I WON’T SAY IT OUT LOUD

 

It seems it disturbs my mother that I keep mentioning the alleged deity whose initials, reversed, are C.J., even though my remarks are more political than religious.  I think it is every Jewish parent’s fear that their child will be seduced by the dominant culture and go goy.  This is a particularly sore point in the community because the Jewish population is tiny (approximately 1% in the U.S. and 0.22% worldwide) and getting smaller.

 

Not to worry, Mamasan.  I will not be soldiering for C.J. until I get some hard evidence, or, failing that, a frontal lobotomy.  Since I don’t see either on the horizon, you can cross (as it were) it off your list of concerns.  Keep an eye on my brother, though.  You know how impressionable he is.

 

This reminds me of a party I attended last summer, populated by my dear husband’s co-workers and their spouses.  Whenever I get around people (read that: moms) whose kids are older than mine, I steer the conversation to local high schools.  Specifically, which one do your kids attend, and what do you think of it?

 

A woman at the party told me her daughter attended a Catholic high school, and that after going there for awhile, she converted to Catholicism.  My jaw dropped.

 

“Are you Catholic?”

 

“No,” she said cheerfully.  “Vanilla Protestant.”

 

“Are you ok with that?”

 

“Oh yes,” she said.  “I think they need to decide for themselves…”

 

Seattle liberals, eh?

 

This is what I don’t get.  If you say, in essence, that any religion (or presumably no religion at all) is a valid choice, aren’t you tacitly admitting that your own religion has no inherent validity?  If you really believe that whatever you purport to believe is True, isn’t it your job and your responsibility to make sure your kids believe/practice it too?  And if, in contrast, you believe the “all gods are one god” free-flowing spiritual yada yada, why attend a church that teaches one way is the right way? 

 

I defer to your experience, Xangan followers of C.J.  Would you object to your kid’s conversion, or is any flavor of CJanity ok with you?  And would you mind more if your kid switched to a non-CJ faith?  (There’s plenty of room in Judaism, but the entrance requirements are pretty stiff.)

 

 

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31 thoughts on “

  1. I believe in the Bible and it says that every man (or woman) must work out their own salvation. It is just as hard for me to fathom people who do not believe in God and Jesus – as it is for them to fathom why I believe so devoutly. I wish my daughter would follow my faith but no way am I pushing her into it. I don’t believe all gods are one god. I believe in only one God. I hate to discuss religion online because I am much better at talking in person than trying to type out my thoughts. But, you posed an interesting question and I would be interested in what others say about this.

  2. “Object” as in forbid?  Be disappointed?  Strongly discourage?  The degree to which I objected would depend largely on the circumstances–not the specific religion so much as the child’s age and reasons for a) rejecting the religious tradition s/he was raised in, and b) choosing the different (specific) religion.  It is a matter of individual conscience, and there’s nothing I can “do” about that part (which is where conversion really counts). 
    Unless, of course, they were joining one of those weird cults–oh, wait.

  3. I believe in goodness. Let’s make that a religion. Goodism. I’d have no problems with a kid of mine converting to Goodism. But converting to Catholicism?? Judaism?? Christianity?? What?? Are you kidding?? RYC: Yes I do. And yes, I am. Why’d you leave the profession?

  4. I don’t think you can “make sure” that your kids believe/practice your religion.  You can only teach them about faith and how your religion informs your values.  You can make them go to church, which is what we do–since we’re going, and they can’t stay home by themselves–but once they reach a certain age, you have to let them make more of their own choices.  Obviously, you can’t force any internal commitment, but more importantly, they’re not going to feel like they own their decisions if they don’t have any to make.

  5. “I will not be soldiering for C.J. until I get some hard evidence”Faith is easy for children–they believe that Santa Claus delivers presents; that their father is superhuman, and that loosing their teeth is a good financial investment. People nearest death have an easier time with faith too. Have you ever noticed that the older people get, the more they attend church and read the Bible? It’s almost like they are cramming for the final exam. Or people who have been on the brink of death, like a plane crash or a near drowning. If they survive, you will often hear these people–many times non-Christians–talk about how prayer suddenly became their last and only resort. It’s all the rest of us–in between childhood and senior citizenship–that seemingly have the most trouble with faith.Never underestimate faith. If God laid all His cards out on the table right now, there would be no room left for faith. It goes against human-nature to embrace faith in lieu of evidence. If we had all the answers and all the proof, then we wouldn’t need faith–and faith is the key to Christianity; it’s all that God requires. When Jesus said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” that’s what He was talking about. Faith.

  6. “CJanity” *snickers*Me personally?I’d be disappointed if either of my children were to become involved in any organized religion, religion. (I mean Judaisim is fine for it’s cultural aspects, but…) Sheesh, have these years of brainwashing menat nothing???*throwing up in my own mouth a little just thinking about it* 😉

  7. Here’s how I see it… I believe in God and JC.  Probably because I was raised to, but I do.  If my kids look around and find another system they think is more true, then more power to them.  I would never make the claim that my way is the only way, but it’s the right way for me. 
    Between the various factions that worship at the altar of JC-ology, the major differences come down to the rules that men made, IMHO.  And them, I have little faith in.  So, skipping from one man-made philosophy to another is no biggie in my book. 
    The factions that worship different ologies… I figure we won’t find out which one is the right one (if any) until it’s too late to do anything about it.

  8. I really wasn’t worried.  It just seems strange that the same kid who spent Sunday mornings hiding under the bed, trying to get out of going  to Sunday school, now spends so much time thinking about other people’s religion.
    I’ve never found blind faith to be especially righteous, no matter what the religion.  Some of the most vicious wars in history have been fought in the name of one religion or another. 
     Perhaps if people of all religions thought things through a little more reasonably and a little more rationally, we’d all be better off.   Then my daughter could get back to what’s REALLY important, like obsessing about her children,  her husband,  her job, lousy daytime TV,  and her lack of a proper cleaning lady!

  9. I am not a religious person but a spiritual one.  Organized CJity of any flavor never worked for me, never settled well with the very personal relationship I had with the Divine outside of the building, the congregation, the contradicting dogma and clergy who couldn’t convince me to stay.  Because I wanted to belong, that’s the world I was raised in, the faith of my parents, my grandparents, and much to my mother’s dismay, I sought out other possibilities.  I am now a Wiccan.
    As for my kids, as long as they are at peace with themselves, respect their fellow man, aren’t harming anyone and aren’t giving away all their worldly possessions for cultish seclusion and brainwashing, I don’t care what they believe.  But I want them to be spiritual, not necessarily religious.  I want them to ask questions and seek out different perspectives.  I don’t want them to attend services as a chore, a distasteful obligation, a place where they — to borrow from Dogma — go to balance their checkbooks.
    If your religion of choice does not move you, then you need to re-evaluate your outlook.
    Trying really hard not to blog in your blog, but I do believe that every good, loving religion is a valid path to heaven, nirvana, Elyisum, the Summerlands, etc.  One of these days, if you’re interested, I’ll tell you my theory about CJ and His mission.
    I’m done now!

  10. Hard evidence ain’t hapnin’, but then I don’t seethe Ark of the Covenant turning up in a tomb anywhere either. Faith is faith. And yes I’d have a prob if my kids decided they didn’t believe, but unless you go through that doubt, you never figure out if you’re just borrowing from your parents or if you really feel in your soul that it’s the truth. I cycled through lots of stuff, took comparative religion which was terrific. The hardest was Hindu. I’m not smart enough to be a Hindi believer. Anyway, the way you worship is one thing and the way you live out your faith is another. Christians argue over issues the same way everyone else does. None of us think alike and I hope we never do. Otherwise, we will die. Everyone has different gifts and ways of looking at the world. What chaps MY tail is when Christians profess to have the market cornered on piety and love for other humans and this planet. Bull chips. We are not any better than anyone else. I believe because Christ daily turns my face to the mirror to take an inventory “When did you make someone feel better today? Good job. When did you make someone feel crappy today?Do better tomorrow.” And frankly, when I have messed everything up, or when sick people use the freedom of choice to kill others (and no I’m not talking fetuses here.),I need a symbolic lap to crawl into. If my boys “turn” Primitive Baptist or Pentecostal, I won’t disown them,but I probably won’t go to church with them.I just couldn’t sit through it without arguing. And I would encourage them to seek therapy for masochitic tendencies. PS I know someone who became Catholic just to get the church member discount to the Catholic school. Six months of Catholic lessons for a 50% discount.

  11. I won’t even let my kids play near fundie children. That aside, I plan on raising my child with the hope that all the humanistic and secular values the are taught without an ounce of religious implications–especially when it comes to things like sex and sexuality–will inherently keep them repelled from silly, dogmatic truth claims. I don’t think I’d make opening a Bible taboo, but I’d be pretty openly critical of their Christian friends who speak of fairytales like they were commonplace or part of my child’s reality.I also don’t plan in participating in any mainstream, American holidays. I think I’d like to uphold certain Mexican traditions like Day of the Dead–which does have a lot to do with superstition and the supernatural, but I would like to approach it in emphasizing the ritual as more of a time of community and kinship, as opposed to actually believing that the dead revisit. And they might, for all I know. I’m open to the idea of an immaterial metaphysic in the universe, but I don’t think I could seriously take on a ghost hunt in search of evidence. It’s hard. Being a father, as I see it, is something so far into the future that I’m almost too terrified to think about it. I don’t know if my sense of responsibility has matured to the point where I could think of a child as a child and just an extension of myself or a little me-sponge. I have a lot of siblings and I don’t always find them interesting–especially the younger ones. I would hate myself if I had that same attitude towards my child.I think I’ve stepped away from what you originally asked. The answer is yes. If my son or daughter came home saying that s/he had accepted Jesus Christ as his/her savior, I would probably have a conniption fit.

  12. I also have a problem with the assumption that there is a God, an afterlife, and so forth–also, with the idea that being critical of those concepts/beings is taboo or even “wrong.” See, I would be a harsh and expectant father. I don’t even think I’d talk to my child about souls.

  13. “This is what I don’t get.  If you say, in essence, that any religion (or presumably no religion at all) is a valid choice, aren’t you tacitly admitting that your own religion has no inherent validity?  If you really believe that whatever you purport to believe is True, isn’t it your job and your responsibility to make sure your kids believe/practice it too?”
    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Rabbit, but this flies in the face of the more relativistic leanings of our culture.  Post-modernism is much more comfortable with an “I’m o.k, you’re o.k.” sort of approach.  The trouble with that (for me) is that I believe in Truth (yes, with a capital T), and some things are mutually exclusive.  For instance, I can’t believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father, except through Him,” and also believe that all roads lead to heaven.  They don’t jive. 
    While I do believe it’s my job to raise my children in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord,’ there are no guarantees.  I’m not in the business of regenerating hearts.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.  And I totally agree with what Tincanman said about faith. . .And we pesky Reformed folks think that faith is ultimately a gift of God.
    Lastly, along the lines of what Mad said, we can’t force any kind of internal committment on behalf of our kids.  But they will go to church with us as long as “they live in our house.”  That sounds so oldschool.  But hopefully, it will never be burdensome to them.  I (and my siblings) never disliked going to church.  And having said all of that, there is nothing my kids could do, that would make me love them any less.  Yes, I would be disappointed, if they rejected the Faith (that’d be CJ-ianity) in adulthood, but they’d still be my kids.
    So short answer:  Yes, I’d mind. 😉   

  14. “If you really believe that whatever you purport to believe is True, isn’t it your job and your responsibility to make sure your kids believe/practice it too?  ”
       Now, I know I’m being picky here, but isn’t this in essence what the two guys who offended you recently were doing? I know you wrote of kids, but if you believe you have somethng to offer your children, would you withold it from a non-relative? So, from your own quote I conclude that in some way you can relate to them promoting their viewpoint. Judaism evidently doesn’t evangelize, is there even a process for someone wanting to convert?
    But your question was how would I feel if my kids switched to a different flavor. I would be okay with that, staying within the framework of worshipping J.C. The multiplicity of denominations are like varieties of apple trees in my orchard; they are still apples. Some sweeter than others, some more colorful than others, etc. My walk as a Christian is not made better by me running down other Christians who don’t go to the same building I do. And thus have I told my kids.
    Question 2, yeah, I would mind more if they switched to worshipping outside of Christianity.

  15. I’m atheist, but I respect other religious people as long as they’re using religion to guide their lives positively, and not merely handing Bibles to me. I used to be Christian and I’ve since “converted” to atheist. I won’t go into why, but my mother, who is Christian, didn’t have a problem with it. The way she sees it, she does believe in God, but if I don’t, it’s none of her concern and it doesn’t take away from her religion. It’s not her duty to make me follow what works for her, it’s her duty to make me find the right choice for myself.

  16. Oh, and to elaborate. Oh my personal views: “I am a humanist, which mean, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I’m dead.”I believe that part of the reason my mother never objected to my atheism is because we’re just not a religious family. I wasn’t “raised” in the religion at all and I have no idea who Paul is. Since she didn’t teach me to be Christian (it was osmosis whereas atheism was a conscious choice), she couldn’t exactly make me “come back.”

  17. First things first: Children? I don’t know who came up with the idea of children, but he must have been stoned at the time. I for one am perfectly content to let the human race join the illustrious dodo bird in extinction.

  18. The similarities between the major religions of the world are more important than the differences. I believe that the core of all these beliefs is what is important – not the individual rituals or traditions. They are like different paths all leading to the same destination. Therefore, it would not matter to me what particular “brand” of religion my children decide speaks to them.

  19. I see religion as an allegory and not a set of facts and as long as it is a peaceful religion that doesn’t get in my face or promote OCD in its followers then I’m supportive of it. Personally, I don’t have a clue if there is one god or many or none and what I believe is not going to change reality.

  20. Whut eeyore said. And the “goodism” part of whut madhousewife said.It’s my theory that the most important things I taught my children was to treat others as they would like others to treat them and to think for themselves. I was raised as a “Christian” — in quotes because the word is so horribly abused. Am I convinced that JC is the ONLY way to go? No. I’m not even convinced that he was God’s son; at least not in any greater sense than that any of us are God’s “children.” His teachings are profoundly sound, though. But every religion I know about stresses “goodism” — and I believe that is probably the happiest and most gratifying way to live.

  21. ryc – so sorry…. You only come to my site if I leave footprints on yours – why just come to criticise me for what I can’t get done?  I’ll put up the stupid photos if and when I get the time.

  22. Great post, great comments.  But let everybody free, please?  We don’t need fundamentalist somebelief activists, we’re clever, we all can decide ourselves.

  23. Fascinating post! I teach my children that I believe what I believe to be true, but I also teach them that they are not to criticize, condemn, or look down upon anyone who believes differently. I tell them WHY I think what I think, and I try to explain the objections of those who disagree with me. I don’t just do this with issues of faith, however- I use this teaching “frame” for anything controversial (i.e. , politics, abortion, etc.). Would I be upset if one of my kids converted? To Judaism? No, because I believe Judaism is the foundation and core of my own faith. To Islam? Honestly, yeah. Buddhism? Honestly, yeah. Would I still love and adore them and want to be just as close to them as I am now? Yes.

  24. 1. Would you object to your kid’s conversion, or is any flavor of CJanity ok with you? Pretty much any flavor’s okay with me, as long as the denomination they end up in preaches the Word, the whole Word, and nothing but the Word. 2. And would you mind more if your kid switched to a non-CJ faith? “Mind” is a weak word. I’d be heartbroken, crushed, and devastated.

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