I’ve come to my own conclusion that I don’t believe in God. I don’t require saving, my redtube addiction keeps me warm at night and I have no issue dabbling in the prospect of residing in purgatory for three thousand years whilst they contemplate whether shitting in an alleyway on my 18th birthday was a sin or necessity. I’m a level 5 Agnostic. I am more likely to lean toward there being no God than there is and bar the occasional bit of catholic guilt plaguing my thoughts, I don’t think about how my actions may affect God (or Gods or supernatural beings) because I simply don’t need to. I do feel a twat stating that I’m a ‘level 5 agnostic’, don’t worry. However, a question that floats around frequently is how one should raise a child. Does it set the child up for a fulfilling existence by leading them down the path of atheism from the moment they can walk, talk and troll the internet or is it more likely to lead a child down the path of confusion and hopelessness from an early age?
Let’s face it, we all loved believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and it had to be wrenched away from most of us as we realised we would rake in a far lower portion of useless gifts from that point on. From an early age I realised that church was boring and repetitive but there was also something kind of cool about the stories of Jesus making bread from stone and Moses parting the Red Sea. Kind of bad ass. Yet, an education with more focus on learning about the theory of evolution and the history of our planet from the point of Quark and Lepton’s cheeky hook up would probably assist a child’s development as a more rounded individual than the seven days of lights, camera, action that Le Holy Bible speaks of.
The Bible is a fascinating
work of fiction document. To trace every writer of the Old Testament and the New Testament is a task that would require years and years of study. Moses, allegedly a great prophet and one of the most celebrated monotheists in human history, apparently spoke of Ten Commandments and wandered the desert for you know, around 40 years and lived until he was 120. A great innings for a man that, according to the Torah, lived until the year 1272 BCE when the life expectancy was probably (and I am loosely saying probably) about 30-40 years. He may have been a camel in human clothing but that again is a very loose estimate. Now, this guy spoke of Ten Commandments which have formed the basis of basically every legal system across the globe. Along the lines of No killing another being, no stealing, no having it out with your mate’s missus. They’re all pretty straight forward blanket rules that seem to be pretty sensible and keep those damn delinquents in line. However, I’m not too sure that 500 dollar fines for public urination were ingrained in stone, but you know, things can be interpreted in different ways according to the particular person.
Back on point, the question that is to be explored is whether it is more appropriate to raise your child with or without religion. Is it fair to raise a child as an atheist when they haven’t had the opportunity to properly explore the options? I mean, I believe that children should never be hidden from difficult choices that will strengthen them as people, we don’t want a society in the same mold as the ‘Bible Belt’ in Southern America that is seemingly based around white supremacy, a God that bends to the whim of every Christian lad or lass in town depending on the context and a whole lotta fast food joints. Children should have their minds opened as quickly as possible. Obviously I am not suggesting that we sit them in front of a computer screen and allow them to analyse the angle that a very worldly woman leans when she is being being prodded by a hard utensil connected to the man’s hip bone – Okay, I’m talking sexual intercourse but I wanted to tone it down in case an adult is actually allowing their child to read this smut – but there is a strong correlation between intelligent adults and an eye opening childhood. Of course I could also suggest that there is a correlation between those whose eyes have been opened too wide to the point of becoming uncertain, shaky, anxious adults with dashed dreams of being the next F. Scott Fitzgerald and being told that they are wonderfully gifted writers when they are 10 but that is not a positive message at all is it?
I don’t want to be perceived as cynical toward faith as a general idea. The basis of religious teaching is wonderful. Treat others kindly, don’t hit other people, love thy neighbour, don’t be a cunt etc. However, human influence and as previously mentioned, bending the intentions of the original teachings to suit the needs of a particular group or individual has injured a once powerful institution. The Catholic Church are now plagued by factions of power hungry bishops, child molestation charges and backward notions of safe-sex, same sex relationships and abortion. Islam has been unfairly dragged branded a hateful religion. Judaism are also consistently associated with radical extremism in the Middle East. It is hard to avoid analysing the effects that misconceptions or more reasonably, half to three-quarter truths when assessing the need for religion in one’s life. I am a firm believer in the idea that no one is devoid of even the most minute presence of spiritual belief and it is dangerous to denounce it as a waste of breath and energy. Despite this, I do feel that to raise a child with an open mind and to learn about different religious beliefs or lack thereof is the correct choice of method.
Influences exist in the media, schools, families and the wider internet which are hard to ignore. It is the ability to flick through and ponder the different influences before committing to a school of thought that is a very important lesson to endeavour to learn. I am not a father and for those of you reading this and thinking ‘Thank God for that’, (pun unintended) I applaud you. I am not one to cast aspersions on how we should raise our kids. I simply appreciate openness and discussion in finding out which path we should follow as a believer or non-believer. Not only do we educate ourselves but we give the generations that follow a chance to educate those who follow them and not become stagnant puppets in the bitter apathy of polluted institutional madness that is a society without choice.