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Help Me Pick My Kid's Religion

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The holidays are right around the corner -- which one's best for my child?

toddler girl with religious symbols

Momlogic's Andrea: I'm in BIG trouble. Thanksgiving is over and Christmas and Hanukkah are just weeks away. And no, I'm not stressing because I haven't bought my holiday cards or started my shopping. I'm freaking because I haven't picked my daughter's religion. Since my husband and I are both agnostic, we know it's only a matter of time before we either have to go back to our religious roots (I was raised Jewish and he was raised Catholic) or start explaining to our three-year-old we don't believe in God.

Time's running out. She's starting to catch on to the whole Christmas thing. She bumped into Mr. Claus at the mall yesterday and called him by his first name.

Why would we be considering a religion for our child if we ourselves don't believe in one? We don't want to impose our religious -- er, non-religious beliefs on our child. My husband and I both came to our own conclusions at an early age. Shouldn't we give her the chance to at least reject religion just like mom and dad? We don't want to be a hypocritical and teach her things we don't believe in -- but at the same time we want to give her a chance to join in on  at least some form of holiday celebration. But if we let her sit on Santa's lap are we indirectly  embracing Christianity? Then why not just dabble in a bunch of different religions? I hear Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism are popular ones. Maybe we should give those a shot.

The truth is my husband and I believe there are valuable aspects to almost all religions, we just don't buy into one -- but for our daughter's sake is it time for us to find God ... any God, quick?


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33 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ash March 31, 2009, 5:28 AM

Wow- can’t wait or me and my hubby’s kids to be born. I’m an Electic Wiccan and he’s Apostolic. Trying to explain why Daddy worships a God and Mommy Worships a God and Goddess is going to be fun. I agree with many other poster. Let your child experince all diffrent religons. Just don’t go into the crazier ones. While some cults are harmless, some just go aginst every human norm out there.

Anonymous April 25, 2009, 7:55 AM

I think you’re really brave to write this article, and it speaks to what’s happening in our society. At the end of the day, there is no ‘best’ religion and your kids will benefit from your concern and caring for their spiritual well-being and about “doing the ‘right’ thing.” Good luck and just know your kids will turn out fine no matter what religion you choose as long as your good intentions are there.

Bearie June 5, 2009, 10:42 PM

My sister is Christian by faith, but she has never really attended church except when her extended in-laws go for a Christmas or Easter service. My brother in law does not believe in God, and that is his business, but one day he started expressing his non-belief in a sort of scary way in front of the kids. He said there was not God, but that the earth was destinted for a future hell like state on earth.

Usually I do not impose my views on my sister, but I asked her what she thought about him telling their kids that sort of dismal message. I know many atheists who are positive people, but unfortunately my brother in law is not one.

My sister decided to let her kids go to youth group with their neighbors so they can make up their mind about religion for themselves. I like how you are doing the same thing for your daughter.

I respect people who allow their kids to decide rather than just telling them what to believe.

AMac November 19, 2009, 11:45 PM

Can’t anyone else tell that this is a bit of a joke? I just like that everyone responded so seriously to a clearly satirical question…

Reuben November 19, 2009, 11:58 PM

If I was making that decision, I’d be totally transparent to my child and always be open to objective, open, and rational discussions about the topic.

I certainly wouldn’t lie to them.

The benefits the child would get from this far out-weigh the negatives they might get from any non-paricipation…

…right?

Anonymous November 20, 2009, 12:05 AM

Why do you have to have a religious faith to celebrate christmas? It is common knowledge that Jesus was not in fact born on December 25th and Christmas is the remnants of an old european pagan holiday. The modern day christmas is just an excuse to buy friends and family presents and spend quality time together.

Sara November 20, 2009, 5:33 AM

Reading your column was like looking inside my head a year ago! My daughter was getting old enough to be cognisant of the world around her, neither my husband nor I really liked the idea of religion, but we wanted to at least give her a basic understanding so that she could make an educated choice for herself when the time came. We toyed with the idea of taking her to all different churches, but decided we’d wait to do that until she’s older since it would be too confusing for a toddler. We visited lots of places, found a church where we were comfortable (even if we’re not 100% there ourselves with all of the beliefs…and honestly few people truly are) and when our daughter is older we’ll make sure to take her to temples, mosques, synagogues etc. so that she can make a decision for herself.

Anonymous December 2, 2009, 7:40 PM

whether or not your child is “asking” about a creator does not relieve you- the parent of your responsibility to instruct. your creator expects this of parents and says so in his word.In the hands of a skilled potter, clay can be transformed into a beautiful object.Shaping and molding the personality and character of a child can be much like that Artisan creating a beautiful piece of pottery.The task given to parents by the creator to transform their child into a responsible, balanced adult is no easy task and should not be left up to chance.Because children are often influenced by what they see more so than what they hear- if you plan to say one thing to them but do the opposite- they will know the difference.what i find most interesting is that evidence shows that within the ancestral heritage of both these parents is that it was the responsiblity of the parents to instruct them about their creator. example: Deut.39:12 and even in Christs’ day it was their responsibility to teach about the creator.As far as teahing your child about hoiday celebrations depend on if you want them to believe truth or falsehoods. none of the so-called religious holidays of today really have anything to do with true worship or honoring God at all. Do the research see for yourself, allow yourself to make an informed decision based on all the facts.

Garett January 5, 2010, 10:16 PM

I would do what my mom did, which in my eyes was the only ethical thing to do. She didn’t push her agnosticism on me at all and I went to Kindergarden without any religion whatsoever. I live in a conservative area, so other children regurgitated what their parents had told them. I naturally asked her what she thought about this whole Jesus and God thing and she gave me a straight answer appropriate for an agnostic. Telling your child that it isn’t yet certain how we got here is the only honest answer, anything else is what I would call theory. Let your child either adopt some theory or share your perspective.

Garett January 5, 2010, 10:20 PM

On another note, I would recommend strongly against having them watch something like Veggietales. It will have them zealously praising Jesus in minutes.
I suggest exposing them not to different religions but to -gasp- history!

jj22 March 13, 2010, 10:55 AM

i feel sorry for that kid with loser parents like you!

Heather December 4, 2010, 7:05 PM

Wow. Why? Why were the both of you raised in such strong religions, only to back away from it all? If you’ve backed away, why is it now important for you child to not do the same? Maybe you do believe. You just need to find your right path. Every denomination/faith/religion is different, but we all have one thing in common: There is a God. Maybe the traditional life of Catholics (which is what we are) and the Jewish are too much. Maybe you need to start with a non-denominational church. Try a few and see what all of you like. But, dont pick a holiday for the heck of it. Have a meaning behind it. You can’t do Christmas without CHRIST.

Christine December 6, 2010, 3:57 PM

If religion isn’t important to you, why worry about it? Teaching your child compassion and a heart for service is more important than any religious dogma. Every religion thinks it’s the only ‘correct’ one. Why box your kid into one way of thinking? Teach your child to be a good person and make your own holiday traditions.


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