Question: Dear Luise: I was raised in a home with no religious training. My parents said it would be my choice when I was an adult, but by their very actions, they said a lot about their own choices. I was taught moralistic and legalistic responsibility where loyalty and fidelity were highly valued…so it was not a home without principles. In some ways I felt left out as a child. No Sunday School or Summer Bible School, and no sense that I knew the “right” path. Later, in college, I was happy I didn’t have to go through what some of my friends did, pulling away from the religious beliefs of others. Now, in my mid-forties, I am basically curious about organized religion and if it has anything to offer me. I don’t want to voice this because numerous people would like to take me under their wing. Any suggestions? Larae
Answer: Dear Larae: What an interesting dilemma. Parents who foist their beliefs on their kids are loudly criticized but those who don’t may be dropping the ball, too. And the little kid hasn’t a clue. They go where their parents have an investment or to the Summer Bible School that offers the most goodies.
This is a touchy subject because many parents feel very strongly that they have the moral duty to expose their children to organized religion and it’s many tenants. I’m sure that you are right in saying that those who don’t are also creating a belief system as well.
I chose to take my kids to church, mostly because I was young and that’s what my parents did. I brought my two surviving sons up in the Episcopal Church. How it all turned out was that one became an active Buddhist after originally being an alter boy and the other is an atheist after becoming an ordained Assembly of God Youth Pastor. That doesn’t bother me…they grew up and established their own paths and that’s their business.
Good for you for being curious and cautious…a great combination. If you have a college close by why don’t you take a course on The World’s Great Religions? Or there are some fine books, videos and DVDs on the subject. Make a study on your own and see what you come up with.
Man has traditionally been asking, “What’s It All About, Alfy?” since the beginning of time. We seek structure, purpose and protection. There are countless ways to do this. You have been given a structure of sorts because you were taught the values and beliefs of your parents. If you want more…don’t settle for less. Blessings, Luise