Parenting's effect on religion and spirituality
A while back some girlfriends and I were talking about how most people we know got more religious or spiritual once they had children. Being involved in church became very important and some of them became total holy rollers.
I'm noticing for me it's had the opposite effect. I'm suddenly incredibly keenly aware of the biology and physiological factors perpetuating life. I look back when my teens were babies, and then back to when I was a young child, and see how fast time has progressed. I see my grandparents getting older. I know my father will not see my daughter's grandchildren. I think of my great grandparents and their stories. I wonder what kind of stories my grandkids will know or share about me, and I wonder if my great grandparents names and stories will be vague legends to them or if they will know them well. Suddenly our existence seems very biological and I feel like a plant on this planet.
I wouldn't quite call me an atheist. I can't subscribe to the idea that I'm absolutely certain there is absolutely nothing out there. That's a kind of arrogance that is far too similar to religion to me. But I would definitely say I'm in a place now where I'm not "worshipping" god. And I'm not sure I feel comfortable instructing my kids in religion either.
I see religion as causing divisiveness and war. Oppression. Which is different than being spiritual.
I'm very keenly aware of my own mortality right now, and my connection to the biology of life.
In a related vein I'm becoming more aware when I hear folks attribute occurrences to prayer, and how that bothers me. I don't mind a simple "and God is good" which people of various religious persuasions say through the day to remind them to keep God in their day (I think it serves as a protection against being prideful, which is never a bad idea!) but then there's the people who thank God for such things as leading them to a sale or getting them a good parking place. Seriously? And what of the classic example of the family who survived a tornado and says "God was with us!" Was he not with the family who lost their grandmother down the streeet? Does God like you better or something? And of course probably the worst offender, Tebow.
I guess it's bothersome to me because all one has to do is turn on the news to see children starved or tortured to death. Where was God then? Concentrating on the Denver Broncos? See so if God doesn't have time to stop Josh Powell in Washington from killing his little boys with a hatchet and blowing up his house with all three of them inside, then the idea he has time for Tebow's football game or a shopping trip is making me question what precisely the point of worshipping God is. So I can get the very best Costco experience? People have said "well no, but God has a plan for everything even if we don't understand what that is." Well if his plan includes little kids and innocent peopel getting starved, tortured, and mutilated I think I'd like a new architect please. If I went with that idea, I wouldn't just be an atheist, I'd be anti-God (there's a difference!).
And I've had the "why do bad things happen to good people?" conversation with religious scholars and I get that God can't control human will... but he can control football games? So this is where I get lost in the idea that God controls everything. I don't believe he controls a thing and at best is there to listen and comfort, if there at all (I'm not sure there is a God but if there is, that's the only thing I see him capable of doing). I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just that's why my teeth grate when I see the cover of CNN with a picture of Tebow praying to thank God for another touchdown next to a story about some little girl getting raped and strangled. It just looks so obnoxious to me to presume it was all due to God, almost mocking, when these horrible things were going on. Really? God was personally intervening in that field goal but not some woman getting beaten to near death and buried alive? Go thank the trainer or the parents for blessing the kicker with athletic DNA but please do not presume God was paying attention to your sporting event when clearly there was way more important things he could be doing is my thought!
And all those thoughts swirling in my head have led to feel less than comfortable teaching my kids a particular religion, and to concentrate more on being good humans instead.