Why I Don’t Want Religion in My Son’s Life

I don’t believe in God. And I don’t want my son to believe either.

MJ is Catholic. Well, kinda Catholic. She’s pro-choice, a proponent of gay marriage, a feminist and very much against condoning the rape of small boys. The Catholic church — if you haven’t heard — is anti-choice, against equality for gay people, prohibits women from becoming priests and had juuuuuuuust a little problem with pedophile priests and those in positions of power who shamefully and unforgivably covered up for them. But even in the face of all that contradiction, she still considers herself a staunch Catholic.

So what do you get when you combine an Atheist and a Catholic? So far the answer is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed precocious question mark.

We argued briefly after Will was born about baptizing him. It never happened. Now he’s 4.5 years old and he’s been to a handful of church services with MJ and my parents, but he doesn’t go regularly. That’s why the events of two weeks ago took me and MJ both by surprise.

MJ was putting Will to bed, which usually consists of 1-2 bedtime stories and then she comes downstairs. I was working on the couch when I realized I hadn’t seen MJ in 25 minutes. She came down the stairs just then and when I asked her what was up, she said “Will asked about God when I put him to bed, so we were up there talking.”

My first reaction was shock. Mainly because, to my knowledge, none of us had really talked about God before to him so I wondered how he even knew to ask. But shock was immediately overwhelmed by red-hot anger at MJ. I asked her why she didn’t tell me to which she replied “Because I knew what you’d tell him.” Apparently it’s OK for her to fill his head about Catholicism and religion, but I’m the bad guy if I talk about my beliefs (or lack thereof).

So I bolted up the stairs with MJ in tow to have my first talk about religion and God.

I started off easy and told him I heard he asked about God. Turns out there are some kids in his preschool who are starting early church classes and they were talking about it, which is how it came up in the first place. So I asked Will if he understood what his mom had told him. He said yes. Then I asked him if he had any other questions. And he asked me if I believe in God like mom does. This is how the conversation went:

“Well bud, the answer is no. I don’t believe in God.”

“Why dada?”

“Because I went to church for a long time when I was younger, and I decided I didn’t believe it. Mom believes there’s someone living in the clouds watching us all the time and deciding whether or not we’re good or bad. I think that’s a little silly. I believe and have faith in my family and friends — Mom, grandpa, grandma, nana, Grandpa B, Papa, Grammy Donna, Uncle Nate, Uncle Tommy…”

“What about Haley?” (our golden retriever)

“Definitely Haley too. And I don’t think I need a book called the Bible to tell me what’s right and wrong. Because as long as we all try to be good people, I think that’s what’s important.”

“But dada, mama believes in God so you should believe in God.”

And there it was. He heard it expressed positively from his friends and then his mother (because she apparently didn’t feel it was necessary to call me upstairs at the outset). They got to him first and by the time I weighed in, it was too late. So I asked if he had any more questions but he just kept telling me to believe in God like mom. Disappointed beyond belief, I kissed him and told him if he ever has any questions he can always ask either of us.

But now it’s even worse.

MJ is talking about putting him in CCD classes as soon as he’s old enough. CCD leads to first communion and from there on out he’d be part of the Catholic church. A thought so depressing and dangerous to me I can’t even see straight. Yet MJ is adamant about it. MJ, who calls herself a Catholic despite being against so many of the core values of the church. I try to point out these conflicting views and I ask her to make me understand how she can be part of something she seems to be so clearly against. She attempts to tell me about tradition, a sense of community, and insists that “her church was different.” But it doesn’t add up.

For me, it’s a dangerous and scary proposition.

The Catholic church is against gay marriage, and they believe homosexuality is a sin. We have gay relatives. My Aunt Melinda has been married to two women and I have five cousins because of it. They’re a loving family, who happen to have two moms instead of a mom and dad. They’re good kids and I love them, as well as their parents. So I can only imagine what it’ll be like if/when someone in CCD classes tells him being gay is bad. Therefore purposefully exposing Will to a religion that discriminates against our own family is the most illogical and insulting thing I can imagine. More than that, I think it’s cruel and flat-out wrong.

MJ doesn’t see it that way. She thinks it’s no different than Will hearing anti-gay remarks from friends on the playground or while we’re out somewhere. She said many Catholics — such as herself — don’t feel that way and don’t talk about it. I’m sure she’s right about that part. I know there are Catholics who pick and choose parts of their faith to which they want to adhere.

But I say it’s very different than playground whispers. We can’t control what other people say while we’re out in public. Will is going to hear things we disagree with, and things we don’t want him to hear. That’s inevitable. But that inevitable exposure is FAR AND AWAY different than willingly throwing him into a faith which we already know is bigoted and judgmental. If we, as his parents, happily send him into CCD and the Catholic faith, that’s giving Catholicism our stamp of approval and telling him we sanction it. And I just can’t do that.

I was raised in a Protestant church and I understand it’s good to be well-rounded. MJ wants him exposed to religion, but I think he’ll get that exposure one way or the other. After all, even if he becomes an atheist there’s a good bet he’ll know more about religion and the Bible than his religious peers. Unfortunately there’s so much hate and divisiveness he’ll encounter all on his own already, I can’t see the wisdom of contributing to that by unnecessarily exposing him to religion. Because from what I’ve seen, religion is much more apt to tear people apart than bring them together.

MJ thinks I’m being stubborn and just want to “get my way.” But that’s not true. If he gets to be a teenager and explores religion on his own, so be it. That’ll be his choice on his terms. But I have to do what’s best for my son now. And I believe — with all my heart — that sticking him in CCD will do more harm than good.

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41 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Want Religion in My Son’s Life

  1. So I typically don’t really like to weigh in on the whole religious conversation because I know how strongly your views are Aaron and my faith doesn’t believe in trying to force people to do or believe in something they don’t believe in. So I’m not going to waste words trying to convince you that there is a God or that religion is fundamentally important in person’s life because I know you will never agree. My only point is that not all religions are narrow-minded or bigoted (for you Catholics out there I am not throwing a barb in your direction). I believe in taking an open view and finding a place where people share the same core values as you and create a sense of community. If it wasn’t for the church I belong to I would never had ended up fixing homes for impoverished people in WV as a teenager (something I still do to this day), never would have learned about homeless people in Boston, or never would have had the opportunity to mentor youth and show them what a positive male role model looks like. Now I’m not saying that the church is the only way you can do all these things but I think if you find a group (like the church I belong to) who believes in doing good for other people that it can have a meaningful impact on a kid.

  2. Just out of curiosity, has anyone asked Will what he wants to do in all of this? I, like you, have my issues with the church and don’t consider myself a religious person. But you also have to consider that you and MJ both had religious upbringings and turned out OK. To me it seems you may have a fear of Will believing in things you disagree with. I think you need to trust him though. Kids are inquisitive and he’s going to question things he’s taught in CCD. This isn’t about Will thinking like you or MJ, but more about giving him the opportunity to explore things so he can make these decisions for himself.

  3. I am going to be long-winded here. Forgive me in advance. :)

    I have been an atheist since before I knew what the word atheist meant. I don’t believe in any god at all, but I would never outright say that I would be disappointed if my kids did believe in some kind of god. I would be disappointed if they ended up Republican, or extremely religious (and yes, to me there is a distinct difference between having faith and being religious), but I wouldn’t be disappointed just because they believe there is a God.

    My husband and I are in a similar situation to you and MJ. I am atheist. I started questioning whether God was real at about the age of 6 or 7, and by the time I was 8, the deal was done. I believe in science, and I believe in being good to people. My husband was raised Catholic, and while he doesn’t really consider himself Catholic anymore (for the reasons you mentioned – he is for gay marriage, pro-choice, and against a lot of the other discriminatory teachings of the church), he does believe in God.

    I have NEVER called my husband’s belief in God silly in front of my children. I think it’s a hurtful thing to tell Will that MJ is being silly by having faith in something bigger than herself. Do I think it’s silly? A little, yeah. But to tell my kids that would be to belittle my husband, to underestimate a feeling that he has in his heart. I could never do that, especially not in front of our children!

    The baptism argument is one that we had, and I “won.” It isn’t that I don’t want my kids to be baptized, but I want them to be older if they are, so that they can make that decision for themselves. When they are old enough to understand what a baptism entails (and means), and if they want to do it, then I will take them to be baptized.

    I think that you, and everyone else, should be open and honest with your child(ren). When my kids ask me what I believe, I tell them the truth. I believe in the ability of the human race to be something more. I believe in compassion. I believe in helping when you can. I believe in equality and love. But I don’t believe in God, heaven or hell. My husband tells them that he believes in God, and he believes that we go to heaven when we die. And when they ask what the truth is, I am honest about that too – I tell them that no one really knows, and you have to trust your instincts. It is THEIR decision, I refuse to tell them what to believe.

    I think that, as parents, it is our job to let them know the options, support the choices they make (as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else), and guide them to be decent human beings (forgiving, generous, honest, loyal, kind, etc). It is not our job, as parents, to tell them what is right or wrong regarding something that can’t really be KNOWN. Because whatever FEELS right to you may not feel right to someone else, and forcing atheism on someone is, in my mind, just as bad as forcing religion on them. I think that you should trust that you are raising an intelligent little person who will be able to reason out for himself what is right and wrong.

    I was raised Baptist. When I told my mother (I finally got up the courage at about age 12) that I didn’t believe in God, she cried and I felt AWFUL. She told me that I was wrong, and something was broken inside of me, and she had failed as a parent. That really hurt, it STILL hurts 18 years later. She DID fail as a parent in that situation, but not because of my unbelief. She failed because she didn’t recognize that religion is a personal thing to each person. She failed to support me and my beliefs. I am just telling you this, because if Will DOES end up believing in God, you run the risk of him feeling “silly” or “ridiculous” and also unsupported. It is possible that he will feel like you don’t think he is good enough.

    What’s funny to me is that a lot of people seem to forget that being Atheist and “knowing” there is no God requires just as much faith as believing in God. There is NO proof in one direction or the other, you can’t prove a negative. You can only say what you FEEL to be true, and how can you tell someone that what they feel is wrong?

    I will tell you that my son came to the decision on his own, at age SIX, that there was no god. Driving home from school one day he just said, out of the blue, “I don’t believe in God.” I admit, I was proud. BUT a couple of years later, at age FIVE, my daughter said, “I believe in God. I think it’s nice there’s something up there helping us out.” I think she meant ‘us’ as in humans, but like I said, she’s five and I don’t really know. What I DO know, is that I am equally proud of both of my kids. For coming to their own conclusions, and for being true to themselves. I am also proud of my husband and I, for raising two kids who have the ability to think for themselves, and for being open and honest enough with our kids that they feel safe sharing their beliefs with us, whichever direction they run.

    Be nicer to MJ! I don’t think she did the wrong thing by expressing her beliefs to Will. It sounds like she just told him what she believed, not that there is a right or wrong. I know he is your kid, and it’s truly none of my business how you raise him, but I do think you should both tell Will what you honestly believe and then let him decide for himself. He’s just little right now and them “getting to him” won’t really matter (unless it creates guilt), because he is smart and someday he will decide for himself what the truth is. Just make it okay for him to be who he is.

    Again, sorry for writing my own post in your comments section!

  4. My problem isn’t that MJ told Will what she believes. That’s to be expected and encouraged. My problem is she did it on the sly and what I consider behind my back. I was right downstairs when he asked. And that’s a big question. I would’ve happily and eagerly come upstairs where we could’ve talked to him together.

    Do I want Will to avoid religion? Yes, I admit that’d be nice. Just like I want him to be a Red Sox and Patriots fan. Will I mock and shun him if he does turn out to believe in God? No. I’ll be honest and open with him, but whatever he chooses he chooses.

    My fear is that Will is a follower. Big time. Nine times out of 10 he’ll do whatever his friends or family is doing. He is a people-pleaser and just tries to make the majority happy. And those people are most susceptible when it comes to religion. I think if he goes to classes he’ll be just like me when I was young, and believe everything anyone tells him. I only realized how I felt about religion towards the end of high school, and my church was very relaxed and liberal compared to most Catholic churches. I just want to make sure he’s not totally immersed in one thing with no other viewpoints getting through.
    DaddyFiles1 recently posted..Why I Don’t Want Religion in My Son’s LifeMy Profile

  5. Great post. I agree with your thoughts on the classes. Just so that we’re clear, however, you *will* be mocking Will if he decides to become a Yankee fan, right?

  6. I’m in sort of the opposite boat of yours. I’m somewhat religious (Jewish), my wife is Jewish also, but not religious at all. She’s openly questioned my reasoning for doing various things. Especially since I don’t follow *everything.* (I follow what I agree with and don’t follow what I don’t agree with. I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.) When it comes to my sons, I want them to have a Jewish education (i.e. Hebrew School in addition to normal public school).

    After that, however, their beliefs are their own. I’ll let them know what I believe just like my wife will let them know what she believes. As it is, my oldest loves going to CiCi’s to get their Hogfest pizza. That’s bacon, ham, sausage, and pepperoni all on the same pizza pie. And sitting right next to him is somewhat-kosher me who would never touch any of those meats. If, in the future, he decides that he’d like to be Kosher and gives up the Hogfest, good for him. If he decides that he doesn’t care about ancient dietary laws and grabs a second Hogfest slice, also good for him. So long as his decision is based on what he believes and isn’t solely because someone else (including me) believes that.
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  7. Ideally that’d be great TD. But the reality is that as parents, we largely shape the way our kids turn out and they emulate us to a great degree.

    You say you want them to make up their own minds, but you also want their entire education to be Jewish. That’s a contradictory statement. They’re going to spend their entire youth being taught a certain way in one religion. Therefore the likelihood of them sticking with that religion afterwards is very high. If you were telling them to go explore religions and they chose to be Jewish, that’d be one thing. But that’s not the case. Just like if Will went to CCD he’d more than likely end up being Catholic, because that’s what he was exposed to for so many years.

    If you really want them to make their own decisions, why not just wait until they’re old enough to do so? I’m betting it’s because by then, it might be too late. At the risk of sounding indelicate here, there is truth to the notion that religious organizations seek to get kids involved as early as possible so there’s a better chance of them staying in that religion and becoming a future member.
    DaddyFiles1 recently posted..Why I Don’t Want Religion in My Son’s LifeMy Profile

  8. Well, since you referenced me in your post, I think I should also share my views about how, as a lesbian couple who are also at odds about religion, we deal with this issue.

    I believe in a higher power, undefined, but not called GOD. I tell my kids that there is no doubt in my mind that there is a power greater than me, and that I believe in the love of all people that exists and the force of good that that comes from that love.
    Meg, my partner of 17 years, was raised as a staunch Catholic in a large Irish family. When we first met, we avoided the whole conversation of religion for many reasons, but until we had kids together, we accepted each others beliefs with tolerance.

    When she wanted to have our children baptized in the Catholic church, I consented only after receiving assurance that the Priest would leave out the part about “raising the child in the Catholic Church.” He agreed, thus we were able to please her family. I put my foot down firmly in opposition to CCD classes and would never want my children to be indoctrinated with the rituals, teachings, or guilt that this religion and many religions seem to use in what I’ve witnessed as a brain-washing mentality.

    Our solution is the Unitarian-Universalist Society. Not all are as non-religious as the one in our liberal city of Northampton, MA, but they are all open and accepting to all people regardless of their religious upbringing. In the UU environment, our kids do have religious education classes, learn about all different religions, work towards a goal in 8th grade in the “Coming of Age” class in which they present their personal credo at a service in front of the whole Society, and go on to be members of the youth group after that. Having raised 2 daughters who are now in their 20′s who have been through the program, I am assured that all of my kids, including the 3 remaining, will grow up to be
    open and accepting, knowledgeable of other religions, and respectful and loving members of society. I do not impose my beliefs on them, but rather, let them see what there is to choose from and know that they will decide what is right for them.

    Obviously, religious beliefs are just a small aspect of who they will become and what they will believe about themselves and the world when they grow up. I believe that with what we teach them by example and by our answers to their questions, how they will know how to react in social situations when confronted with unfairness, bullying, homophobia, and any hurtful behavior that they witness. Whether they are leaders or followers, they know what is right and wrong and never cease to amaze me at their responses!

  9. We were raised in a religious (Protestant) home in a very Catholic town. I was very active in my church until after college when I moved away and drifted away from church. I go a few times a year now.

    My parents felt that having a good religious foundation was important for us. One thing that they did was to take us to different churches and talk to us about the different religions. We hit almost every church in town – I don’t remember going to the Baptist church or the Mormon church, but probably every other one at least once. We either went as a family, or with a friend or youth group. We did go to see religious sites when we were on vacation. I’ve never been in a Jewish synagogue, much to my regret. I may yet have that opportunity. I have been in a mosque several times.

    My point is that you can teach Will the values that you want him to have by your example. My parents didn’t bash the other religions. They explained the differences and we learned about how the different churches were started and why. There are things I like and dislike about most religions, including the one in which I was raised. I would never be Catholic, but I sure enjoyed guitar mass and all the tradition and symbolism. Sometimes it’s nice to know that every service will be exactly the same and you can just memorize it all. (On the other hand it might get boring after awhile, too.)

    My family is quite liberal and so was our church community. When I moved and went to a church in my new, very liberal, town, I was shocked! at how conservative the church was. I couldn’t believe it was the same religion! It’s been 25 years and I am still shocked! I am also more aware that there are significant variations within religions and not to judge the whole religion based on one church or one person.

    Will is going to hear about religions as he grows up. He will be invited to church by his friends. I don’t know what CCD is – cripes, Will is only 4, they start that so early now?! I think that, if he is invited and wants to go, he should go with his friends. He should go with an open mind. He should go to lots of different churches – if he only goes to one, he will be indoctrinated. He will see for himself that there are lots of different ways to believe.

    My motto is that there’s more than one stairway to heaven. It doesn’t matter which one you take, as long as you stay on the stairs. I also believe that it’s perfectly OK not to believe in God, as long as you’ve made that decision for yourself. Will needs a basis to make that decision. I like the idea of the UU church that Melbiker talks about – that sounds like a very good way to learn.

  10. “If you really want them to make their own decisions, why not just wait until they’re old enough to do so?” And yet you had a rather heated and belittling conversation with a 4.5 year old. What were you hoping to accomplish? If anything, you created a gap in his impressionable mind between you and your wife.

    I’m not dogging you, dude. Just hoping to widen the perspective a bit.

    If he hasn’t brought up wanting to go to the classes on his own, then I see no reason for him to attend. At this point he has questions, ones that are way too big for such a little mind. And the solution is not sending him to a class that will begin to answer his questions with “our way or the highway” mentality. And that’s what he’ll get, no doubt. There will be no exploring of other religious views unless the end is to berate them as false and damning. That’s what I got growing up. A lot of it. So I carried a huge religious chip for many years, looking down my self-righteous nose at anyone who did not believe exactly as I did. There is no wishy washy in most forms of religious indoctrination. They are indeed out to get the kids early.

    My own story is unique. I believed for many years, and then I didn’t. I took off the blinders and saw and didn’t like. The sieve developed holes and I couldn’t stand the mentality. So one day I dropped my family off at church and told them I’d pick them up when it was over. Shock. Outrage. And many years later, I am still struggling with questions about how I made such a dramatic turn.

    I consider myself “reverently agnostic” after A. J. Jacobs, as described in his book “The Year of Living Biblically.” I respect the sacred found in life. In human beings. In things that can’t be classified according to a statement of faith or doctrinal outline. Faith can be found in so many things that would never be considered religious.

    But I ramble.

    This is tough, my man. It’s a hard road. Someone up in the comments said that religion will end up playing only a minor role in what your son eventually becomes. I disagree. In so many ways, what he learns in classes, in overhearing his instructors, in what starts out strange but becomes normal, will shape almost every aspect of how he behaves. And yet, he’s suddenly interested in the topic, so what do you do? I imagine your wife would have no interest in exploring something like the UU. I have attended many UU services and find that I fit right in. That’s called exploring. Exposing yourself to the many facets of faith. But insisting that there is only one way, one avenue, by which to teach your son about faith seems misguided, even as it probably makes absolute sense to your wife. I imagine she feels that she can steer him toward believing the “right” things, to respect others, to be accepting, to have some wideness with regards to peripheral things, but they will rub against what he’s being taught in almost every case. And that tension can be disconcerting, even to such a little guy.

    I guess, in the end, I just don’t know. It will be between you and your wife to figure this out. Sorry to ramble so much . . .
    Brian recently posted..Enjoy the SilenceMy Profile

  11. Having grown up an agnostic in a Christian home, I can very much feel the tension in your situation. Hopefully I can add some valuable perspective in a brief few points:

    1. You and MJ need to work out how you’re going to deal with your different desires for your son. Wars between you two on this will actually skew his ability to really objectively consider his own beliefs because at an emotional level he’ll feel like he isn’t choosing a viewpoint but a parent. Don’t do that to him.

    2. You say you don’t want to indoctrinate him early and that putting him in these classes is putting your stamp of approval on the Catholic church and its beliefs. But isn’t intentionally preventing him from learning about this topic putting your stamp of approval on atheism and its beliefs? I’d suggest a re-framing of your issue – how do you and MJ ultimately introduce him to the subject of God in a way that allows him to see both sides of the fence without pushing him in one direction (including yours)?

    3. Not talking about God is kind of like not talking about sex. It’s something he’ll naturally be curious about and is one of the most powerful forces in the human experience. If he doesn’t learn how to critically process the information and emotions that comes at him he’ll deal with it wrongly (unless he’s the rare exception). Like a gun, you don’t want someone handling it if they haven’t been educated how to do it right. I’m not arguing for or against religious teaching. I’m arguing for educating your kid in critical thinking and logic. I personally am of the opinion that if your ability to think critically and understanding of logic are sound you’ll come to a conclusion of your own that will be as close to “knowing” the truth as you’ll get in this lifetime.

    Have more faith in your son and in you and MJ’s ability to raise a son that can think for himself. (PS, thinking for himself does NOT equal atheist or agnostic.) Just because he tends to naturally follow doesn’t mean he’s a robot that can’t help himself. He may struggle with pushing against the crowd on some things, but struggle doesn’t equate to failure. More often than not it equates to strength.

    Good luck, DF. And relax – it’ll be o.k.
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  12. Great post, I found it really struck a chord with me as I am NOT a religious person at all, yet most of the rest of my family are. That’s not to say I’m not a SPIRITUAL person, I just don’t believe what’s been written in a variety of books by men about one singular higher being.
    You’ve started quite the debate here. While I respect your point of view, I have to say, mocking your wife’s belief’s in front of your child seems a bit off to me. Just because I don’t believe what my family believes, they still have those beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion in my book. IMHO anyway.
    Great stuff mate, keep these posts coming, I love reading them!

  13. I guess I don’t see where I mocked anyone’s beliefs. I pointed out the differences between me and MJ without telling him one or the other was right, and mostly just asked him what he thought God was (by the way, he thinks God is a superhero who flies from the clouds and scoops people up when they die). There was nothing at all heated in the conversation between me, MJ and Will. Things got heated between me and MJ afterwards, but that wasn’t in front of him.

    I actually don’t care if Will becomes an atheist or not. I mean I won’t lie, it’d be nice to have that in common with him. But I don’t expect it or anything. Whatever he chooses I’ll accept, but I don’t want that choice to come after being exposed to just one religion. And I’ll be honest, a lot of this is me worrying about not being involved in a part of Will’s life. If he goes to CCD and mass every Sunday, I won’t be there. I can’t do it. I feel very strongly about that. And that’s sad since I try to share everything with him.
    Daddy Files recently posted..Why I Don’t Want Religion in My Son’s LifeMy Profile

  14. trying…to…resist…but…

    Can’t. Shit. Here I go, about to be blasted.

    I’m catholic, but I don’t see my self included in the greater idea of the man-made, man run catholic church. That’s the mistake that people make is that they can’t disconnect the God-Made church and the political pile of crap that humans have made it.

    I’m going to be very blunt with my statements. Even though I disagree with you about alot of things, I find it refreshing that you don’t mix your words or sugar coat anything. I am usually the opposite, so here goes my try-

    Calling MJ’s belief’s silly was a bad thing to do. Not only did you label her beliefs in the same frame as calling a cartoon on tv silly, you inadvertently put a shot across her bow by insulting her. Even if she doesn’t mesh with alot of the thing catholics believe in. More on that later-

    MJ sounds like my wife. She doesn’t like to be proved wrong. My wife can’t stand it when I’m right, and usually a big eruption ensues if I try to prove it, and we end up being pissed at each other for a long time and we can’t be the good parents to our 4 kids the way we want to be while we are mad. So, I learned to reframe my arguments. You could ask MJ, well, what parts of the catholic religion DO you believe? I’ll wager a guess that there are more things that she doesn’t really understand/believe than she thinks. Catholicism is a tough religion to follow strictly. There are some pretty high-brow faith based ideas that you need to suscribe to in order to consider yourself a true Catholic. That’s why I consider my self a recovering catholic. There are many contradictions in the teachings that can’t be explained in everyday laymans terms, so I figure if they have to resort to using made up words that don’t really have any meaning to my everyday life, I win the argument.

    Anyway, I digress. Straight up, I am pro-life (mostly), While I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, I understand it. But, probably the best thing to do for Will is to not deny him the opportunity to explore. Your fear of him being sucked in and brainwashed is mostly you being paranoid. You say that you can’t go with him to the CCD classes. That’s a great big FAIL on your part. That is you not being able to get over your close mindedness and is being hypocritical. Don’t get me wrong, you’re criticisms of the catholic church are well founded and proven (in some areas), but most things in society can be criticized for something. If you can’t get over your own fears in order to help your son understand and keep some modest perspective about what they are telling him, that’s your loss, but unfortunatelt will be Will’s loss as well. You were willing to let a 350lb man bitch slap you, but you can’t do this? Sad.

    Would you take him to a democratic/republican convention to show him how politics work? Probably, but there are things that happen in both parties that you probably won’t want him to hear about either. And you’d better take him to both, or I’ll call you hypocritical again.

    In the end Will will most likely be influenced by the loudest voice in your household. Until he is old enough to think for himself, then he will rebel. Then after he rebels, he will find his own place. You’re job is to make sure that he knows all the choices available to him,and to know where you and MJ stand. If you can’t respect MJ’s beliefs, he will think that you won’t respect his.

    Now, on religion in general, there have been tons of studies by major institutions that prove that some sort of religion is good for kids. Lower rates of teenage pregnancy , lower underage drinking rates, lower drug use, they stay in school longer, get better grades, and have happier relationships in their later lives. I can send you references if you want. I don’t have them in front of me right now.

    If anything these facts should encourage you to at least want these benfits for Will. And the cool thing is that you can do it somewhat under your own terms by helping shape what he hears and frame what the lessons are in the context of being a good person. Most people say, “I just want my kids to be happy”. Well, if that happiness is at the expense of other people, what good is that? So, that argument fails. What “most” religions teach is that by giving, and being selfless, you earn happiness in its true form. Not in the form of a new iphone, but in the ethereal sense of knowing that he is doing something good for the world, and the world is a better place because he was there. If you really break down the teachings of the major religions, it is all based on serving other people. The poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly. Base your teachings on those, and you’ll do Will worlds of good. Insult things, and you’ll lose him. By denying him a path, he will blaze his own. Maybe even to the Yankee’s…

    I don’t expect to change your mind on anything, you’ve already shown that you aren’t really open to that on many topics. But, i hope to give some non-fanboy feedback from a mildly religious person that has seen his faith save him from many bad choices. OK, done. Commence the blowback.

  15. Honestly, CCD classes (in my experience) are mostly general. As a kid, I hated it because it was super boring. I was raised Catholic and grew up atheist anyway. The same might happen to Will. Then again, he might grow up like my sister who became more religious as I grew less so. Breaking out of that brainwashing is hard to do, although your presence might help with things. I’m definitely with you on this one. MJ’s pretty cool most of the time, but forcing Will to go to CCD is not cool at all. If he wants to go though, let him. You probably shouldn’t be calling MJ’s views “silly” in front of Will (though I think they are too) and she should’t call your beliefs silly, either. You should call it how you see it to adults, but he’s too sensitive to adult opinion at this point and it might influence him. If you force atheism down his throat though, that’s not cool either, though. You guys should just answer them objectively and try to teach him to think critically :)
    And actually, to contradict with the above commenter, that is NOT the case. Higher religiosity leads to higher teen pregnancy rates, especially given the Catholic Church’s views on birth control and sex. They’ll still have it, but they just won’t protect themselves. I fail to see how the rest of the claims relate to religion. Yes, it might make him “happier” although if he’s happy based off of lies, that’s nothing at all.
    For now, let it slide. Children believe in imaginary friends, unicorns and monsters under the bed so naturally they believe in God.
    P.S. Interesting note- I had to take special Holy Communion classes when I moved to a church that did it earlier than my previous one. I took it with another boy. He’s gay (I don’t know his religous views now) and I’m an atheist. LOL.

  16. You are already an angry biased athiest. seems to be alot of those out there. using the terms “brainwashing” “based off of lies” and such just go t prove your bias, and therefor preclude your ability to have a rational discussion.

    “And actually, to contradict with the above commenter, that is NOT the case. Higher religiosity leads to higher teen pregnancy rates, especially given the Catholic Church’s views on birth control and sex.”
    Lets see your documentation on that. Opinion? maybe. Fact? Nope. You see it how you want to see it so it supports your argument. Its been proven otherwise in many scientific studies done at respectable universities and research institutions. And to frame the discussion properly, and for full disclosure, the majority of the studies state that “a belief in something higher than themselves” is what is important. So, it has nothing to do with being catholic, so again, your comment about it just being catholics is plain wrong.

    The catholic faith actually wants you to have sex! (outbreed the pagans is a popular war cry, but I don’t agree with that philosophy) If you read or did any research at all, that fact would be obvious to you! Saying things that you want to think are fact doesn’t make them facts. Sex is good! Its GREAT! The difference is that Catholicism states that you should have it with only after married, and only with that one person. So, in light of that FACT, it actually proves your point wrong, and shows it for what it is. AN OPINION. Just because a teen states he/she is catholic doesn’t make them catholic. Faith without works is dead. You can stand on the street corner preaching to everyone that you are the most pious catholic out there, but if you don’t act like it you are worse off than the atheist.

    In the end, he will do whatever the hell he wants to, he isn’t going to be swayed by you or me. I’m ok with that.

    I have tons of friends who are atheists. Common traits seem to be multiple divorces, unhappy marriages, affairs, depression, and general unhappiness. Unlike the few moderately religious people I choose to call my friends, who have lifelong marriages and a more optimistic view of life in general.

    I guess I’d rather have my kids live happy lives , knowing that someday they will be held responsible for the lives they led, and that there is something out there that is holding them to a higher expectation than what society deems is appropriate. If anyone bases thier ideas of what is a successful life is on what society says, I say you are truly doomed to a life of materialism and moral decrepitude. I don’t want to have my kids look at their future like its a black hole of short lived joys.

  17. Matt: I absolutely love how you condemn atheists for being judgmental with their opinions and then do the same exact thing by wrapping your judgment in the cloak of religion. Exactly as hypocritical as I’d expect.

    You also say you want documentation, then fail to provide your own. Next you go on to validate your views by talking about the small sample size of atheists who are in your life. Because that’s SO scientific.

    My son will be responsible for the life he leads. He doesn’t need God or religion for that. You talk about the foolishness of basing beliefs on what society deems important, yet you have no qualms about getting your values from an inconsistent and ancient work of fiction?? C’mon man, get a clue. My son may go on to be religious to some degree. If so, that’s fine. Because he’ll have been raised seeing both sides instead of simply being brainwashed by one religion, and he’ll make an informed decision for himself.
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  18. Again, calling my system of beliefs fiction kinda debunks your Holier than thou argument (pun intended).

    I will get my references. I just don’t have them with me at this moment. Dont’ worry.

    I’m all for letting kids see both sides, I think that’s great. I guess what I am reacting to is the complete hatred of any idea of religion. Its so complete and closed door way of thinking. I’m ok with atheists that don’t criticize my way of living my life, but this entire post and the following comments have been nothing but critical. I’m guilty as well when I get sucked into the discussion. Yes I’m defensive, but I try not to criticize. I failed in that on my last post as you graciously pointed out :)

    So, send you kid to CCD classes, then send him to Temple, then send him to some witchcraft expos. If you don’t, you’ll be proving your own hypocrisy. My judgements are based on my moral code, much (but not all) I have gotten from my religion. I don’t defend the greater catholic church. If anything kills off the catholic religion it will be the political organization that calls it self that.

    Standy by for my list of references.

    Contrary to what I sound like, i do enjoy these discussions. I just hope that you (and others) can look at my side and say”Hmm, some good points, don’t’ agree, but some good points” and make you think more openly. Just how you have gotten me to think more openly about same sex marriages, (still don’t’ agree with it) but I’m looking more into it, and ways that people can still commit to each other but not having to call it marriage. I just hope your mind isn’t as closed off as you make it sound, and you are willing to listen to and consider other people’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.

  19. My mind isn’t closed off, it’s already processed the information and I’ve come to a decision. I went through 12 years of church school. I know the other side of the argument. My mind was very open. But I reject it because I was exposed to both sides, saw that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of allegorical tales and came to a decision based on that.

    As parents, we try to do what’s best for our kids. And I believe with all my heart, that religion is bad for my son. So I’m going to do my best to avoid directing him towards what I consider to be a potentially dangerous situation. Much like I would with drugs or other harmful behaviors. I think religion can be that dangerous.

    However, I’m not trying to rid the world of it. I think people who believe in it should go for it. But when those personal religious beliefs start creeping into my life (and my family’s life), a line has to be drawn.

    There are very distinct attitudinal differences between atheists and religious folks. For instance, most religious people want prayer in public schools, but atheists simply want to be left alone. They don’t want to teach kids God doesn’t exist, they just want to separate it out and let church deal with it. Where religious people seek to force beliefs into the mainstream and onto kids, atheists simply want to be free from something that belongs in church and at home — not at school or in government.

    In actuality, there’s really no need to agree or disagree. I’ll never agree that religion is something positive for my son. You’ll likely never be convinced God doesn’t exist. Our religious practices shouldn’t concern one another at all. But because so many people seek to inject their faith into other people’s lives, it becomes an issue.
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  20. If certain foods are bad for you, are they bad for your son? If you don’t like certain genres of music, will you not let your kid listen to them? If someone told you that having your kid hold his pencil in a certain way would help him to write better would you do it, even if that didn’t work for you in the past? I went to catholic school for 9 years, and rarely opened a bible. I have a hard time believing that you did more than that, especially as a kid. So, basing your decision on 12 years of adolescent experience with an activity (school) that most boys don’t particularly enjoy anyway is a bit wonky, to say the least. I doubt that you had many meaningful and deep discussions on biblical history and proofs of existence when you were 13 years old. Call me a skeptic.

    Here is some evidence to the contrary. i source most of this from a book called Strong Fathers Strong Daughters by Dr Meg Meeker, she has spent the last 25years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine while also helping parents and teens to communicate more deeply about difficult topics such as sex, STDs and teen pregnancy. She also has a great book on boys, called “Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons”
    Which is also a great read.

    this is mostly quoted from her book only altered by my crappy typing skills.

    Religion is defined as a belief in God and an active participation in worshipping at church or temple, going to youth groups and being involved in religious activities. Research shows that religion consistantly-

    • helps keep kids way from drugs 1
    • helps keep kids way from sexual activity 2
    • helps keep kids way from smoking 3
    • gives kids moral guidance 4
    • gives them feelings of mental and psychological security 5
    • contributes to their growing maturity as they pass from childhood to adolencense 6
    •helps them to set boundaries and stay out of trouble 7
    • helps teens keep a good perspective on life 8
    • helps teens feel good and happy 9
    •helps most teens get through their problems and troubles 10
    • helps kids feel better about their bode and physical appearance 11

    Then there are a bunch that she attributes to girls, as that is what the book is about, but they are mirrored in her Boys should be Boys book as well, so I will quote them here too.

    •helps them delay the onset of sexual activity 12
    • helps them feel less rebellious 13
    • makes them less likely to exhibit bad tempers 14
    • less likely to cut class 15
    • more likely to watch movies with lower ratings 16
    • less likely to watch x rated or pornographic videos 17
    • less likely to send lots of time playing video games 18
    • more likely to get higher grades 19
    • less likely to have depressive symptoms 20
    • positively affects personal adjustment into adult populations 21

    Now for the references

    1 ” Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers” New York Oxford Press Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton 218-264
    2 Ibid. 224
    3 Ibid. 222
    4 Ibid. 151
    5 Ibid. 152
    6Ibid. 153
    7 Ibid. 151
    8Ibid. 152
    9 Ibid. 153
    10 Ibid. 151
    11 Ibid. 225
    12 “Protecting adolescents from Harm: Findings from the Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health” Journal of the American Medical Association #278. Michael D Resnick, et al. 823-832
    13 Smith and Denton 222
    14 Ibid.
    15 Ibid.
    16 Ibid. 228
    17 Ibid. 223
    18 Ibid.
    19 Ibid. 222
    20 “Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Religion: Findings from a National Study” Journal of Adolescence May 3 2006
    21 Smith and Denton, 21

    So, there you go. Now lets see your research. The main point is that I agree that we should not shove religion onto our kids without giving it some thought, they need to make up their own minds. That’s fine. but, we teach our kids to not smoke, don’t drive fast, stay in school, be respectful and be kind. We teach them that we believe that math and science, literature and history are important. When something is important, we teach it to our kids. Remember that this isn’t about us, its about our kids. Kids are inherently born with a perception that life is more than what they see. There is a space inside each kid where the soul resides. It is hard to look at my kids and believe that all they are is a lump of cells that just so happens to be arranged in the perfect order to be able to lift a glass of milk, jump up and give a hug, and to snuggle under the covers when its a cold night. There is more in there than chemicals that somehow know how to work together to create though processes and store memories. Something connects all that stuff together. Define it as you will, its there. Kids are curous about religion because they feel that there is something that is greater than they are (and no, its not the red sox, but they might be close). our job is to help give them definition to that space inside of them that for them is undefinable. To understand what that part of themselves (that they can’t see) can do for them. The idea that they are accountable to something more important than themselves is a powerful feeling that can be used for the betterment of themselves and society.

    OK, I’m glad that we had this discussion. i’ve re-read some things that I’ve forgotten about, and now I am renewed in my convictions that what I am doing is for the best for my kids. I’m not saying that its for everyone’s kids, all I ask is the acknowledgement that there might be some good that comes out of this, and try to to take the edge off your bitter angry hatred of all this. Open your eyes and do what’s best for your kids, not what’s best for you and your ego.

    Just for clarification, I took most of this from the book Strong Fathers Strong Daughters by Dr Meg Meeker. I highly suggest to give her other books a read. Sometimes clinical, with lots of references. They are easy reads and available in audiobook form for those of us with long commutes and less time to read books. And there is only one chapter devoted to spirituality, so feel free to rip out chapter 8 before you read it.

    Cheers!

  21. Sorry, but I can’t give any creedence to Meg Meeker’s book. A cursory Google search shows she is a staunch Catholic with very strong religious beliefs. Which is fine for her personally, but (in my personal view) taints her “research.” She has a clear and defined bias. As seen here:

    http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/2011/3/30/dr-meg-meeker-interview-on-habits-of-happy-mothers.html

    That having been said, I don’t doubt that regular church attendance keeps kids off drugs and generally keeps them out of trouble. I totally buy that. If you’re doing something regularly then you’re much more likely as a teen to steer clear of hazards. But that activity could also be math club, sports, etc. I don’t think going to church somehow bests all of the other alternatives.

    After reading your last post, it’s plainly obvious this boils down to a fundamental difference of opinion. You think there’s something greater out there. I don’t. I think that while life is filled with absolutely astounding experiences, in the end we are just a clump of cells. I don’t believe in predestination or a cosmic bind that ties us all together. I believe in coincidence, chance and randomness. My life is complete without giving myself over to something greater in the form of religion. You need that in your life — and that’s cool. I would never begrudge you that.

    I appreciate you doing what you think is best for your child. I believe that you know what’s best. And there’s the difference between us. I don’t criticize you or seek to tell you how to parent when it comes to religion, while you demand I personally acknowledge the existence of something greater and condescendingly tell me to “open my eyes and do what’s best for my kid.” Sorry, but you have no clue what’s best for my son. That you think you do is the height of arrogance.
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  22. Oh, boy. Where to begin…
    Let’s pick out a few choice parts, shall we?

    “The Catholic church — if you haven’t heard — is anti-choice….”

    The Catholic Church is not “anti-choice”. It just opposes the killing of children in the womb. How terrible.
    As for the pedophile priests, they make up a very small percentage of the priesthood. The vast majority of priests would never dream of hurting a child, or of covering up for somebody who did. Are the cover-ups shameful? Yes, but the majority of Catholics acknowledge this, and work is being done to change this.

    “But that inevitable exposure is FAR AND AWAY different than willingly throwing him into a faith which we already know is bigoted and judgmental.”

    ….What’s the big deal? It seems dear old Dad is going to be doing a fine job teaching him to be bigoted and judgmental already. With a generous dose of ignorance mixed in.

    Here’s some advice. If you’re going to criticize a religion, at least educate yourself on it. Is the Catholic faith perfect? No. Does that change the fact that it has brought about a lot of good in the world? No.
    I’m not Catholic. In fact, I’m not even religious.
    It’s actually possible to be non-religious without bashing other religions. It’s called having respect for other people’s beliefs. You should try it sometime.

  23. “The Catholic church is not ‘anti-choice.’” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? The Catholic Church is against abortion. Period. End of story. That’s the very definition of anti-choice. Don’t lecture me about getting facts right when you clearly don’t have a grasp on them yourself. By the way, I had to deal with good ANTI-CHOICE Catholics when my wife and I had to get an abortion due to a fetal abnormality. I had wonderful, caring folks lined up outside the clinic calling us murderers. So yes, “how terrible” is right.

    And regarding pedophile priests, it’s true a small number were the perpetrators. But you know what wasn’t small? The number of years it went unchecked, ignored, and even condoned. That abuse spanned DECADES, and was covered up at the higher levels of the church. So while it’s oh-so-courteous of you to “acknowledge” this, the rest of us are going to need a little more than that for it to suffice. But hey, at least it was just thousands of kids tortured instead of millions. If that helps you sleep easy at night…

    And please enlighten me as to how I’m bigoted. I’m going by facts and what I’ve seen and learned about the Catholic Church. FACT: the official position of the Catholic Church is that homosexuality is a sin. FACT: Catholic orphanages deny homes to kids because they won’t adopt to gay parents. That is the definition of bigoted. I notice you don’t argue this point, since you have absolutely no ground on which to stand.

    Why should I have respect for a belief that is intolerant and bigoted? Just because a lot of people believe in something doesn’t make it right or worthy of respect. I have respect for my Catholic friends who practice their religion without incorporating some of the more harmful components of the religion, but at the same time I question how they can be a part of something that is so blatantly reprehensible.

    So to recap: you criticized me for not having facts except yours were totally wrong. You tell me to show respect when you display none towards me. So why would I ever listen to you? Oh that’s right, I wouldn’t.
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  24. it sounds to me you are the bigot. how can you not let a little boy go to the classes and decide for himself what he believes, it is cruel indeed to never give him the chance to learn about his mothers faith.

  25. First of all anonymous, your opinion is automatically discounted since you don’t have the fortitude or decency to attach your name to your statements.

    So if I’m a bigot for wanting to raise my son a certain way (in this case atheist), why aren’t religious people bigots for not wanting to expose their kids to atheism? It works both ways there sparky. Also, I said clear as day if he wants to explore religion when he’s older and can actually make an informed decision, I wouldn’t stand in his way. But to do it now and force one religion on him is a bad idea in my opinion.
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  26. I’m sorry this has been such an issue for your family. Since the original posting of this article have you ever been able to make any step towards a resolution between you and your wife? Also, do you think your son has had more opportunities to see that there are multiple ways to view religion? (These are yes or no questions. I’m not asking you to elaborate, and if you feel that I am intruding on your personal family life I apologize. You don’t have to answer if you feel that these matters I am concerned about are too private.)

  27. Roger: There hasn’t been any movement on this issue since I wrote the article. It’s still just kind of hanging over us, but it hasn’t come up lately. He’s asked about God and religion one or two times and my wife and I respectfully give him our best answers. Contradictory ones to be sure, at which point we spend the next 15 minutes explaining why we disagree.

    It’s a process to be sure…
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  28. Hoo boy. Makes me glad my husband and I are on the same secular side. The piece of our particular puzzle, that doesn’t seem to be getting as much play in the discussion, is “you get to make up your own mind.” I do think you and your wife need to sit down and talk through a strategy of addressing the issue that satisfies both of you, even if it’s just ending your viewpoints with “and daddy/mommy believes differently, and that’s ok.” Personally, I’d follow up with “When you get older, you’ll get to decide what you believe.”
    ANd then I think he should get to take the lead. If he expresses interest in the classes, or Sunday School, that’s fine. But the bottom line has to be respect for everyone’s beliefs. It has to be safe to discuss this, sincerely and honestly, no mocking, because these kinds of beliefs form the bedrock for everything else. (you can say, you know, the idea of an old man in the sky feels, well, silly, to me. But to your mom, it makes sense, and that’s ok. But no leading the witness.) It has to be ok, no turf battles, because oh man, nothing good comes of that.
    Sorry about the rant, from a newbie, no less. Difficult topic for sure.

  29. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? The Catholic Church is against abortion. Period. End of story. That’s the very definition of anti-choice.”

    No. That’s the definition of pro-life. You completely fail to address the fact that abortion kills an innocent child. Or perhaps you’re conveniently ignoring it.
    Once again: the Catholic Church is not against choice, it’s against killing innocent children.

    “Don’t lecture me about getting facts right when you clearly don’t have a grasp on them yourself”

    If you don’t want a lecture, then get your facts right. I already clearly demonstrated my grasp on the facts. It’s not my fault that you are either having difficulty understanding them (or are being deliberately obtuse).

    “By the way, I had to deal with good ANTI-CHOICE Catholics when my wife and I had to get an abortion due to a fetal abnormality. I had wonderful, caring folks lined up outside the clinic calling us murderers. So yes, “how terrible” is right.”

    So, you’re judging the majority of PRO-LIFERS on a handful of people you met? Assuming that you’re telling the truth, of course. I’ve seen your video, by the way. I did not hear anybody calling you or your wife a murderer. I only heard you taking out your frustration at a tragic situation on those women.
    Out of curiosity, since you obviously consider yourself “pro-choice”, I assume that you oppose taxpayer-funded abortion and support right of conscience laws? It would seem quite “anti-choice” not to.

    “The number of years it went unchecked, ignored, and even condoned. That abuse spanned DECADES, and was covered up at the higher levels of the church. So while it’s oh-so-courteous of you to “acknowledge” this, the rest of us are going to need a little more than that for it to suffice.”

    Once again: most Catholics acknowledge this, and the Church is working hard to address it. The vast majority of clergy and laypeople are horrified by what happened, and want to prevent it from happening again. But, I suppose it’s more convenient for you to ignore that.
    And thank you. I do try to be courteous.

    “But hey, at least it was just thousands of kids tortured instead of millions. If that helps you sleep easy at night…”

    ….Sorry, but I can’t even take this part seriously. Apparently, not being a Catholic basher = not caring about abused children. Right.
    But, I have been sleeping pretty well at night, actually. Thanks for your concern. It helps when you don’t support the killing of unborn children.

    “Why should I have respect for a belief that is intolerant and bigoted?”

    Using that logic, why should I have any respect for yours? Not to mention the fact that you have yet to describe any intolerance or bigotry on the part of the Catholic Church. It’s only guilty of daring to have beliefs that differ from yours, it seems.

    “FACT: the official position of the Catholic Church is that homosexuality is a sin. FACT: Catholic orphanages deny homes to kids because they won’t adopt to gay parents. That is the definition of bigoted. I notice you don’t argue this point, since you have absolutely no ground on which to stand.”

    That’s not entirely accurate: The Catholic Church does not believe that homosexuality (being attracted to somebody of the same gender) is a sin. It believes that ACTING on that attraction is a sin. Yes, there is a difference. Once again, please educate yourself on the Catholic beliefs before criticizing them.
    The Catholic Church has a different view on human sexuality than you do. That does not make them bigoted, no matter how much you wish to believe it. Outdated? Perhaps. But not bigoted. The Humane Vitae may help explain this for you.
    Oh, and I didn’t originally argue this point because I didn’t find it very important. There were so many other inaccuracies in your post to address, and so little time.

    “So to recap: you criticized me for not having facts except yours were totally wrong. You tell me to show respect when you display none towards me.”

    Recap: you claim that my facts are “totally wrong”, but are unable to provide any support. I did not show you any lack of respect in my reply. Unless you consider daring to disagree with you “disrespectful”.

    “So why would I ever listen to you? Oh that’s right, I wouldn’t.”

    …And yet you took the time reply to my comment. Something must have hit a nerve. Also, I’m curious as to how one would “listen” to words on a screen. I always thought that was called “reading” .

  30. “Killing innocent children?” Really? You’re telling me that the abortion my wife and I opted for is the exact same thing as murdering our 4-year-old son? What an absolute joke you are. The Catholic Church opposes all forms of abortion procedures that end with the destruction of an embryo, blastocyst, zygote or fetus. Furthermore, “Canon 1398 of the Code of Canon Law imposes automatic excommunication on Latin Rite Catholics who procure a completed abortion, if they fulfill the conditions for being subject to such a sanction. Eastern Catholics are not subject to automatic excommunication, but they are to be excommunicated by decree if found guilty of the same action, and they may be absolved of the sin only by the eparchial bishop.” So please tell me again how the Catholic Church isn’t against abortion.

    Also, you seem to be implying that I’m lying about the video I shot. And by extension, that my wife is lying too. Is that the case? Do you think we faked a baby with Sirenomelia, made up all the trips to the OB and to Brigham and Women’s in Boston, and then staged a trip to the clinic? You’re disgusting. The reason I don’t have idiots yelling at me is because I didn’t expect to be accosted on my way into the clinic. Silly me, I figured normal human beings have compassion and wouldn’t actively harass perfect strangers on the toughest day of their lives. And at that point, my priority was getting my wife inside without further trauma. It was only after she was admitted and I was not physically allowed into the operating room that I went back outside. While you can call me a lot of things, a liar is not one of them. So basically you can go fuck yourself.
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  31. Does your son still tell you that you should believe in god just because your wife does, or do you think that maybe he’s getting to the point where he can at least respect your differing beliefs?

  32. “MJ thinks I’m being stubborn and just want to “”get my way.””

    Do you think she’s ever considered the possibility that you thought the same of her? Also could it be possible that she’s ever taken the time to consider your feelings about telling Will about her beliefs “on the sly and behind your back?” I certainly hope she is not trying to force this on Will at your expense. She says her church was different, but how does that correspond to whatever congregation this particular CCD is a part of and guarantee that your (justified) fears are unwarranted?

  33. Gary: It hasn’t come up lately. And no I don’t think he’s at the point where he’s capable of respecting differing beliefs, mainly because he’s not even 5 years old. That’s a pretty advanced skill and asking a little too much of someone so young. But I have full confidence he’ll one day get to that point.

    Blandois: I know my wife doesn’t think she’s forcing it on him, but that’s how I see it. She looks at it as exposing him to something for his own good. We’ll have to agree to disagree on our perspectives.
    Daddy Files recently posted..Preschool MassageMy Profile

  34. Ok, ok, don’t panic! First of all, there are plenty of us who were raised Catholic and later became atheists. So just because he might attend CCD doesn’t mean he’s doomed to be completely brainwashed for the rest of his life.

    Secondly, when I attended CCD there was no mention of any of those issues you are concerned about. They aren’t the kind of thing that’s talked about extensively with children, you know.

    Third, you should definitely discuss with your wife how the religion thing is going to be handled. Whether he’s old enough to comprehend what he’ll be told by authority figures or if he should simply be educated at home by BOTH his parents for a while longer. If at all possible, when you two agree that he’s ready to be exposed to external teaching, you might want to talk to your wife about taking him to learn about various different religions, not just Catholicism.

    And always, always, always keep the line of communication with him open. If you tell him a belief is silly that he doesn’t think is silly at all, specially if it’s a belief his mother has, that’s not likely to make him confide in you any further.

    Don’t forget, the fastest way to stop believing anything the Bible says is to read it. Teach your son rational thought and skepticism, teach him about science, protect him from blatant indoctrination while he’s too young to protect himself, but let him learn, and watch the bullshit just roll right off him.

  35. *stares*….*keeps staring*
    ….Wow. Are you being deliberately obtuse, or are your comprehension skills truly that poor? I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m honestly asking you.

    “Really? You’re telling me that the abortion my wife and I opted for is the exact same thing as murdering our 4-year-old son?”

    If you’re asking whether I view the child that died in the abortion as being equal in value to your son…. the answer is yes. He/she was a human being.

    “What an absolute joke you are.”

    No, I’m a person. But I do know some good jokes :)

    “The Catholic Church opposes all forms of abortion procedures that end with the destruction of an embryo, blastocyst, zygote or fetus.”

    …..Abortions are not performed on zygotes. And of course the Catholic Church opposes abortion. It opposes the deliberate killing of innocent children.

    “So please tell me again how the Catholic Church isn’t against abortion.”

    …..I never told you the Catholic Church isn’t against abortion. Go back and re-read my comment, and try to understand it this time.

    “Also, you seem to be implying that I’m lying about the video I shot. And by extension, that my wife is lying too. Is that the case? Do you think we faked a baby with Sirenomelia, made up all the trips to the OB and to Brigham and Women’s in Boston, and then staged a trip to the clinic?”

    I hope to God you’re just being deliberately obtuse here. Either that, or extremely drunk.
    What I WAS implying was that you probably misrepresented what those women said and did, intentionally or not. I was also implying that you were taking your grief from your tragic situation out on them. It was quite clear from my comment that I was not questioning your child’s condition.

    “You’re disgusting.”

    Coming from an anti-Catholic bigot, I have to take that as a compliment.

    “While you can call me a lot of things, a liar is not one of them.”

    I don’t know if you’re a liar or not. However, your reply to me shows that one of two things is true:
    1) You deliberately misinterpret/misrepresent what people say in order to fit your simplistic “All pro-lifers are evil” mindset.
    OR
    2) Your comprehension skills are very poor, and this causes you to misunderstand what people are saying to you.

  36. Melissa,

    With all due respect, how exactly did this man misinterpret or misrepresent what those two protesters were saying or doing? I feel like I missed something while reading your comments. If you do answer my question, please understand that I’m not trying to be rude or disrespectful to you.

  37. Melissa,

    You think a 16-week-old fetus is the same as my 5-year-old son? If that’s honestly the case then we’re done here, because that is utterly ridiculous. I have friends who have lost their kids — one at 5 and the other at 8. And as tough as it was to go through our situation, it doesn’t even compare to what happened to them. It’s not the same because one was a person and the other was not. The fact that you think they are equal tells me there’s nothing more we have to talk about.

    Also, there’s no way to “misinterpret” a couple of lunatic women screaming at you from across a street while holding signs of babies and Jesus on them. And if you saw the video, I’m not sure how anyone can “misinterpret” what they said. They weren’t apologetic or compassionate. And they threatened to call the police on me for doing exactly what they do all day to women entering that clinic. It is the height of hypocrisy and ignorance — I’m sure you recognize it well since you seem to be of the same mind. I’m done with you now.
    DaddyFiles1 recently posted..My Son, the 5-Year-OldMy Profile

  38. Im sorry daddfiles1, wake up and understand like most of this world fails to understand. An abortion is getting rid of something that was meant to grow and thrive to be a human being like you and me. NO MATTER WHAT. What else would of been its purpose if it didn’t come to be in it’s mother womb. Under no circumstance are we “humans” able to decide if it should live or not. Believing in something higher than you, with more power than you can ever fathom, would help you to comprehend exactly what that means. God loves you.

  39. Maria: First of all, this post isn’t about abortion. But since you mentioned it, did you not read my article? Our baby four years ago had its legs fused together. No bladder, no kidneys, no anus. Our baby was almost dead and would not have survived. You can’t survive without the aforementioned body parts. We wanted our baby very much but not by risking my wife’s life for a baby that would NEVER have survived.

    All your talk of God means nothing because I don’t think God exists. God didn’t bring me comfort, doctors did. The compassionate workers at the clinic did. And the reason we finally were able to complete our family is because of doctors and IVF — not God.

    If you knew how to think for yourself you’d have more power than you could ever fathom.
    Daddy Files recently posted..Of Time, Cancer, and Snapping TurtlesMy Profile

  40. Pfff, this is a tough one. I too would like to keep religion out of my (unborn) kid’s life.
    Just as I would like to keep her away from others things I deem harmful, even stuff like pot, which is totally legal in my country btw. I hope to become a parent this october, so I do not yet know how hard it really is.

    But the reality is, we can’t create copies of our own values in our kids. We can only raise them to make their own choices. And I think it would be very wise to try and come up with a strategy you and your wife both agree to to tackle these issues (can’t be only religion you disagree on.) It is only natural that parents have different views, as should we accept different views in our kids. And teach them this is ok.

    I highly recommend the PET book by Thomas Gordon. Read it in preparation of parenthood and it challenged some of my strongly held beliefs about good parenting; and I always appreciate a book that can make me do that.

    What I value about your site is how most of the comments on it remain very respectful of another’s views. This post being the regrettable exception all around. But abortion, religion, politics etc are subjects that people feel so strongly about, it baffles them that other people think very differently. I am guilty of that myself sometimes…

    I hope your family works through this issue. It is always a good reminder that you both really love your kid and are both trying to do what you believe is best. I hope I can become a good parent and heed my own advice as well ;)

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