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Blind faith

I got in a conversation today about religion....which probably wasn't a good idea.

I don't really  have any religion that I belong to.  Buddhism fits my beliefs most closely but I do still believe in God, however christianity doesn't work for me because I don't believe that the bible is the "word of God".  I have looked at many, many religions and not a one, not a single one, fits what I believe totally.  I believe in God because God has helped me, interviened in my life when thiings were tough and made me do the right thing when I almost made really, I mean REALLY stupid mistakes.  Long story...

So I asked someone who is Baptist, "how did you decide to become baptist?" and she explains.  And she said that it is good to bring a kid up with religion, yadda yadda, yadda, kind of hinting that I should take my son to church on a regular basis (who is 2).  I told her that I was raised catholic but don't really believe in those things now, and that my personal beliefs are a mixture of a lot of different religions.  

The conversation went on and it ended with her just telling me that I need to have "faith" that Christ my savior.  I let the matter drop, I have heard this story a million times over.  I can not have blind faith, how can anybody ever force themselves to believe in something? I just can't believe in the bible when those stories in there seem just so rediculous to me.   And bringing my son up Christian?  I am not sure.  I am not opposed to him learning about what Christians believe, but is it really necessary to take him to church every Sunday?  

What is the rright thing to do?  What do I teach him?  Do I try to force a religion on him that I personally don't believe in myself, is that really the best thing to do?  If i am not so sure what my own beliefs are, then how can I be a good teacher for him?

you do what you feel is best. raise him how you see fit either with or without religion. if he decides when he's grown that he believes something else, then that's his decision that he came to on his own like you did about religion. don't listen to other people, hell, don't listen to me. the way you raise your son is up to you

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SnowQueen,

I was raised Catholic. My kids went through Catholic school. My wife works at that school (though she's not Catholic). Our social circle is mostly Catholic. I don't go to mass anymore because I don't believe in blind faith either. I can't take dogma in any form. For about 10 years I have been a closet Buddhist and just the last year have become open about it. I did not choose Buddhism but rather discovered that it fit my existing philosophies and guiding principles. Buddhism recognizes the validity of all religions and encourages followers to accept those teachings that agree with one's own reason and common sense. Most Buddhists don't really consider it a religion but rather more of an organized philosophy and special insight and knowledge. Buddhism has no problem with its followers believing in other religions while practicing Buddhism too.

Many other religions have been influenced by Buddhism. It was well established in the Mediterranean and the holy land before the birth of Jesus. Jesus very likely heard the Dharma teachings. It has coexisted with Judaism for thousands of years. There are still many that consider them-self a JewBu. It is widely believed that the Christian rosary is derived from the Buddhist and Hindu mala. Even the Widow's mite coin mentioned in the new testament is struck with a image of the Buddhist Dharmachakra. It is often described as a ship's wheel which was not invented until almost 800 years later. :)

It is perfectly okay believe in god or practice any religion while also practicing the Dharma.

"Buddhism is for everyone, regardless of gender, age, occupation, nationality or religion." – Venerable Chin Kung

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I just wanted to say - I like these responses. Encouraging and insightful.

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Religious indoctrinization before 8/9 years old (the age of possible abstract thought/ conscious analysis) is just that: indoctrinization. The kid's got no means of separating the shit from the shinola... and any organized religion (especially book-based vs experience-based religions) (especially *especially* really old ones, heavily intitutionalized & corrupted by political machinations) are going to *have* shit concealed within them! It's inevitable...

Just like you wouldn't give your kid an apple with a razor buried in it, don't give him that shit to overcome later... expose him to the smorgasboard, when he's old enough to think through it, & tell him what you believe and why, but that each person's spirit is different, and trust that he'll find his way to things meaningful to him. That's what we all do anyway; don't give him the 'blind faith' baggage to deal with first.

That's my opinion, anyway...

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I'm with hotcooknmama. The central tenets of most of the major religions seem to revolve around "don't treat each other like crap" which is an excellent message for anyone, but one that does not require the institutionalised baggage of organised religion piled on top. I think you can teach him to be a decent person without throwing the Bible - or any other book - at him, and you can also teach him that part of being a decent person is being educated and tolerant about other people's beliefs.

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Ah, religion...

As a fellow recovering Catholic, I feel your pain. I feel like  should be giving my daughters a solid religious foundation... but gadzooks, not a Catholic one. I also am a "seeker". I keep looking for metaphysical insight, even when a lot of paths turn up 'meh'.

My suggestion? Just do the very best you can. The basic things about being a good and just person are universal. The Golden Rule - "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You" - has an equivalent in every major religion. Strive to be a good, humane person. Set the example for your son.

After that, explore. Explore with your son. Talk about ideas. Kids can be wonderfully insightful on some of the bigger issues.

Where to start? Wherever you feel most comfortable. I've taken my eldest to several Catholic masses. She love the music and the beautiful buildings. The message and the "stand, sit, kneel"... not so much.

Maybe try a Unitarian-Universalist church in your area. They have no set dogma, and a lot of congregants in those churches are still seeking out exactly what their beliefs are. Plus, we're big on coffee. :)

Check out as many different faiths and texts as you can. There is little to lose a lot to gain by just being open-minded and exploring. The Bhagava-ghita (I know I spelled that wrong...), for example, - if nothing else - contains some absolutely striking and beautiful poetry.

Lastly, I'll recommend a book - "The Case For God" by Karen Armstrong. While it is rather academic, it is a great crash course in the history of human religious thought. It also has a great message - It's okay to not know.

You're lucky to have a lot of great advice so far in this thread - I hope it helps you find what you and your little one need.

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This came across my intertubes the other day and I thought it was relevant to the conversation:

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldcd6aHCQR1qzihdvo1_500.jpg

Seems to me like the key is to teach your kid decency first, and if you believe that a certain element of religion helps with that then structure your ideology accordingly. I don't think "being religious" = "good person" or even "well-rounded person". As people have said, I would go very gently, encourage questioning and critique and never make it about the "right" answer or way of life :)

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catski, THAT'S AWESOME!

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This came across my intertubes the other day and I thought it was relevant to the conversation:

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldcd6aHCQR1qzihdvo1_500.jpg

Seems to me like the key is to teach your kid decency first, and if you believe that a certain element of religion helps with that then structure your ideology accordingly. I don't think "being religious" = "good person" or even "well-rounded person". As people have said, I would go very gently, encourage questioning and critique and never make it about the "right" answer or way of life :)

Like!  ;)b

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I think the right thing to do is to share your own beliefs but also state but "that there are many beliefs out there".  You might want to share the different religions/philosophies and then allow your son to choose.

I really believe that it doesn't matter that much what someone is raised with (well, OK, it does sometimes) but ultimately, that person has their own spirit and will find their own way despite their environment whether that is atheism, Buddhism, traditional relgion, whatever.

I have lots of examples of this. I have a dear Mexican friend who grew up with strong Catholicism, and he becamse a converted Jew!  I myself grew up with zero religion but I became very spritual myself and have found what I like for me. I am the only one in my family who has so it's really my inner promptings nothing else.  I know several people who grew up Catholic and as adults hate religion or never go anymore.

I just think we should allow children to be free. They have a special purpose/path in life and they need to find it.

The only mistake here, IMO, is to force your world view on your son. That would not be right.

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Blind Faith was either one of the great successes of the late '60s, a culmination of the decade's efforts by three legendary musicians -- or it was a disaster of monumental proportions, and a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with the business of rock at the close of the decade. In actual fact, Blind Faith was probably both.

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This came across my intertubes the other day and I thought it was relevant to the conversation:

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldcd6aHCQR1qzihdvo1_500.jpg

Seems to me like the key is to teach your kid decency first, and if you believe that a certain element of religion helps with that then structure your ideology accordingly. I don't think "being religious" = "good person" or even "well-rounded person". As people have said, I would go very gently, encourage questioning and critique and never make it about the "right" answer or way of life :)

lol  :> good one.

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Studies show that the population is turning to belief in God rather than belief in religion. I think it is really nice that you embrace ideas from different religions, and you should share those beliefs with your son. Maybe you guys can (if you feel comfortable) visit different religious establishments. This would help you both learn together and maybe even grow spiritually? You don't have to even take him to an establishment, but simply discussing different religions with him would help him form an opinion and respect for different beliefs.

I think it is such a shame that so many people are so intolerant towards different religions. Even so many people on this website criticize people with different beliefs and it is quite pathetic. As vegans, we all obviously have different views than others in society, and those who want to criticize everyone else should not expect tolerance or acceptance in return.

Anyways, good luck with whatever path you choose to take with your son!!!

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I wonder if it doesn't make more sense to focus on character traits like honesty and compassion than a specific religion when raising kids, especially if you as a parent aren't quite sure what spiritual community you feel most comfortable in at the moment.  I think that any religion (when based in love) can be positive for children as long as there is the freedom for them to question and explore outside of the beliefs of that faith community as they age.

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I personally was not raised in a religious household (parents say they are not atheist, but never mentioned God or religion with me growing up) and I do not attend church, although I have been to services of various Christian denominations in the past, with friends.  I am with you in that I cannot believe in it or have "blind faith" although I have tried.  Have you ever looked into a Unitarian Universalist church?  Although I have not attended one, I have some friends that have, and according to them, this church does not preach any specific religion, and instead just focuses on morals and philosophy, etc.  I believe, depending on the church, that they even speak about all different religions from week to week. 

Although I am not religious I still think it is a good idea to be educated about all different religions since most people in this world are, and it's especially great idea to bring your child up this way... so that he can eventually make up his own mind which, if any, belief system is right for him... rather than being indoctrinated into only one religion, and ignorant of all others, like most people are.

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Elementary school age children tend to benefit most from going to church/participating in sunday school curriculum because of how they organize and make sense of the world. They typically want to follow "the rules" and do well; having a set of beliefs that they can apply to their life to reinforce that they are making good decisions is helpful to them.

That being said, I don't think any of these things have to come from going to church, or even a religion necessarily. Certainly there are some people who enjoy going to church, but there are others that feel it is a chore that they must do "or else". A two year old will most likely not even remember going to church. Will going to church be time well spent together Will it be an avenue to spend more time with your child, making memories and being happy? Do you trust the influence of the church on your child's development to be positive?

I don't believe organized religion is a positive thing for my family. When I explain things to my children I will probably pull from certain religious aspects but there are others that I will be happy to leave out. I also would rather spend Sunday morning having breakfast and playing with my family rather than at church, which I find to be impersonal. But the answers may be different for you whether or not you believe in every part of the church's beliefs.

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Being "unsure", snowqueen, is, in this case, a potential sign of wisdom.  Some are in a rush to answer things they must have answered, and skip the intellectually vital ability to admit when you don't know something, as well as when you are wrong.  Infact, wording it like that, it's clear to see that that isn't only integral to intellect but to being ethical as well.

My mother has a ton of faith but  she never made the slightest effort to push that on me.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that :)

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I feel that the way my mother brought me up was one of the best ways, and when the time comes I will use her method. I was brought up with a strong sense of morality without any purpose, such as evading any sort of "hell"; but I was taught to be good for goodness sake. My mother is tolerant and knowledgeable of all religions, and I was free to explore when the time came, in my late teens. Without any bias set by my family, I had to research and theorize on my own. And, as a young woman, having read many books and bibles and the like, I can proudly say I am an atheist. And that's okay.

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i think blind faith is allsum.

how can it possibly be a bad idea to believe in something blindly?  

makes TOTAL sense.

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i think blind faith is allsum.

how can it possibly be a bad idea to believe in something blindly? 

makes TOTAL sense.

INORITE

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