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Old 07-22-2010, 09:16 PM   #1
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Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

i've been struggling lately with the whole concept. as of now, my husband and i do not attend any church services, therefore neither have our children (4.5, 2.5, and 5 months).

i was raised in the baptist church and i did enjoy my religious upbringing UNTIL i was in high school and i just became very resentful of how judgmental my church was being regarding certain people (asking us to boycott anyone or anything that supports homosexuality, etc). i just could NOT stand that mentality so i completely stopped all organized religion activities.

my husband was "sort of" raised in the methodist church, and now, if he HAD to choose, i think he would say he is an atheist.

i've been doing some research, and i think i would like for our family to attend a unitarian universalist church that is nearby. their philosophy matches mine, and i feel like i want to offer my children SOME sort of spiritual guidance, in the hopes that they will make their own religious choices someday, free from my own influence.

how has your family approached the subject of religion if you and your s/o don't share the same belief system?

has anyone else struggled with these decisions in light of your children?

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Old 07-22-2010, 09:40 PM   #2
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

We are a kind of weird family. I was raised baptist for the first 11 years of my life. Well technically my parents were methodist but there was no methodist church near us and apparently baptist is "close enough". I loved it as a small child (well all but one church, it was awful) but after I was baptised I started to question the faith. I soon found that I didn't actually believe in any of it, nor agree with the vast majority (nothing wrong with loving other people but most of the rest I'm iffy on). I had converted to Celtic Paganism by the time I hit 12. I remained Pagan, practicing independently or with circles for most of my adult life. I had every intention of raising my children pagan as well and even joined a pagan parents group and pagan homeschoolers group when my oldest was little. However I have found that over the years I am less and less pagan. I guess what it really comes down to is that I don't believe in any of it. I want to be pagan, I love the stories, I feel very moved by the rites and rituals and once had a close relationship with the Gods and Goddesses. I've always enjoyed it. However I find that in reality I just don't have the faith necessary to believe it with all of my heart. I can't manage the necessary suspension of disbelief. I'm one of those "prove it to me" types. So at this point I am somewhere between Celtic Pagan and atheist/agnostic. It is really hard to say.

Dh was raised in a very conservative Christian household. He attended and graduated from a private Christian school. I let him know when we met that the one thing I couldn't do was marry a Christian, it just doesn't work for me. He told me that was fine he didn't actually believe it anyway. He has been "religion undecided" as long as I have known him, and probably was long before but kind of stuck because of his family and school. He enjoys the idea of Norse mythology and Gods, he also enjoys Buddhism, but honestly if I had to label him I would say atheist/agnostic. So he isn't interested in raising the kids religious at all. He knew I planned to raise them pagan and wasn't bothered as long as it wasn't high pressure, which I'm not.

I did attend a UU church for a while when Kearnan was small and really enjoyed it. At this point we do nothing but I have seriously considered returning to the UU church. It is a lot like a Christian church, the set up is the same and the services are similar with the biggest difference being that the "sermons" are not Christian. They do believe in a higher power but more in an "all walks leading to the same goal" kind of way. In many ways they are more humanist. There is a lot of focus on helping the community and good works. The kids learn about all religions and there are "chalice circles" for the adults. The church I attended had a definite Buddhist slant, there is another close that is more Pagan but I have never been to it so I don't know what it is like. To dh it is still too much like "church" but he has no objection to the kids taking part in it. It is more a matter of getting up the initiative to go than anything. I don't drive so he has to be willing to go and I have social anxiety so even a setting like that is hard for me. Still I think it would be good for the kids. Kearnan doesn't get religion. He is ASD and doesn't really understand the "whys" of religion. The way other people think is a bit elusive to him. However I think Tharen may start questioning at some point. Right now he doesn't because he hasn't had much exposure to other people and their beliefs. It isn't strange to him that we don't attend church because he doesn't know that other people do. I read myths to them and I have a copy of Circle Round that we use when we celebrate the seasons (some great craft suggestions too). I talk about Gods sometimes but I don't think either of the boys have ever really given it much thought. They don't ask me where people go when they die or why we are here or anything like that. Tharen is probably a bit young for that type of thing and Kearnan is not developmentally normal. It would be nice for them to get out and play with other kids their age though, and to have some exposure to what is out there. I definitely don't think growing up in a UU church would hurt them, from my experience it is a great place and very nurturing for children.
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

Fither - you sound like me! Raised in a baptist church (my parents were Word of Life youth leaders).. as a teenager got away from it. I DO agree that SO many church people and leaders can be rude, judgemental, and selfish. Not all, but in my experience, many. We still want to teach our children about what is right and wrong, and that a spiritual life is one they should have. We are looking for the same kind of church.. hopefully we'll find it soon. I think you just take it in stride. I am VERY much a believer to let them learn, instead of teaching to them.
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

thank you both for your responses. it's really helpful for me to talk it out, especially b/c i don't know exactly how i feel. i just wish that my husband wasn't traveling for work, or i would talk to him about this, obviously. it will have to wait for now.

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Old 07-22-2010, 11:01 PM   #5
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

Delighted to hear there are so many here in my same situation. Right now we're not considering going back to church, but I would like to raise my children in that kind of 2nd family (that I really adored), and teach them that doing good affects more than just you and the person you're assisting - it helps society as a whole (though indirectly). My daughter is 7 mos, so I have a while, but I hope to have something figured out by then. ;-)
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Old 07-23-2010, 03:10 AM   #6
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

Well, I'm not very religious at all, but more spiritual. I'm not sure if you would label me agnostic, buddhist, or maybe even a "spiritual atheist". And that's okay that I don't have a label. My husband feels/believes very similarly. I'm comfortable with my daughter finding her own path, educated and discovering religous beliefs as she feels comfortable and asking me questions as she grows.

My family is mostly Christian, some more strong in their faith than others. My inlaws have just recently become born again Christian and are pretty gung ho on spreading the faith so that can be awkward. Honestly though I have no problem with dd being exposed to Christianity or anything else as long as it's not shown in a guilt/shame inducing way.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:11 AM   #7
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

I am Methodist and so is My family and DH's family. He on the other hand is roughly Taoist. We do go to a very liberal Methodist Church that is very open minded and VERY accepting of others. We do have gay members welcomed as members of our Church and we are very cautiously going into a covenant with a sex offender so he can attend our Church with constant member supervision.

My husband knew it was important to me to attend "Church" We have been to the Buddhist Temple, the UU Church and a large variety of Christian Churches and this is what feels like home to both of us. Although he does not agree with all of the teachings of Christianity he generally does agree with the big picture message that is given.

We to want to raise our children with the capability to make their own spiritual choices and I think that this can be done as long as you don't fall into a rut and ONLY teach about one view. We like to have discussions about many religions in our daily life and expose out children to these other religions. We don;t believe in teaching by fear and even the Bible more times that not says "do not be afraid". I don't think scaring a child into a religion works on a long term basis there for we do not agree with many Christian views on how to preach due to that. I think it all depends on what your goals are for the need of a "Church Family" as to where will work best for you. Good luck in your search for a Spiritual family.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:38 AM   #8
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

Quote:
Originally Posted by happyhats View Post
Well, I'm not very religious at all, but more spiritual. I'm not sure if you would label me agnostic, buddhist, or maybe even a "spiritual atheist". And that's okay that I don't have a label. My husband feels/believes very similarly. I'm comfortable with my daughter finding her own path, educated and discovering religous beliefs as she feels comfortable and asking me questions as she grows.

My family is mostly Christian, some more strong in their faith than others. My inlaws have just recently become born again Christian and are pretty gung ho on spreading the faith so that can be awkward. Honestly though I have no problem with dd being exposed to Christianity or anything else as long as it's not shown in a guilt/shame inducing way.
I really like how you put this into words Mama.

I was raised in a strict Catholic home. My first 3 children were baptized as Catholic and my oldest son recieved his first communion.
My DH was raised in a very Christian family.
We do not attend a Church and I am not really sure how I feel about God anymore. DH is a strong believer but does not believe in organized religion. If one of my children told me today they wanted go attend church I would take them but I honestly have no interest.
All of my children are polite and kind to others. They each have a strong bond to each other and to our family as a unit. They also treat ALL people equally and fairly, love our earth, and I can't imagine wanting more than that.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

I am a Christian, and I belong to the Nazarene church. My boys have been in church since the beginning, and will be as long as they live with us. My husband recently decided he is not a Christian, but he still attends church with us, and will support me in teaching our boys about God.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:17 PM   #10
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Re: Talk to me about your child's spiritual/religious upbringing

I was raised Conservative Christian. When I got older I thought I just believed because of the way I was raised, I didn't feel a personal relationship with God like Christians claimed to have. I didn't know if I believed, didn't know where I would go when I died, etc...

Then we joined a church we loved a non-denominational church as our adult life and slowly a lot of questions I had were answerd...like even dumb things I would want to know:

why were dinosaurs not explained in the Bible?
http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/dinos.shtml

Why could men have more than one wife?
http://www.gotquestions.org/polygamy.html

How did Adam & Eve populate the world?
http://bible.org/question/was-world-...s-adam-and-eve

How did people get to heaven before Jesus died on the cross? How do people who don't know God get to heaven? Why do good people who don't believe go to hell? How do people in 3rd world countries that have no access to God get to heaven? Is Jesus really who he says he is...

I am a "prove it to me" kind of girl, and I need real facts. I found all the answers I was looking for and more. I started with this:

http://www.leestrobel.com/channels/CFChrist.php
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