I Am A Secular Parent

People who know me quite well, know that I am far from religious. I am as close to atheism as you can be while still being unable to prove that there is nothing on the other side. Because I still have questions and people still don’t have definitive answers, I try to stay the balanced course. I can’t tell you god doesn’t exist but I can tell you that I believe in evolution and the big bang (you know, science). And I believe that teaching morals to promote faith in oneself, rather than something looming over your soul, judging your every move, is a much healthier frame of mind. Enter: my child.

Secular parenting books exist, no? Or some sort of resource? C’mon it is 2014. There are hover boards but no openly shared resource for secular parenting? Okay I have done a Google search…

There are quite a few resources but as I read I feel an overwhelming sense of shame, especially with sentences basically stating “we know it is hard.” Hard? Really? I don’t feel like my decision to be raise a non-religious family is a hard one. Nor am I ashamed of it. (This is the part where someone screams “Tell us how you really feel!” and I decline and move on for the sanity and respect of my readers.)

I think, although we are far off from making it a reality in my lifetime, that it will one day be accepted to just not believe. What is so hard about being proud that your child finds the strength within themselves, minus any “outside force”, to do something? What is so hard about teaching every religion’s story to your children so they understand the evolution of human experience? Religion is a very human virtue and I think that saying that they are all mythologies deters from the notion that one is right above all others. NO ONE can prove that beyond a reasonable doubt so why do we have a bunch of kids growing up with the thought that they are right, all opposed are wrong, and they have to fight about it. I know not everyone fights about it but seriously, there are enough people out there taking it to the extreme that the damage is already done. 

I catch myself when I have thoughts like this. I call myself naive. What the hell am I thinking telling people that respect and faith in yourself is all you need? Fear, paranoia, war, and faith in religion are all very big parts of humanity, the first three being extremely prevalent and detrimental. I can hope for a day when the future is brighter for people who just want happy lives NOW and not when they are dead. 

This is why I am proud of being a secular parent. In order to have a more tolerant future, we need to begin now with our little ones. 

I hope no one takes offense to this. It is simply my own testament and an invitation for people who feel the same to share in the conversation or talk to me personally.

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3 thoughts on “I Am A Secular Parent

  1. I have a feeling that some of those resources may need to be updated, because it is now easier to connect with secular communities. Maybe the allusion to the difficulty came from the past, where families or groups felt cast out due to the fact that they were surrounded by bigoted religious folk who believed that every word out of a non-religious person’s mouth was talk of the devil. But, it is 2014, and I digress…

    I also suspect that we as a society here in the States are becoming more secular at an increasing rate, simply because of the spread of knowledge that is easily accessible. It may only seem that we’re in the presence of uneducated, bigoted groups of people, simply because they happen to be more vocal, thus their presence is known.

  2. I’ve been meaning to write in response to this post for a while now, but there is just so much I have to say on this subject and it’s hard to put into words in a coherent way, though it all makes sense in my head. I have had epiphanies here and there and have jotted them down, but it’s kind of all over the place. But I’ll try to be as coherent as possible.
    My beliefs: God is energy, a creative force. Not some guy in the sky listening to your prayers, damning and punishing you for your sins. That’s not to say that prayers don’t matter, they are energy and any energy you put out there is “listened to” by the universe. I talk to “God” and try not to take things for granted and thank God/ the Universe/Energy for the things that I have, for close calls in which I know things could’ve gone very differently but didn’t…I try to take notice, and acknowledge it, and be thankful. To those who believe that we were put on this Earth as some kind of scientific experiment by an alien race and that “God” doesn’t care about us… that’s like the Native Americans thinking the Europeans were gods, or like saying that the scientists experimenting on lab rats are gods…they are NOT. I don’t know how we came to be and I don’t pretend to, but if it was by the latter, it doesn’t make them God, and it doesn’t make our existence meaningless. There are those who think that because the universe (or multiverse) is so vast, that in the grand scheme of things we are but specs, and life doesn’t matter. To that I say: the world is vast, we are specs in the grand scheme of things, but no life is meaningless. In the grandest of schemes what matters is our EXPERIENCE on this world (and by this world I mean EVERYTHING, not Earth or this universe, but everything that exists whether we know about it or not) mainly the love we feel and share, but it all matters, and I’ll tell you why: because it is through these experiences of infinite possibilities that we (and I don’t just mean us humans, I mean everything) appreciate the Oneness. I believe that EVERYTHING exists, good, bad, and everything in between, so that God/Energy/Nirvana/We can experience it. And that’s not to say, “so I can do what I want and not be punished” We should always strive to be good and kind and loving because that’s what will make our lives and the lives of those around us worthwhile NOW.
    I threw the word Nirvana in there so let me just share what I mean: Time doesn’t exist (we simply perceive it), everything that’s happened, is happening, and will happen simply IS, simultaneously…this simultaneous happening/being is what I believe the Buddhists meant by Nirvana.
    To those who cry out “Why, God, why?” when tragedy strikes (myself included), to those who hate God and argue “Why would an almighty, all knowing, all loving God allow this to happen?”, “If He is Almighty and allows these things to happen, He must not care”, I say: God is not a person. He/She/It is pure energy, a creative force. When tragedy strikes it is due to natural disaster or human stupidity, poor choices, desperation, etc. No reason to hate on God for those things. Yes, it’s terrible, but there is no one to blame except perhaps whatever individual (or group of people) who decided to commit whatever atrocity…and in some cases, it is people’s BELIEF in God and their warped sense of superiority that is to blame for such atrocities. Not “God.”
    I can go on, but that’s the gist of it.
    These are my beliefs and I do not condemn anyone who does not believe.
    – Tati

    • Tatiana, I can definitely agree that what you believe could most certainly be true. There is science to back a lot of what you are saying. That is where I started and now I am just at peace with this idea that today is today, tomorrow will be if wake up to see it, and I have to make the most of the happy things in my life. And just be a good person! I like to joke that the only sin is stupidity because if you are stupid enough, you can think “Yeah I will kill this person for money” or “I wonder if I can grab that lady’s purse.”
      I feel like teaching Scarlett to be a good person without having to attach anything to it is the best that I can give. I don’t want to invoke gods or books or anything when I am simply trying to teach her respect, which should go without saying. And I never get angry at God anymore. I used to. Now, I feel like if he is there, he certainly isn’t paying attention to us.
      I totally respect religion. In the mythical sense, it is a rather comforting concept instead of thinking we are all alone out here. And if it is taught right, it can be a decent moral code for those who feel like they need a push in order to get through to their children. But it has become so misused, and that’s fine too (you want to be Fred Phelps, I suppose that is your right, it is awful what you are doing, but I can’t tell you not to), except when it involves other people, like with government or public schools. Anything that is public and influences policy does not need religion in it at all. Religion is not meant for it but has become so entangled in it.
      Thanks for responding! 🙂 Your thoughts are always welcome!

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