Post # 1
- Wedding: August 2020 - Hampton, VA
My boyfriend and I had a really good talk last night regarding a few subjects that he wanted us to sort out before we get engaged. We are very much on the same page when it comes to a family plan, financials, business, values, etc.
The one thing we differ on is what kind of belief system to help guide our children. We are not religious at all. I do, however, have spiritual beliefs that I’ve built up over a couple decades of research and thinking and experiences. I’m okay with just not having all the answers to the universe. He really wants to find somewhere to land and that’s perfectly okay; I get it.
I want to help him understand my beliefs but I don’t think that it’s possible to just suddenly “believe” in something just because it’s what someone else laid down as right vs wrong.
Was this something you had in your family? Do you think it helped you or set you back in anyway to have one specific family spiritual belief system? Is it something you plan on doing or are doing with your own children? Are you open to letting them kind of figure things out themselves?
This isn’t a dealbreaker for us – he just wants to have something we can agree on to help guide our children when they start asking questions and it’s made me curious about other families.
Post # 2
I guess I don’t really understand what you mean by “core belief system” if you don’t mean religion. I grew up completely without religion and I don’t think we had a “core belief system.” We were just taught to be good people and treat others well.
Post # 3
My family are not religious or spiritual, my parents are atheist, with my mum sometimes leaning towards agnostic. They keep their beliefs to themselves and have never put any importance on spirituality or religion.
As a child I just wasn’t taught anything spiritual or religious by them either way, as in they didn’t tell me there wasn’t a god and they didn’t tell me there was. They raised me to question and come to my own conclusions and I personally think that’s a much healthier way to raise children than pushing your own beliefs onto them.
I don’t think it’s at all necessary to have a “family belief system”. I never felt as though my childhood was lacking or I’ve been disadvantaged in anyway by my parents not trying to teach me to believe or not believe in something. In fact I really value the freedom they gave me to come to my own conclusions without any pressure or input from themselves.
Post # 4
Interesting question. As an adult, I am an atheist and not spiritual at all. I find the mythology and lore of religion very interesting, but I don’t see it as anything more than stories and cultural traditions.
Growing up, we were pretty secular, though my family as technically Catholic. I was never baptized and never attended church, but I do remember being told that Jesus died for our sins and having no idea what the hell that meant. God, for me, was more of a Santa Claus-type figure. A reason to always be good because he’s watching. I remember being told about heaven and hell, but it’s really not something that I thought about a lot. God was never a big subject of discussion, just something occasionally mentioned in passing. I went to a Catholic high school and that’s where I learned much more about the teachings of the church, but by then I was old enough to understand and form my own opinions. That is when I decided that I didn’t believe in any of it.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up in an extremely religious evangelical household. Church all the time, God in pretty much every conversation, speaking in tongues, the works. He was never really given the opportunity to explore anything different until he left and joined the military. Ultimately, he decided that he didn’t believe any of it either. This is a point of contention within his family.
I think children/young adults should have the freedom to explore different believe systems. As far as core values go, teaching a child to be a good person doesn’t require any religion or spirituality. I think it gets a little complicated when death and afterlife come into play, but I still think that you can teach a kid that nobody really knows, but many people believe different things and let them figure out what they want to believe. This may change as they mature as well.
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2020 - Hampton, VA
Yes to all of your responses.
I wasn’t raised with a specific religion in our household. At 7 years old, I began researching religions because it intrigued me. I was just interested. I believe this is the healthiest way to learn something; you find out people believe in stuff you haven’t heard about, so you go learn about it on your own.. It’s not forced or this way vs that way.
What my point last night regarding this was, religion to me just isn’t real. It’s very much tradition and culture. We can have core values as a family, but I don’t know that we will have a core belief system. It ended with him siding with me for the most part. I was confused by what he wanted in a “core beliefe system” too. He was really concerned that we wouldn’t be guiding our children correctly and we would just confuse them.
When kids ask about death and afterlife or hear about God from friends or whatever, then we can tell them we kind of think a because of b but lots of people think x, y, and z. We just won’t know until we get there, and that’s okay.
I don’t know that he’s as open to the freedom of choice and knowledge as me.
Post # 6
I’m an atheist and grew up in a secular home. My mother is Catholic but wanted us to make our own decisions regarding religion/spirituality. My stepdad was raised by his Catholic mom and Jewish dad but doesn’t practice either religion. So I guess we didn’t have a “core belief system.” We definitely had core values and an expectation as far as morals, ethics, and behavior went. My SO is Catholic in his beliefs but doesn’t attend church, we will likely raise our children in the same manner I was raised.
Post # 7
My family was never religious but we do believe in God and that was our belief system. My fiancé grew up Presbyterian, but is an atheist now. We both agree that we will let our children decide as to what they will want to believe in as long as they respect others’ religions and point of views.
Post # 8
My mom was raised religious, but by the time she had us kids she didn’t believe in any specific religion anymore, she was just very spiritual. She never really taughts us anything about religion or spirituality as in “this is the truth, if someone tells you differently they are misguided, etc.” If we heard something at school or from friends or wherever, we’d ask her about it. For instance, if we said, “Mom, is there a God?” She’d say something like, “Hmm… I don’t know if I believe there is a God exactly, but I do think there’s more out there.” And we’d ask follow up questions and she’d do her best to explain what she meant, etc. She’d always frame it as “this is what I believe, but I’m not pushing you to believe the same.” She always wanted to make our own decisions, which I always appreciated. That’s how we are going to raise our kids as well. Tell them what we believe, what others believe, answer their questions as best we can, and leave them to form their own opinions as they grow.
Personally, I believe that children should be able to form their own beliefs as they grow up. It’s okay for them to not be sure what beliefs they should hold, because it teaches them to have an inquiring mind. They’ll develop their own beliefs as they grow. This is my viewpoint, as someone who is not religious at all. I totally understand that some people are religious and it is important to pass on their religion to their children. But you said you weren’t religious either so I figured I’d give you my perspective as a person who is also not religious.
Post # 9
I grew up in a non-religious household that celebrated secular versions of Christian holidays. My dad was raised atheist and my mom was raised Catholic… but then became a hippie lol.
I would not say we had a core belief system, per se. When I started learning about religion in school (in an academic way) my mom said it was something I could explore if I wanted, so I’m sure she would have taken me to a religious service if I had asked. My older brother went to catholic school in sixth grade and I believe considered becoming religious, but I think that was largely to fit in.
Unsurprisingly, my parents are both very liberal, so I guess you could say we were raised with progressive values? And for what it’s worth, I feel I have a pretty strong moral compass. Also, neither my brother nor I really rebelled as teenagers. I don’t know if that’s just who we are as people or if we had nothing to rebel against.
No offense to those who are happy with their religious upbringing, but I have a lot of friends who have left the religion of their parents, and seeing the toll that’s taken on them and their family relationships has made me very grateful that it wasn’t a part of my life.
I have no idea if any of this actually helps with your question.
Post # 10
I was raised in a Christian home, experienced my own conviction and identify as Christian. My honey does not. He identifies as agnostic. We are both very spiritual people. But for him, he questions all spirituality. This is something I learned to do. We intend to raise our childen with some exposure to a church with traditional teachings. Ultimately, though, we intend to raise little philosophers who grow into big philosophers. It wasn’t until philosophy intersected with my faith that I was able to claim it. While I believe that faith in Jesus is paramount, I would call philosophy a close second. It is questioning that leads to faith, and I do not want my children to blindly follow anything. As long as I know that they make their decisions and form beliefs and opinions after exploration, then I’ll be happy as a clam.
Post # 11
I was raised Lutheran and converted to Islam in college. My partner was raised Catholic and attended his entire primary and secondary education in a Catholic school. Now we’re both atheist. We celebrate Christmas as a social holiday, eat Sunday brunch with our parents, and attend church politely when we’re asked. We’re not planning on having kids, but if we did, I would absolutely not raise them in any religion, have them baptized, or take them to church. You can pass on morals to your kids without a religious belief system.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2020 - Hampton, VA
All of your input is so satisfying to read. I love exploring this subject with people.
Thank you for your responses so far!
Post # 13
Nope, we didn’t have anything set in stone outside of,
“Do the right thing and be a good person because it’s the right thing to do.”