Saturday, 14 January 2012

Standing Back

I’m very careful not to impose my worldview onto my children. Sometimes this is very hard. Example; my eldest goes to a church group run by a lovely couple, and during one session the Genesis flood was discussed as though it were a historical event rather than one of many flood myths. Happily, Holly already has an understanding of how the world came to be, and whilst she remains open minded on the God question I sense she is already applying a good dose of critical thinking to her worldview. Not so with Lowenna, who at aged 7 is still something of a sponge. And this is the problem. I don’t want to deny her the opportunity to learn about religion; in fact I’m of the view that if we taught comparative religion to kids they would get to see just how many people believe mutually incompatible things about reality. Thing is, I do get a bit uneasy when I hear my kids being taught that Genesis has any contribution to make to history; why should they be victims of adult ignorance on this point? It seems unfair somehow, yet I have allowed it to pass. I guess I just need to trust that at some point they will keep asking the big questions and figure things out, but it does worry me that if kids are drenched in mistruth from an early age it takes on a credibility that it doesn’t have to those who have been more fortunate. I suppose childhood indoctrination is what helps to grease the wheels that sustain belief into adulthood. If you’re born and raised in this culture it becomes a very important part of who you are and how you see the world. And at the end of the day religion for most adults is a benign and largely positive influence, providing a lens through which to see the world and offering comfort when the storms of life blast through. And we’re never far from the next storm, are we?


  1. I've been through this with Charlie (he was just eight last month).

    What I don't like is that Christianity in particular is taught as though it's fact. There seems to be no encouragement of discussion or open-mindedness. All I/we can do is encourage our children to question everything, and to think for themselves. Inevitably Charlie will say, "but what do YOU believe?" And I choose my words carefully. I have made it clear that he can believe whatever is right for him, and I won't judge him for it. But I have also (I hope)made it clear that it's a total folly to believe blindly and without question. Some children at school told him he would go to hell if he doesn't believe in the bible. He asked them if they'd even read it! I was proud of his way of thinking.

  2. Hello Alice. I totally agree with the way you're going about things. It really is a balancing act.