The Good Book

I have little to no feeling about religion. I’m aware it exists, there are several of them, and while I’m not familiar with the intracacies of each I understand the underlying theme of believing in a power greater than thyself. I’m no stranger to religion however. I grew up with an uber-religious father, who for a time had close ties via his employment to a Catholic church. There are pictures of me at the Confirmation ceremony when I was about 9 years old. I wore a white dress, had oddly frizzy/curly blonde hair and large pink glasses. I remember afterwards the entire family went out to brunch at a local family restaurant. I remember getting presents and cards filled with money. This was awesome, but even then, I remember feeling awkward.

My brother and I attended Sunday school and even attended various church summer day camps in our younger years. Oddly, I don’t recall learning a ton about God and Jesus and their discipiles and shit, I remember more about eating food and playing games. Maybe we hold onto what we¬†choose¬† to remember. As I got a bit older, into the early teenage years, my dad would harp on me about going to church every Sunday. I’ve been to Sunday mass a few times in my life, but likely less than I can count on my fingers and toes. Hell, I’ve even been to midnight mass! But to me, it wasn’t something I could hang onto.

It seemed like a bunch of bullshit to me then, and now, I just really don’t care. In a way, as a teenager, I was probably rebelling a bit. This was a point in my life where my dad was going to church EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Sometimes, multiple times per day. And every time I talked to him, it was more of the same, “When are you going to come to church with me?” My response was always an emphatic NEVER, which my dad took as a joking matter assuming he’d get through to me one day.

In the last 10 years of my adult life, rarely does the thought of religion ever come up. If it does, it’s because someone is talking about it on the news, or someone in my family died and their funeral is…at a church. Of course I go, I’m not a monster. Now, though, people seem to be hanging onto life so my exposure to the inside of the sanctuary has been non-existent and ever moreso my thoughts about religion.

My oldest Sdaughter* is 5 years old (almost 6). She’s a very smart and curious little girl and she is always asking lots of questions about everything and anything. For Christmas, she was gifted a children’s bible while on vacation. When she returned to our stead after New Year’s she told us all about her children’s bible and how excited she was to have her very own. Prior to this, she had been hearing about God and Jesus through the grapevine, from a little girl at school and an adult in her circle. She had asked US questions on the subject and we stood behind a scientific approach to life rather than a creationism stance. I had never really considered this topic as something that would come to the forefront so soon as neither her father or mother are religious. But I suppose similar to Santa Claus, children hear stories and get curious.

Religion is such a touchy subject in this country, one that should be approached carefully. Many people are turned off by the mere mention of it (like me) and some go on a rant about how one perceive’s a certain religion (like me). I’m not opposed to allowing her (or other kids) to learn about religion, but I think it’s a conversation that parents need to have with one another and come to a mutual understanding before allowing religious materials in an otherwise non-religious set of homes. Children are naturally curious and need to fulfill their curiosities through questions, answers, and sometimes application to real life. I think it’s important to understand and be exposed to variety in life and learn about other cultures and religions in order to gain respect to all, even if you inevitably do not agree.

(*Stepdaughter)