Religion and People-Making

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So I grew up in a somewhat religious Jewish household - kept kosher, went to synagogue fairly regularly, etc. Gradually drifted from agnosticism into total atheism in college, and have only done a handful of remotely religious things since.

Now a daughter is on the way and I'm having a bit of a crisis about the whole thing. For example, sitting down to dinner tonight it occurred to me that I grew up saying a blessing (jewish grace, basically) every meal, and even though I haven't done it in years, something made me want my future daughter to do the same (my wife grew up completely atheist and this would be a bit strange to her).

Religion also provides this kind of instant community, gives you a lot of activities to do with your children, provides a kind of pre-packaged moral system (if a flawed one), etc.

At the same time, I don't in any real sense believe in God, and I can't imagine teaching the bible as anything more than stories.

Wondering if/how other people-makers have dealt with this sort of thing.

extremely lewd and incredibly crass (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 03:23 (five years ago) Permalink

hey man i'm not a people-maker yet but i've actually thought about this a lot--i followed a similar path to you w/catholicism and feel like growing up catholic is a fairly relevant thing about me/my identity and it's weird to think that i would raise a kid who doesn't grow up with that--but i'm certainly not going to be the one to take them to mass and put them in ccd and whatever.

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 03:44 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah it's very much identity and just a "this is how I grew up" kind of thing. Like as though there would be something empty about growing up without it.

extremely lewd and incredibly crass (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 03:53 (five years ago) Permalink

grew up devout protestant churches, atheist HS daze, swore off religion etc

ffwd to present day, my wife and I are members of a Unitarian universalist church. def room for atheists and agnostics and other spiritual weirdos. not sure what UU churches aree like up there, tho, so ymmv.

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 03:56 (five years ago) Permalink

there's also a Jewish group that meets at our church, I think they are theologically more out there than reform judiasm

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 03:58 (five years ago) Permalink

we don't have kids yet fwiw but we do teach Sunday school

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:00 (five years ago) Permalink

not to prosletyze, but I feel like UU churches and their I'll are good places for ppl who grew up religious and want community and even some ritual, but don't want the superstition

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:02 (five years ago) Permalink

hurting, i'm not a parent either but my husband is jewish so my two cents: his parents belonged to a humanistic judaism synagogue (not sure if i'm phrasing that right), so he went to sunday school and all that stuff, and they celebrated the high holidays, and he is v fluent is the jewish tradition, but didn't get all the moral stuff forced on him - is that maybe an option you could explore? you kind of end up with all the ritual and tradition but none of the theism.

just1n3, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:17 (five years ago) Permalink

not really related at all but i lol'd the other day when my friend posted on facebook that her 5 yr old had just asked her what a ghost is. i mean, where do you even start with questions like that?? i'd be way more comfortable answering sex questions.

just1n3, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:19 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah I have considered going the route of ultra-progressive, not very *religious* synagogues, which do exist in NYC.

extremely lewd and incredibly crass (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:20 (five years ago) Permalink

not to prosletyze, but I feel like UU churches and their I'll are good places for ppl who grew up religious and want community and even some ritual, but don't want the superstition

― oneohtrix and park (m bison), Monday, January 16, 2012 11:02 PM (19 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

hey m bise maybe you can help me out here--like, what do uu churches latch on to? what's the overarching thing that brings ppl together? give my background it's v. hard for me to conceive of tbh.

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:22 (five years ago) Permalink

I was raised Roman Catholic with the whole Catholic school business and even two years in a Catholic college. I still don't know how we are going to raise our little girl on the way. There is a sentimentality involved with the religion, for me, the ritual and cultural aspects weigh heavy but on the other hand I don't want to burden her with all the superstition and guilt and not sure how I feel about organized religion in general. I don't even attend church regularly anymore, not even on the holy days of obligation. So raising her Catholic would mean having to get with it again.

*tera, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 06:51 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah it's very much identity and just a "this is how I grew up" kind of thing. Like as though there would be something empty about growing up without it.

I feel there might be something empty, then again I have never done this so maybe there won't. I also feel that feeling that way is superstitious. Christmas and Easter was Santa, Easter bunny and church, then we celebrated saint days.

*tera, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:01 (five years ago) Permalink

i was raised rc and my kids have had no interaction with religion at all. kinda weird to hear "who is jesus" questions but otherwise i don't give it much thought.

buzza, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:05 (five years ago) Permalink

My 7-year-old is currently getting bullied by a girl in his class who laughs at him for not believing in god and tells him hehs going to hell.

beachville, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 11:32 (five years ago) Permalink

Also, this weekend at my in-laws house, he ran out of the poolroom yelling "I'm Samson!" and shaking his hair around. The in-laws are both former Catholics and sometimes when they get drunk, they tell him Bible stories. I don't really mind, although I should probably take the reins and find ways to introduce him to the Bible on my own terms.

beachville, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:39 (five years ago) Permalink

hey m bise maybe you can help me out here--like, what do uu churches latch on to? what's the overarching thing that brings ppl together? give my background it's v. hard for me to conceive of tbh.

― call all destroyer, Monday, January 16, 2012 10:22 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

w/o consulting Wikipedia for official church words, I would say love and service to humanity are the kind of overarching themes, so I guess something of a humanist bent. it makes god-belief optional as long as you are good to people and are ~fighting4justice~. by nature it attracts overwhelmingly progressive/liberal types since there's not the whole fealty to an almighty thing. so, outside of theology, there's a p strong consensus on social issues (inviting and inclusive of glbtq, v pro choice, i guess leery of capitalism, etc). it's a p well educated bunch, diverse in age composition, not racially tho, lotta tumblr whites

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:50 (five years ago) Permalink

then again, the old adage comes to mind, Sunday is the most segregated day in America

oneohtrix and park (m bison), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:51 (five years ago) Permalink

Both sunny and I are lapsed Catholics. I still have a tenuous hold on the Christian faith, but I long ago fell out of any celebration of organized religion.

But that said, she goes to a Methodist learning center, and in addition to spelling and art, there are also prayers before lunch and chapel services on Wednesdays.

There are a lot of higher questions we can try to answer together when she's older, but for now at four, when she asks if Jesus loves her, I tell her that yes, He does. But that's as far as it goes for now except for when Grampa comes over and says Grace over the takeout pizza.

pplains, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:58 (five years ago) Permalink

My daughter goes to a day care, to clarify.

pplains, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:58 (five years ago) Permalink

my wife was raised by a deeply lapsed Catholic (ie, divorced teen mom who was afraid to ever set foot in the church again) and I was raised in a reform Judaism household. My wife has zero interest in establishing any religious traditions of her own, but I do have a distinct interest in my daughter (now 4) being aware of her cultural heritage as a Jew and as such we have taken her to seders, lit the candles on Hannukah, etc ... I would probably join a temple if I could find one that I liked that didn't have insane dues, but I have yet to really come across one that interests me in San Francisco. In some ways this may be easier for me than for other parents - having been brought up in an extended family of extremely non-observant Jews (ie, identify as Jews but never went to Temple) I don't feel a pressing obligation to immediately sign my daughter up for Hebrew school and indoctrinate her into a theology I don't agree with. At the same time, Judaism encompasses a very broad set of beliefs so I don't really have a problem with picking a choosing what I introduce to my daughter. I'm sure I'll read her stuff from the Bible at some point, because there are awesome stories in the Bible, and I'll tell her that they're from a book that Jewish people have been reading and re-reading and writing commentaries on for thousands of years.

“How you like that, Mr. Hitler!” (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 17 January 2012 20:46 (five years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Hoping to find videos that retell/summarize key stories of the bible that I could share with my 11 year old. Preferably from a secular/atheist perspective, but non-fedora.

Just recently have found that biblical references tend to bring things to a screeching halt for him. All like "wait, what's Noah? I don't get it." Want to inform him without taking too much of his time or being preachy. Something accessible.

Could be any other religions too! Odinism, Hindu, ancient Babylonian religion, whatever. But not being familiar with the basic Jewish Christian stuff seems like it could be a roadblock to understanding.

how's life, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:11 (one year ago) Permalink

oh man so much biblical crap out there, it's a bitch to sort through

on the hinduism end there's this incredible book, which is great for little kids:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81Aj5ZLt5sL.jpg

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:18 (one year ago) Permalink

whoa. that looks holy shit awesome.

how's life, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:20 (one year ago) Permalink

he is an ex-Pixar (I think?) guy, he has a couple other hindu-themed book, one about how Ganesha broke his tooth, one that's just a catalog of gods/godesses - but the Ramayana one is the best of the crop

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:27 (one year ago) Permalink

I think yr problem is going to be that most biblical stuff is not created from a cultural-studies kind of perspective, it's created primarily for believers to indoctrinate their children.

11 is old enough to read some of R. Crumb's "Book of Genesis" imo (altho you'd probably want to skip certain chapters and you'd have to be okay with boobs and lots of body hair lol). That's a faithful rendition that's done by a non-believer.

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:30 (one year ago) Permalink

most biblical stuff is not created from a cultural-studies kind of perspective

Yeah, that is very much my problem.

The Crumb thing sounds mostly okay, but not quite there yet for some of the genesis material. Suppose I could ask my local comic shop guys if they had anything in this vein, but I think it would get re-shelved in favor of some Batman.

how's life, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:39 (one year ago) Permalink

i think these are excellent for children but probably contain religious content as well - you may have to be prepared to skip paragraphs you're not in love with:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Midrash-Says-Beraishis/dp/B000FT6BSG

there's a few volumes (and i just asked my brother and he says it's not so religious and more just the plain midrashim).

Mordy, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:46 (one year ago) Permalink

the first volume probably contains most of what you want (bereshis deals w/ adam + eve, noah, abraham, etc), the second one is the exodus narrative, the others are only of interest if you're particularly committed to giving your kid a thorough jewish education and not just a broad religious one.

Mordy, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:48 (one year ago) Permalink

kids books of Bible stories are probly reasonably innocuous as long as you discuss context first imo

probs with the skag (Noodle Vague), Monday, 1 June 2015 16:49 (one year ago) Permalink

altho if it's factual references maybe an age-appropriate encyclopedia wd be the way to go?

probs with the skag (Noodle Vague), Monday, 1 June 2015 16:51 (one year ago) Permalink

"Books" are definitely off-track though. He's got plenty of books that I'd rather he read that he doesn't get around to. Looking specifically for videos.

how's life, Monday, 1 June 2015 16:57 (one year ago) Permalink

ah didn't read you properly, okay non-polemical videos is probly much harder.

probs with the skag (Noodle Vague), Monday, 1 June 2015 16:59 (one year ago) Permalink

I feel like my ideal would be something along the lines of Crash Course, which has this episode on historical Christianity, but doesn't go very deep into the stories.

But even fairly straight-forward bible cartoons that are well-written and not TOTALLY BORING. I've gone through so much garbage on youtube. I'm sure it's gonna fuck up my recommendations for like a week.

how's life, Monday, 1 June 2015 17:01 (one year ago) Permalink

hmm yeah I got nothin in the video dept sorry

Οὖτις, Monday, 1 June 2015 17:04 (one year ago) Permalink

me neither

Mordy, Monday, 1 June 2015 17:14 (one year ago) Permalink

probs with the skag (Noodle Vague), Monday, 1 June 2015 17:30 (one year ago) Permalink

I think there is some value in this godley play stuff but it's supposed to be performed rather than filmed and idk how you would seek it out

ogmor, Monday, 1 June 2015 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink

*godly

ogmor, Monday, 1 June 2015 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink


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