This past weekend, I took my son and daughter to church. My mother was going for a memorial for an old friend that died 40 days ago. My father couldn’t drive her and it was across town, so she asked me to take her. She never asks me to take her anywhere, and she has done so much for us since the kids were born, I couldn’t say no.
I haven’t stepped foot in a church for almost 20 years. I was raised Orthodox. I did the church thing and Sunday school for many years. And then my scientific mind matured and I questioned what I was learning about and decided it wasn’t for me anymore. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in a higher being. I believe in science. I believe in the universe and that we decide our path in life, not some big old guy in the sky. In high school, I learned all about the world religions – Hindu, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, etc. I also learned that far more blood has been shed in the name of religion than for any other cause in our time here on Earth. That makes no sense to me. So, I made a decision when I was a teenager that I would be an atheist.
Daughter got up super early that day and was already cranky by 9am. Son would be ready for a nap by the time we got to the service (my mother wanted us there at 11am because that’s when the memorial would occur). My husband talked to my daughter about where we were going and explained that she was expected to be quiet and good.
She did amazingly well. There was so many interesting things for her to look at. The church was adorned in beautiful paintings, this old guy wearing robes at the front was shaking this thing that had smoke coming out of it – why wouldn’t an almost-4 year old be mesmerized? To my utter shock and amazement, the church had a little playroom at the back dedicated for children. Brilliant! Son and daughter spent quite a bit of time there with their dad. I stayed with my mom looking at the congregation. Interestingly, it was mostly older folks. The only young people I saw that were my age arrived late with their kids (in time for the Communion), stood at the back, and left immediately after the service finished. I was surprised by how much I remembered about the service. Nothing has changed. Nothing. Its like the world evolved but the church stayed the same. It was kind of creepy.
My daughter said she wanted to go again with her grandmother. I don’t really have a problem with that. I think it’s good for her to be exposed to church. I’m not raising her in any particular religion – my husband and I are both atheists. Yet, we intend to teach our children about religion and allow them to decide as adults what they choose to believe. We plan to teach our kids about science, scientific pursuit and the nature of the world we live in, the universe that surrounds us and our little place in that universe. I suppose that is our religion. That is what we worship.
And just for fun: