Monday, September 17, 2012

Going to church "for the Children"

[I have done several religious posts lately, and just want to state, for the record, that I don't hate the religious... just the bloated, bigoted, and brainwashing  institutions they choose to be part of.]

I don't have kids and don't plan on that ever changing, so maybe that makes me painfully unaware of something in this particular situation... but what makes perfectly fine parents turn to the church to help raise a child when they never attended of their own volition?

There has to be something behind it, because I see it happening all too often now that friends and family are adding to the population.

It's sort of a hypothetical question, because I know that, when pressed, most couples first response would be something about the church being a "positive community" in which to raise and teach their child. While I agree that finding such a place is important, I don't think church really qualifies as a positive environment. A community, sure... but the moral and ethical lessons taught by the religious are shallow, illogical, and, in my experience, tainted by the bigoted preferences of a community wishing for the "good old days" that weren't so good in retrospect (especially for anyone who wasn't a privileged, land-owning, white-man). After all, just look at who is fighting against progress, equality, and tolerance on every single issue in politics today. 

Many will jump in to say that, although that is happening on a large scale, their own little church doesn't support the actions of that larger community. Which is an understandable point if true; for instance, there are plenty of agnostics and atheists doing and supporting things I'm not necessarily behind, and I would not appreciate being bundled in with them. The difference is that I'm not part of a group that they are operating within. There is no church of doubters/non-believers that sends missionaries out to spread the word of logic and critical thought; and we certainly don't have lobbyists in DC pushing politicians for the causes we hold dear. And I avoid groups that have a crazy-bent to them. However, in the churches case, most local churches are part of something larger and many of those larger groups (denominations, conferences) support the decisions that the individual church supposedly does not; meaning that their "positive community" does indeed support those awful causes... and if they tithe like a good little sheep, so do they.

Perhaps, you may interject, the politics behind church is hidden so well that everyday people don't see or understand it... but that's just not the case. Many just refuse to see it and insert what they want or need from the experience instead, like some delusional fantasy playing out in real life; while others just convince themselves it isn't that bad or it's what god wants. But once you are on the outside looking in, its simple to see how deluded people become in that environment where everyone supposedly agrees with each other. For instance, when the strings do become obviously exposed, Churches split over the most juvenile things; like the color of the carpet in their renovated chapel or whether to allow divorcees to hold positions in the hierarchy (both of which happened in churches I attended growing up).

The problem is that, without the facade of everyone agreeing on something larger than life, we as humans have a difficult time coming together and being part of a community. I live in an apartment complex, and don't know any of my neighbors names by heart. I grew up on a street without any other children my age, and thus never got to know the people living around us. When I go to school, I make friends much more easily in classes I enjoy than classes I don't. We are creatures that bond over similarities. Sports, games, books, movies, booze, drugs, beliefs, culture, and so on. If we don't share something with another person, we count them as a mere acquaintance and look for someone else to befriend.

Thus, when looking for a community to raise a child in, the local church stands out as a place where, despite differing lifestyles and interests, people come together for a larger purpose... unfortunately, that larger purpose is to renew their brainwashing and help delude others (I'm sure you can tell that I'm not at all bitter about my childhood in the church...).

I guess the point of this is mainly just to vent, but it's also to ask why we have such a hard time teaching our children moral/ethical lessons ourselves, and why we can't foster communities with other parents and neighbors instead of defaulting to pre-made institutions we don't necessarily agree with. 

If you're so concerned with how your child is raised that you will put your own beliefs aside, why not do the work to ensure the community isn't bonkers, too. 

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