Posts Tagged ‘Parenting Beyond Belief’

I haven’t been doing so hot on this month’s resolution.  Maybe that’s not entirely true.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, but not a lot of acting.  A resolution regarding spirituality – and my complicated relationship with it – just can’t be contained in a one-month serving, I’ve discovered.  But some good has come out of the month so far:  I have a better understanding of and respect for Unitarian Universalism; I realize that my aversion to attending a service of any kind (even Unitarian, for Pete’s sake) is deep, deep, deep; I find spirituality in nature, my kids, a fine line of prose, art, food, music that lifts me out of my self, love, and friendship (but don’t most people?); and I am trying to embrace the word atheist.  It’s a hard word to embrace.  Not at all cuddly.  In fact, it’s rather strident.  Atheist.  The word sounds confrontational to me, so I have lived closeted for the most part, only revealing the A-word when I feel close to a friend, when I feel trust.  But the truth is that in attending only one UU service, I still felt not-at-home both in the environment and with myself.  Even though I was assured that many congregants considered themselves Atheists or agnostics, I still felt like I wasn’t listening to myself.  Until last night.

Last night, my husband and I watched a recording of The Daily Show from a few nights back and the always hilarious and imprudent Ricky Gervais was on.  We love Gervais in unhealthy heaps, because he has a fuck-all attitude.  Nothing is sacred, and yet Gervais isn’t as mean-spirited as David Cross or as crude as Sarah Silverman.  I think it’s his goofy grin and maniacal laugh that make him more endearing.  That and his awkwardness.  Anyhoo, Gervais stayed late on the show to share his Easter card (on the show, it was just the photo of Gervais crucified with a microphone in one hand and with the word “atheist” emblazoned on his bare chest, but this link takes you to the WSJ article he published WITH said photo).  Something clicked when I saw the photo and listened to Gervais talk.  He did not, let me just say, disparage any religions, but he was dead-on funny about his personal belief system.  It was a relief to laugh with him.

Tonight, while at the library with my daughter, I remembered a message I received on FB from a neighbor who read my blog.  He referred me to several books and websites for skeptics and strangely I found that he had written me another message that I had failed to find 2 weeks ago.  He recommended a book edited by Dale McGowan called Parenting Beyond Belief (this is McGowan’s website of the same name).

Dale McGowan's books

The library had it.  I borrowed it.  Everyone from Richard Dawkins to Julia Sweeney to Penn Jillette have contributed to this anthology.  I’ve already read Sweeney and Dawkins and I’m moved by their honesty and compassion.  Perhaps I can do this.  I can raise my kids with the values I hold dear without subjecting them to a religious education.  I will answer their questions honestly and I hope that both of them will choose to follow or not follow a religious path without the pressure of my own beliefs.  It’s not the easy way to do it.  My parents always told me I made things harder than I had to.


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