Tuesday, April 07, 2009

4/7/09 The God

We're not religious, we don't attend church, and we're not raising our kids with any formal religious training so far. Dave's parents are longtime members of "The Ethical Society," and my upbringing included a silent but sound rejection of Catholicism, into which I was born and baptized.

I was a terrible history student, perhaps because I was taught history correctly. The most common complaint about history teaching is that it focuses too heavily on memorization. Turns out, I'm pretty good at this lowest form of learning -- which I learned painfully is of no value in computer science -- and pretty poor at conceptualizing and learning themes and ideas. That must have been how most of my history was taught, because I stunk at it (and I only squeaked through English because I could spell).

But the one thing I retained from history, true or false, was that peoples (you can say peoples in history) throughout time and all over the world seek explanations for how the world works, reasons for natural phenomena, order in the complex world, and find this guidance by forming religions.

In this dearth of organized religious influence at home, I'm astonished to see that the boys are following this age-old pattern of finding their own. They really want to believe that someone or something watches over them, has a grand scheme, and is the final authority on good and evil. They've even appointed their own deity: Santa.

"Santa knows everything, even if Mom doesn't!"

"You'd better not do that or Santa will punish you."

"Mom, is Santa watching us now?"

"Santa heard that!"

Well, I guess I'm off the hook for any formal religious training. I do think it's important they learn the history of religion, and I'd be the most studious pupil of such a class now. But I'll never answer them if I believe in God, because to firmly believe or firmly reject God requires more faith than I have. By that reasoning, I might even believe in Santa.


No comments: