Organized religion has always been a hard idea for me. I get why it exists, how it can fill a persons life with hope and community and a deep connection to something larger than a single soul. I get that. But I've also seen a lot of ugly things done in the name of religion by people who are not at all thinking "What Would Jesus DO" despite the bumper sticker on their car claiming they would care. I also don't understand the bitter intolerance of anyone with a belief that differs from your own. Your morals, beliefs, and/or soul is not jeopardized by what my morals, beliefs and/or soul is up to. No, really. I promise.
God I get. I can get on board with the idea of God, though have trouble defining what s/he does and/or cares about (probably not who wins the Superbowl). Jesus I can't fully buy. I like the idea of Jesus, but I just can't buy the ticket that claims him the literal son of God. Prophet? Yes. Amazing man who changed the world? Without question. But Mary and God making a baby? Nope. Can't buy it. And I'm OK with that. It cracks me up how often people assume I'm a "Christian" just because I was raised as one and apparently reflect many of the morals and ideals. But Christians don't have a monopoly on morals and ideals and since I don't believe in the whole Christ thing, it would be deeply inaccurate to call me a Christian.
My girls go to church with their Grandma whenever they sleep over at her place. And I'm totally cool with that. I don't think they need to be protected from Christianity; I harbor no ill feeling towards the concept. But it does make for interesting conversations with those beautiful daughters of mine. Today, Lily asked me, "If everyone in the world died, would God die too?"
"That is an excellent question," I replied. "Well, some people believe God is a construct... something people made up. They would say that if there were no people to believe in God, maybe God wouldn't exist. Others believe that God was here long before us and therefore, will be here long after. It's a 'was, is, always will be' kind of thinking. What do you think?"
She mulled it over for a moment and then replied, "I think God will always be here." Then she asked me if animals believed in God but we got distracted and I never got to answer her.
It amazes me, watching her set up her belief system. While I want them to understand what I believe, I think what they come up with is so much more interesting. I want them to find their own path. Would I like for them to think like me? I don't know, it might make things easier. But ultimately, I'd like to believe in them enough to allow them to come to their own conclusions.
How do you discuss religion with your wee ones? I'm really curious to know.