Monday, March 19, 2012

The Case for Raising Children with Religion

Christians are often Christian because their parents were Christian and raised them Christian. The same can be said for Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and just about every other faith. It’s tradition, and tradition is a lousy reason to believe anything. It’s barely a reason at all. It’s just, well...tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, if I was raising my kids in a cultural vacuum, I’d never introduce Allah, Vishnu or the Force into their education. Fortunately, the U.S.A. is not a vacuum. It’s rich, diverse culture includes not one, but all possible deities. I can’t pretend this doesn’t exist. Therein lies the problem.
I have two choices.
  1. Indoctrinate my children in a new tradition of atheism.
  2. Allow my children to reach their own conclusion regarding the existence of gods.
Indoctrination into reality is preferable to indoctrination into myth, but why pass up the most important critical thinking lesson of their life? I plan on introducing my kids to God (the Christian one, because he’s most popular around here) in the same way I will introduce them to Santa. When, not if, they ask questions like:
  • How does Santa travel to every house in one night?
  • How did God part the Red Sea?
  • Why don’t we see miracles like in the Bible anymore?
  • How does Santa get back up the chimney?
  • Why are there different Santas at different malls?
  • Why are there different gods at different churches?
I will help them reason their way to the their own conclusions. If they decide that the most likely outcome is, yes, magic is real and allows for jolly gift-givers and personal deities, then I will accept that. Somehow I doubt they will.

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