Friday, January 4, 2013

Choosing Religion for One's Children

In the NY Times, KJ Dell’Antonia of the Motherlode blog has a new post: ”Children, Choosing Their Religion.”  Her take (an excerpt):
There’s nothing wrong with raising children outside of a religious tradition, and that upbringing doesn’t preclude them from being part of a community or later finding a community of their own…

One unsought result of a family identity based in part on shared religion is that throughout history, families have struggled to accept the children who don’t remain within the religious fold. It’s less important that teenagers embrace the community their parents have chosen for them than that they find some community themselves, and as they grow up, what matters most is that we as parents embrace the communities and identities that become a part of our children.

in her blog post, You Choose Your Child’s Religion, the Rev. Nurya Parish offers a rebuttal (an excerpt):
I discarded the secularism of my childhood for any number of reasons. Here are a few:

    Contrary to Dell’Antonia’s assumptions, “Religion” and ”community” are not synonyms. Religion is a way of making meaning of life. Religions endure because they successfully enable generation after generation to celebrate the beauty and wrestle with the agony of human existence. Nothing else – not shopping, not good friends, not even great dinner parties – substitutes.
    Religious communities are not an end in themselves. Their purpose is to practice the religion they profess. By the practice of their faith, they seek a depth of soul and connection to the Divine that is impossible to achieve any other way. Religious communities exist to connect human beings with God, the Eternal. (Religious communities forget this at their peril, but that’s another post.)
    Religion provides a connection not only with God but also with the hundreds of human generations who have told the stories, sung the songs, and practiced the rituals over millennia of human existence. A community which transcends time and space and exists for the purpose of intentional spiritual practice is unlike any other.
    Religion provides a countercultural force to the militarist greed which is the curse of 21st century America. Religion teaches that you are not defined by your fame, power or fortune, but by your faith: what is your relationship with your Creator?

I am raising my children in a religion because I believe that I would deprive them of something as necessary as food or water if I did not: I would deprive them of a language for life.
As you might guess, I agree with Nurya and as I typed this, I saw the Huffington Post Religion Twitter Feed:

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life - Buddha


No comments: