Monday, March 15, 2010

There are better things to fight about

If you weren't already aware, my husband and I are atheists. That doesn't necessarily mean we're raising our children to be atheists, despite our parents' (irrational) fears. Instead, we take more of a "free thinkers" method, though I didn't realize it had a name until I read Dale McGowan's Raising Freethinkers.

Since we began homeschooling, we've been studying history chronologically and science from an evolutionary stand point*. Since we're just now getting toward the year 1CE, we've yet to really dig in to Christianity and have only briefly touched on other "modern" religions. The majority of our focus has been on the ancient religions of the middle eastern and eastern world and standard physical science.
*My 11yo has obviously had more time than the girls studying history and science before being homeschooled, but we all know how school textbooks typically deal with these things.

Despite not being raised to be good little (enter any religion here), my children have managed to translate what they know to a broader concept.

J and I were having a conversation in the car, discussing whether it was feasible to be both Jewish and Christian (his father's family is Jewish and mine is Christian). Rather than give him an answer, I gave him a few contradicting points to consider. H and M were quick to take offense.

"Stop fighting. It isn't okay to fight about religion!"

I found it fascinating that 1, they would consider our calm, polite conversation to be 'fighting' and 2, that they - my 'unsocialized and sheltered' little girls - intuitively understood the personal nature of belief and the hurt that can be caused by (perceived or real) challenges to those beliefs.

Obviously I need to work on explaining the differences between discussion, debate, and fights. Our upcoming lessons on the Roman invasion of Britain should prove interesting. And as they continue to prepare for Tooth Fairy visits while questioning the plausibility of Santa Clause, I really have no idea where their world view will end up. But I'm pretty confident in their ability to determine what makes sense to them while respecting the ideas that lead others to different conclusions.

As of right now, J is still determined to mesh Christianity with Judaism. H labels herself a polytheist. M is determined to find fairies and C worships whoever holds the cookies. If they can manage to live together and respect each other (at least on this point, lol), how is it that so many adults have so much trouble doing so?

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