- 5 years ago
- Wedding: July 2010
I have struggled with my faith sometimes. I consider myself as liberal in every way as you can possibly be and still consider yourself a practiciing Catholic. I disagree with the church on several important issues and feel strongly that women need to be ordained ASAP. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools through high school. It was a good experience and a good childhood, but not one that I think I will be able to or even want to replicate for my own child. Catholic schools in my area are way more expensive than they were where I grew up, and offer fewer scholarships and supports. When I was a kid, I remember singing songs and reading from a picture bible and having brief ambitions toward sainthood after reading a Children’s Lives of the Saints with beautiful pictures of the virgin martyrs. I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable putting those things in my own kid’s hands though. They seem like remnants of a more parochial, even medieval faith, one that is no longer relevant to me. Also, my husband is not Catholic. He calls himself a Deist, and has agreed to raise our children Catholic because it was an early dealbreaker for me.
I’m having a baby boy in May, so these are mostly issues that won’t come up for years, but I’m thinking about them now because that’s the kind of person I am, and because this might come up in baptism preparation.
When I think about sending my kid to Bible school or the parish school of religion or reading Bible stories with him, or even praying with him, I feel uncomfortable. I don’t want my kid to be indoctrinated the way I was, but I want him to learn to be a critical thinker and to question everything. I don’t want him to come home from a class talking about some Bible story like it’s literal truth when I don’t believe it’s true. For example, if a 3 or 4 year old hears about Adam and Eve at Bible school, how do you explain that it’s just a myth and human beings evolved over millions of years, but God guided the process? That is way too complicated for a 3 or 4 year old to understand, but are the only alternatives teaching him fairy tales or completely putting off his religious education until he can understand more complicated things? I want him to have a rich and complex faith life like mine is now, but I know that communicating my faith to a child will be hard if not impossible because he just won’t be developmentally ready to begin to understand the difference between literal truth and mythology and faith. I want him to know the Bible the way that I do, but more for the sake of cultural literacy than for any other reason. I want him to participate in the sacraments and the life of the church community, but I want him to make his own decisions about what to believe. I want him to know about the dark side of the church’s history and about my own objections to some of the church’s doctrines. I hope this makes some sense.
Does anyone else have experience with this kind of ambivalence about faith? How have you dealt with it? How can you raise a kid to be a person of faith, and also a person who thinks? Did this issue cause conflict with your priest during baptism prep?