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ramdom thoughts on religion
molly read an article about camp quest, a camp for kids. it teaches them to be atheists, is how she words it the first time. she says she's sending all her kids there. i tell her if i had kids, i probably wouldn't, because i don't think it's any wiser to teach them to be atheists than it is to teach them to be christians. you shouldn't decide what they believe.
then she corrects herself, and says it doesn't teach them to be atheists as much as it teaches them to think freely, and to question things, instead of blindly accepting. people are born atheists, and over time, most of them end up programmed with the same religion as their parents. this camp de-programs them.
i don't understand why a religious parent would send their child to a de-programming camp, and i don't understand why a non-religious parent's child would need de-programming. obviously, i need to read the article, but it's at aaron's now...
all that aside, though, it got me thinking about what i would teach my kids. really, i don't plan on having kids, so i'm more thinking in general terms... what's the ideal way to raise kids?
molly says you should probably not tell them what you believe, because they'll believe it too. you should just present them with all the options, and let them decide what they believe, that way they'll be happy.
first of all, 'all the options' is a vague phrase, but how many religions are there in the world? i think it would be nearly impossible to present your kids with every religion, and have them still be listening by the time you were done.
and secondly, what kid is going to be able to make that decision? i'm 21 years old, and just knowing that i have the option to be a christian or an atheist has left me confused, and stuck in between. how are kids supposed to figure out what they believe?
i tell her that i think if you did that, your kids would just wind up confused and stuck in between, not believing in god, and not not believing.
she says, 'agnostic.'
in her mind, if you can slap a label on it, that makes it ok, i guess. but to me, the middle isn't an ok place to be. i'm not content knowing that i don't know. i would rather pick one to believe, and then believe it, even if i was wrong, because i wouldn't know i was wrong. either there is a god or there isn't a god; there's no in between. not knowing is the wrong answer.
i think if i had kids, i would raise them as christians. i would suck up all my disbelief, and teach them about jesus and god and how they care for you no matter what. i would teach them that god's always watching, and that no matter how awful your life seems, god's up there, making sure that you never get more than you can handle. those are comforting thoughts. even if it's a lie, there's no harm in it. it's just like santa claus... you won't find many people arguing that telling kids about santa is a bad thing to do, even though everybody knows santa's a lie. it makes kids happy, and eventually, you tell them the truth, and there's no harm done.
but what if you don't tell them the truth? they figure it out, eventually. or if they don't, they at least realize that there's a question. they'll ask you 'is there really a santa claus?,' and then you choose to lie or tell the truth, but at least the child has realized that there are other possiblities, besides the one you've taught them.
what i don't understand about religion, even now, is how anybody can reach the point where they realize that there are other possibilities, and then turn around and pick one and believe it. to me, once you've realized that there are other options, you can't go back. you're not naive anymore... you can't just blindly follow any longer... once the question is raised, you need an answer, and i don't see how anybody can get that answer. ask an atheist to prove that god doesn't exist, and they can't do it. ask a christian to prove that god exists, and they can't do it either. but they'll tell you all about reasons they have to believe that he does exist, and they'll tell you that they feel it, and that they know it's true, and from their point of view, they're telling the truth. but ask the atheist next door, and he'll tell you that he knows the opposite is true. take an omniscent viewpoint, and somebody's telling a lie... but neither the atheist nor the christian have any doubt that they're right... and if they've ever really thought about it, and considered the other possibility, i don't understand how they can still be convinced that they're right.

so me? i'm stuck in the middle, waiting for proof that won't come while i'm still living. but i wouldn't want this for my kids. for them? i don't know. i don't see a solution. to me, whether you teach them to be atheists, or teach them to be christians, or teach them to think for themselves, you'll wind up with the same outcome... but obviously, the rest of the world isn't like me, and maybe my kids won't be like me either... especially since i don't intend to have kids...

my mom is lecturing me on getting a good internship next summer and molly's not even here to listen to me complain...