The effect a parent has on a child is outstanding. Children pick up a lot of their traits from their parents, and a main “trait” is definitely their religious views.
Last night I got into another discussion with my boyfriend about religion. We mostly talked about Mormonism and its beliefs. I found myself asking a lot of questions, a lot of questions he didn’t seem capable of answering. I couldn’t tell if I was annoying him, offending him, or making him feel bad for not being able to answer. There was a few things that I said that probably came off as a bit demeaning, but surely it was not my intentions. But with all of the aside, I remember asking him a specific question. This question was based off of the things he continually says. He always refers to his parents when discussing his religion. I find this fairly intriguing. Why? Well, I feel it shows that his views are solely formed because it is what his parents grew up teaching and training him to believe.
What question did I ask?
It was fairly similar to this:
- “If you were not born into a family that believed in Mormonism, do you feel that it is what you would believe now?”
His answer was of course what I expected, but I feel that the question…though he answered it quickly and with a reason why…made him think a bit more about what he believes and why he believes it. Could I be wrong? Sure, but I do feel that if he was not born into a Mormon home, he would not be a Mormon. He simply would not understand the concepts and have any real reason to believe in it. I feel that one of the main reasons he tries so hard with his religion, is to make his parents happy.
Obviously my speculations could be a bit off, and surely I am open to that concept. But is it not that case that when a person is born into a home of a certain religion they are almost always that religion? There are surely the rare occasions, but at least for the first 15 years of a child’s life they are almost always the same religion as their parents.
And with that, came an interesting question from John.
He asked me the same question, but with a twist:
- “If you were born into an ATHEIST family, do you think you would still be an atheist?”
My response was pretty long and drawn out. But for the most part I said that I didn’t know and that I thought that, for the most part, it was kind of different. How so? Well…I feel that atheist parents wouldn’t push their religion (ha, thats if you consider atheism a “religion” but lets avoid semantics here), or any religion for that case. I guess I can’t speak for others, but for me and my children? I’m going to allow them to choose their own religion. If they have questions for me, surely I will answer with my best of ability, but I feel that religion should be a choice for each person, and not something that parents put on their kids. So for the most part I feel that if I was born into an Atheist family I would still be an Atheist. However, I don’t feel that it would alter any of the religious “experiences” of mine. I feel that I would still have been a Christian, and have gone through the same stuff. So would it alter anything? Nah, I don’t think so. But if I had been born into a Mormon home, or a very devout Christian home, or maybe even a Muslim home—I’d most likely be that religion. Why? Well, I’d have been trained and taught to think in their terms…once taught that…very rarely would you change.
So to conclude, I don’t have much of a point….or do I? You tell me.