This is sort of a spin-off from my thread about 'Happy Holidays'. I have been amazed at how lively that discussion has become, and it has given me much food for thought.
One of the things that intrigues me is the strength of feeling about religious education in schools. Of course, I understand the issues of separation of church and state, and explained in the other thread that this is not the same in the UK, where I was educated. I feel that I have a greater understanding of other religions than, for example, dh, who was raised in the USA.
I'll try to explain what I'm grappling with at the moment......
I was raised within the Church of England, which is a very moderate Christian church. I guess for me, it was more a cultural/traditional experience than a greatly religious one. In any case, the British tend to be uncomfortable with public professions of faith, we have a saying 'never discuss politics or religion'. LOL
In school, (elementary through high school) we learned about many of the world's faiths. I found it really interesting, and loved religious education classes, especially when we got a chance to really debate. I had a great teacher in high school, who I'm sure influenced me more than anyone else in developing a view of religion in general. Everythng was always prefaced with 'Some people believe that...'
So, although culturally I view myself as a Christian, I"m really not concerned about what religion, if any, my children choose to follow later in life. I want to give them exposure to the church, and education about different religions, but from then on, whatever they choose, as long as it is through their own free will, that's fine with me.
So, when someone on the other thread showed how upset she'd be if her child sang a song about Christ, I realised that maybe I'm really unusual in this. I want my children to be exposed to different religions and beliefs and customs and celebrations. I actively want them to experience the wonder and excitement of all different cultures and beliefs.
For example, we joined friends in their celebration of Hannukah last week, and dd loved the dancing, candles, and singing. Dh enjoyed it, as he was raised in a Jewish/Catholic home, which I guess has maybe influenced us further in seeking diversity for ourselves and our children.
Does anyone else feel like this? I once recall chatting about religion to a very devout Catholic, who I met on holiday in Athens, in a hotel elevator. (Weird, I know, but it was a conversation that really struck a cord with me at the time, I was very young and seeking to make sense of my culture and upbringing). He said that he always imagined God up on top of a mountain. He had been born in the 'Catholic' meadow in the foothills of the mountain, so he travelled the Catholic path towards God. I was travelling the CofE path. Others were travelling from the Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or whatever, meadows, but we were all going up the same mountain. Our view may be different, and our path may be different, but our destination was the same.
So, I really want my children to celebrate diversity and the richness of human spirituality. Whatever they choose to believe, or not believe, will be fine with me. I'd welcome them learning the story of Diwali at school, or celebrating Eid, or the solstice. Maybe my feelings also stem from the fact that I don't believe that any one faith has 'got it right'. How can we have it all worked out, if we are mere mortals, anyway? And does it really matter, as long as we live life in the best way we can, according to the principles of our religion/beliefs?
How do others feel about their children's exposure to different belief systems?