Posted by: Hope | February 7, 2008

Parents Religion, or Yours?

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.

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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.

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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.

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    Responses

    1. *cough cough*

      HOODWINKED πŸ˜‰

    2. Of course, his responding answer is most probably “yes”. But that’s not quite the point of answering the question in the first place. The point of asking the question is: do you have any better reason of believing than you were told to believe?

      In my opinion, all parents, really, should encourage their children to question their beliefs, to ensure that they do have good reasons for believing what they believe. If, by contrast, a parent attempts to present their own beliefs as morally good to their children, or as being true without explanation, is to lock that child in a shell of ignorance. But this makes a child of an atheist no less likely to embrace atheism, as it is only atheism that can withstand open and thorough questioning and not crumble.

    3. Hope, this may be a bit off topic, but I have a question for you…

      If you are an atheist now, do you believe you were ever really a Christian?

      Just wanna hear your thoughts on this.

    4. Cassidy: In short? Yes, I do feel that I was once “really” a Christian. And trust me, I’ve asked myself this many times. And do I feel as though those years of my life were a huge waste of time? I’m sure it’s debatable, but in the long run…no. A lot of my experiences made me into the person I am today.

      Maybe I’ll write a blog on this sometime soon.

    5. Yes, it would make for a good blog entry!

      To let you know why I was curious…

      I have a close cousin who was “accepted Jesus in his heart” at six. Then around the teen years he started having doubts about his beliefs and he has changed them quite frequently for the past five years.

      Christian. Then Atheist. Then Pentacostal. Then New Ager.Then Agnostic. Then…(well, I don’t know what to call it, but he followed the Old Testament laws as literal as possible). Now he’s back to realizing his need for the grace of God…and he’s Christian. πŸ™‚

      If that explains my curiosity.

    6. Well, the end of your cousins story could maybe sound similar to mine, but not the beginning. I got “saved” at the beginning of my teen years. And of course, like all teenagers, I found myself making a lot of stupid mistakes. But nonetheless I was a pretty hardcore Christian…I witnessed to people all of the time. There are people that know me now that knew me then and are shocked to hear that I’m no longer a Christian because its ALL I used to talk about.

      I’m not saying that automatically makes it to where I was a “true” Christian, but I’m just making a point. As I said, I’ll try to explain in a blog why I feel I was once a ‘true’ Christian…it would take far too many words than that which is acceptable in a comment post.

      Anyways–I’ve been back and forth between Christianity and Agnostic/Atheism for a long time now. I feel that my lack of belief is based off of good, strong logic. But am I open to concepts still? Surely!

      Hear from ya soon.


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