marți, 1 februarie 2011

Conversation with my son(s) #1: Why don't we go to church?

This series will be a weekly (hopefully) endeavor where I will imagine some hypothetical conversations with my boys when they grow older. Hopefully they will prove insightful. Not too sure on what the format is going to look like, but I'll tweak things as I go along

Son: Hey dad, can I ask you a quick question.

FSA: Sure son, what is it?

Son: Um, well I was just wondering, why don't we go to church?

FSA: Why were you wondering that, if you don't mind me asking?

Son: Well, some of my friends were asking me at school. They were talking about going to church and stuff, and they asked me what church I went to. I told them that we didn't go to church and that we just stayed at home, but I figured I'd ask you why.

FSA: Ok, fair enough. You see son, church is for people that belong to certain religious groups. It's for people who more or less believe the same thing and every Sunday they meet to talk about those set of beliefs and be part of a community of like-minded individuals.

Son: How come we don't go?

FSA: Simply because we don't share one major belief. I'm an atheist, and your mother is a...hmm, spiritual agnostic is the best way to put it.

Son: What does that mean?

FSA: (laughing), for me it means that I don't believe that god exists. For your mom, she's not really sure if god exists, but she tends to believe that there is a spiritual realm to the world...or something like that, you should talk to her and get her thoughts on the matter.

Son: What does that make me then?

FSA: Well son, most likely it'll make you either an atheist, or an agnostic. Most kids usually follow their parents when it comes to religion.

Son: I thought grandma and grandpa were Christian though? Why aren't you a Christian then dad?

FSA: That's a long complicated story, son. Suffice it to say that I took a look at the evidence and it lead me to atheism.

Son: What do you mean by that dad?

FSA: That's going to be a conversation for another time son. I promise we'll get to it though...we could go to a church if you wanted to see what it's like. Maybe we could go to different congregations and we'll talk about what we like and don't like.

Son: Do you think that would be a good idea?

FSA: It's just a thought. I'll talk to your mother about it and see what she says. We might go to a Unitarian Universalist church first and see what they're like.

Son: Ok...what's a Unitarian Universalist?

FSA: I wish I knew son, but we'll figure it out together. (wink)

Son: (laughing) Ok dad, if you say so.

FSA: I love you son.

Son: I love you too dad.


So that end's the first of what should be a weekly series. In this short conversation, I wanted to touch on how my sons might feel like an outsider because of our familiy's lack of religion. I hope that I'll be able to do a better job explaining to them, while at the same time allowing them to explore and be their own person. I'll try to refine the format and improve upon the dialogue going forward.