourself if you agree or not.



"I don't support god being included in my national anthem."

If you don't like the fact that your country is a Christian country then maybe you could move but if you move to another country make sure it's not another christian country or you might hear one of these:

The sixth verse of my beloved Australia's anthem

"With Christ our head and cornerstone,

We'll build our Nation's might,

Whose way and truth and light alone,

Can guide our path aright.

Our lives, a sacrifice of love,

Reflect our Master's care

With faces turned to heaven above,

Advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia fair."

or

America's "In God is our trust"

or

you could have a look at the British anthem and see how many times God is mentioned there.

or

you could move to a Muslim country but then you be bombarded with the many times daily prayer blasted from speakers in nearly every public area.



I'll leave you with this:

"God keep our land glorious and free!"

Mary - posted on 03/27/2011

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Johnny, I'm going to operate on the assumption that the bulk of your last post was in response to me - so forgive me if I am mistaken.

First of all, I have never expressed any "anger" at the suggestion that all denominations are equal. I personally believe that they are. Although I am Catholic, for me it's more of an ethnic identity than it is about being totally married to all of the precise teachings of Catholicism. I honestly believe that ALL religions are praying and worshiping the same God *gasp!*....we are just taking different paths to get there. The man-made rules and stories may vary from faith to faith, but (in my view) we are all praying to the same deity. Funnily enough, this belief was something I arrived at as a result of 4 years in a Catholic high school that taught world religions.

Secondly...I just can't swallow the whole indoctrination or brainwashing bit. Perhaps you do not mean it a derogatory way, but the mere use of those words has a negative and judgmental connotation. Did my parents "make" me go to church until the age of 17? Yes....but in no way was I brainwashed. I was taught what they believed, but as I said earlier, it's not as if I wasn't exposed to other faiths, nor was I discouraged from questioning or speaking my mind. In fact, my mother loved nothing more than to discuss religion with us...she was very well versed not only on the tenets of her own faith, but of several others as well. There was no "this is the only true faith" crap that you (and others) suggest occurs in all of us who have any type of faith. It really was more along the lines of "this is what your father and I have come to believe, and we are sharing it with you" To them, their faith was a good thing, which made difficult times more bearable, and happy times even sweeter. The parish we belonged to was a source of comfort, support, friendship and community....why wouldn't they want to include their children in something that (to them) was such a positive?

I think you are operating on the assumption that all churches and religious parents are close-minded, or that we are all being threatened with the "believe and conform or else" message - and that simply is not the case.

My parents taught me about Catholicism the same way they taught me about Irish and Polish customs and traditions. They did it because that is what they are, and that is what they know. By doing so, they were including me in their family. Had they not ever taken me to church, or shared their beliefs with me, I doubt my response would have been "thanks for not trampling on my personal rights to develop my own beliefs", but rather, I would have felt left out and excluded from something that was very important to them.

Now, my daughter is only two, and I have yet to take her to church (I'm not big on going every week). But at some point, I will. Will I make her go on those Sundays she puts up a fuss and wants to stay home and watch TV? Probably. And I'll tell her the same thing my mother told me: "I don't care if you sit there and daydream, meditate, or make up stories in your head, but you will sit their with your family for that one hour. What you get out of that hour is entirely up to you".

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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Lets put it nicely, what is your definition of going the extra mile if you do not expose them to different churches? Or do you bring them to a variety of churches for optimal exposure?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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First of all, I never made this personnal. You just did. Please do not call me names, and then appologize if you are out of line. Calling someone an asshole in here is out of line period.

That was not my intention, I was SERIOUSLY asking you. Re-reading it myself, I can see where you might see a tone. Re-read it thinking of me asking you the question like with a quizzical interested tilt to my head.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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Ok, so tell me Jenny, how is it that you are going the extra mile? Do you take them to a scientologist place? How about a Baptist church? Muslim? Catholic? Wicken? What do you mean by going the extra mile? Sitting on the internet and looking up different religions? Do you participate in other religions to really teach them all the different forms? Cause that is going the extra mile....

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/27/2011

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Jenny, don't go assuming what other people are doing in their own homes concerning religion. You know what happens when you "ass u me" things don't you?

Jenny - posted on 03/27/2011

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Would any religious people in this thread encourage them to read Dawkins' "The God Delusion"?

I find it very interesting that it is the non-beleivers who will (generally) go the extra mile to exposing their children to a variety of religions and encourage their spiritual exploration. Then we get shit on for encouraging that for all kids.

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