The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


Spiritually Perplexed: A Hard Choice for a Non-Religious Parent…

I am incredibly perplexed.

Now, just a note. While I am open to your comments, I’d like for you to keep in mind that I am allowed my own opinions and I definitely don’t want to be preached to. I have a lady that comes to my door once a week to preach to me and I’m approached multiple times a month on the street by people wanting to preach to me. I’ve made up my religious mind for myself and no amount of preaching is going to make me any less skeptical.

Recently, a church has become coming around our street asking all the kids to join their Sunday school. A couple of my neighbors are sending their kids off every Sunday to this church and of course, it’s peaked my kids’ interest. Now normally, I don’t talk much about my religion, mostly because I know that it’s a really sensitive situation in a public forum, but I seriously cannot figure out what the heck I think or feel about the situation. I am… Perplexed!

I am not religious. When I was younger, I was very interested in anything spiritual. I began going to Sunday school when I was very young (albeit my mom was raised by christian people, so it was just the natural progression of things), and I continued going to Sunday school on and off until I was 14.

Somewhere around the time that I was about 11, I was madly dedicated to my church. A very nice methodist church, where one of the things that I loved most is that my preacher wasn’t preachy. I would show up at 7:30 AM (over an hour before the first service), so that I could help set up the church and all the sound equipment. The early morning service was always my favorite, because it’s when all the younger people would show up. I’d stay all through that and all through the snack afterwards and then stay for the second service, which was mostly for the older folks.

I started off going to Kids’ Club on Fridays after school, where I worked on becoming a Leader-In-Training. Then, when I was old enough, I started going to teen nights on Friday nights, and began leading what we called the Kindergarten class in Kids’ Club. I would spend days out with all my religious friends, most of whom seemed more like hippies than religious nuts. Every special event the Church held, I was a part of. My first experience with journal writing was a journal one of the preachers gave me to write to God and, I did so daily!

At the same time that I was this total Jesus freak, I became interested in Wiccanism and Paganism. The occult in general. I’d read like there was no tomorrow about deities and the devil. I was highly interested in crystals, tarot cards and rune cards. My Dad bought me my first pack of rune cards and I later, and finally, bought myself some tarot cards. I still have most of my tarot card-related books and my first book of shadows with The Wiccan Rede (the only poem I’ve ever been able to remember by heart) and some of my favorite spells, especially binding spells.

One by one, things started to occur that made my faith in God and my curiosity in other spiritual paths disappear. I can tell you the day that I lost all hope that there was a God. I believed in the love of God, in his awesome power, and one tiny thing made those beliefs walk away from me. When I think back to it now, I think that it seems so small, it seems like such a tiny reason to stop believing. But as I grew up and now live in the world that I live in, I have no doubt in my mind that there is no God.

The great thing about my spiritual life is that I was always allowed to make up my own mind. My mom never went to church when we were growing up, and we’d practically have to drag her along to Christmas concerts. But she let us go to church as kids, and she’d read our bible-related books to us and we’d sing religious songs together. But she was always supportive in my lack of faith and never condemned me for it.

I am a parent that strongly believes that I need to let my kids make a lot of their own decisions. I mean, obviously with input from their Mom, but I want them to be allowed to have their own thoughts, feelings and opinions apart from mine. That’s even, for the most part, how I raised them as babies. I didn’t potty-train a single one of them. I simply let them decide when they were ready (of course, I make this sound simple, but really, it was probably as much in the pain in the ass as potty-training is… Just more stressing about cleaning up than stressing about whether your kid was meeting some sort of developmental deadline…).

But now I’ve got this decision to make. Do I let them go to this Sunday school even though I’m totally against it, because I want them to be able to make their own decisions about God, or do I keep them from Sunday school and just continue teaching them about God in the most unbiased way I know how (which is very unbiased, and I never say to them that I don’t believe in God – partially because I don’t want the question of “Why don’t you believe in God?” and also partially because like I said, I want them to make that decision independent of my thoughts.)?

One part of me is screaming not to do it. I don’t want some preacher telling them about God and then them eventually having their hearts broken (even if only for a short time) by the emotional struggle that goes on when you choose not to believe in the God you had dedicated so much time building faith in. The other part of me is saying that I should let them go and at least have that experience. I went to Sunday school, why shouldn’t they? Then again, that doesn’t seem very logical. You would probably scoff if that sentence was, “I got spanked, why shouldn’t they?” instead…

It’s just one of those things that I am so confused about. I honestly do not know what I want to do. Right now, I’ve told everyone including the kids that my answer is no, they aren’t going to church. But as the weeks pass by, I am noticing I’m often thinking about it and questioning my thoughts on it. Send them to Sunday school or don’t? Let others preach to them about something I don’t believe in, or don’t? It’s these types of decisions that are the hardest part of parenting for me. Not what type of food I’m going to feed them or what type of diapers I’m going to buy or what doctor their going to see. It’s the decisions that are going to shape the type of people they’re going to be that are the hardest for me….

For now, I’ll just stay perplexed… (Sorry if this post was a little rambly, my brain was all over the place!)