Monday, February 18, 2013

On Being Religion-Free

 

It's a lot like being the only sober person
in a car full of drunk people,
and they refuse to pull over and let you drive.
I seldom go through my day thinking of religion or gods or anything supernatural at all.  There is no part of my day that includes "holy" books, devils, ghosts (holy or otherwise), tarot cards, talking to the dead, afterlives, (prelives, for that matter,) runes, angels, daemons, special undergarments, phrenology, palmistry, alchemy, Big Foot, astrology, crystals, crop circles, UFO abductions, deja vu, faith healing, guilt and shame, telekinesis, resurrections, reincarnation, palm reading, vampires, dream reading, zombies, magical hocus pocus, juju and woo woo of all kinds, horoscopes, and the like.

I'll just be moving through the day, rationally. Suddenly someone will, in all sincerity, say something about an angel thing or a prayer thing and I'm immediately thinking:

 ***BOOM***

Oh yeah, people out there actually believe this stuff

and it is meaningful for them...

Weird.

Here is an example:  I was at a pharmacy the other day and saw a DVD meant for TODDLERS explaining the beauty of God's creation...  I literally nearly tripped!

All I could think was:  ACK!!!

I find it discouraging that there are parents out there trying to do the right thing for their children and the best that they can come up with is the Christian religion.  That parents do their part in the indoctrination of children into the church.  

I remember how my daughter used to listen to every single thing I ever said and compare those things with every single thing she heard every place else. She was being discerning, looking for patterns, trying to find things that didn't fit. She was great at this! The problem was that Christians have their messages out there in abundance. It is as pervasive as racism, body distorting images, or fast food. Preschool-aged The Doctor was always on alert, still is! She would always be pointing out the places where religion was saying things different from what I was saying.

In her kindergarten class alone (in the year 2001), she was exposed to Christian stuff on a daily basis. From the Pledge of Allegiance to lovely Christian Jesus stories (in a public school). I strongly felt that is was my responsibility to be honest about the world. She was looking to me for information and for truth. In fact, she was demanding it. I strongly felt I would have failed her if I had told her stories of a flood or a father being told by God to kill his beloved son. It just made no sense. But the religion stories were all around her. She saw them, heard them, and felt confused by them. And this was with me being vigilant.

I admit, that had something to do with us moving into homeschooling at first...

My daughter remembers those days well, especially the confusion of how pervasive the religious bias was in our area. She fondly remembers the stories of fairies from her younger days, and she relegates the religious stories to that same bin.

4 comments:

  1. I was shocked by how much religion my kids came home with from public schools. I had to get them out!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was rather surprising, eh?
      When my daughter was in Kindie, one day a week I went in for the afternoon to help in the classroom. It just so happened that the day I volunteered was also the day the class went to the library for the librarian to read to the kids and then let the kids pick out books.
      As the holiday got closer there were more and more Baby Jesus stories that I let slide. (Even though The Doctor's class was over half ESL, English as a Second Language and, therefore, unlikely to be all Christian.) Anyway, one day after hearing three baby Jesus stories WITH discussion, I just couldn't take it anymore.
      I called the Vice Principal and had a discussion with her. I was not happy.
      I was already planning on homeschooling at that point, but I thought the stories were WAY out of line.
      Like you, I was shocked with how much religion was there. The stuff coming from the kids was fine and not a problem at all. The school-sanctioned stuff pissed me off. My daughter was LOOKING for stuff like that too. At the age of five she was already a super sleuth!

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  2. Hello! Lisa from Texas here! Just found my way to your blog. I don't homeschool (I am afraid I would go the way of guppies and gerbils), but I can how some would see it as a viable alternative. I do substitute so I get exposure to the "culture" at the high school and middle school. I also am very involved in the kids' schoolwork. I just completed Algebra I for the third time and Algebra II for the second. The only homeschoolers I know here in Texas are the ones that want to shove more religion down their kids' throats than is already pervasively present (and illegal) in the schools already.

    My daughter took Choir in 4th grade and quit after the Xmas show because there were "too many Jesus songs, and they are boring". When her choir teacher called me as asked me I told her exactly what my daughter told me and she seemed rather put off... I wonder why. Now that I look back, I regret not complaining to the administration the fact that 75% of the songs they were singing in Choir at a public school were Christian and in violation of the "Establishment Clause".

    I am absolutely loving your blog and have just started my own from the perspective of a Progressive Atheist trapped in a Red State.

    Keep it up and thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback!
      It made me think of the stone age, when I was in school, and how likely we were to sing Christian Christmas songs in our public school. It didn't mean a thing to me then, but now, when I remember our holiday pageants and things I'm surprised with their song choices.
      I'll check out your blog!

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