Though my kids may be devilish at times, I am pretty convinced they are not actually destined for hell. However, the daily church advertisements in my mailbox are doing their best to convince me otherwise. I have never lived in a place where religion is so prevalent, where everyone I meet is a church goer. It's slightly unnerving how much a part of the fabric of daily life it is here.
Unnerving for me because we are not religious. At least that is the whitewash answer I give to people when they ask what church we attend. The starker, real answer is that I am an atheist, my husband is an atheist leaning agnostic, and we are raising our kids without religion.
We, the parents i know both in real life and online, talk a lot about not losing themselves in parenthood and I agree. And that is why I can't be anything than who I am with religion. It is not a choice for me not to believe; it just is who I am. And while I will not lead the girls down my own path I can not send them down one I am not on. I can not lie to them about something as important as this.
My husband and I have discussed at length (raise them Catholic? Attend the Unitarian church? Wait and see?) but we keep coming back to not having it be a part of their lives, at least for the foreseeable future. It is the right choice for us but a small part of me worries that it will negatively impact them, make them the ultimate outsider. Out of all of the alternative parenting choices we make, this is definitely the most unusual.
But then what can we be sure about as parents? We try everyday to create the lives we want for them, better than our own, but we in the end we can not control what will happen to them. They have to and will make their own choices about where to go, about who they will become.
What they chose will be theirs. It's not that I don't want them to ever be religious. I had a positive upbringing in it (raised Catolic) and being an atheist can be a lonely path, no church and its community. No prayer to turn to. So I will support whatever they chose. And I will know that it is an authentic choice because it was theirs to make.