Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Next I'm going to talk about Politics....

As many of you know Arthur and I are agnostic, bordering on atheist. I would say I was an atheist, but it requires a level of faith, that frankly, I don't have. If I could muster that much faith, I would likely believe in one of the world religions. But, I still think that it's really important that my kids understand the different kinds of faiths that are practiced around the world. We have a few books for kids that describe different religions, and my kids find them academically interesting, if nothing else.

The small town in which we live is dominated by Portuguese Catholics and Dutch Christian Reformers. My daughter's caregiver is of the latter faith and the kids pray at meal time and learn the standard children songs (Jesus loves me, etc.). I don't really mind (obviously, since she's been going there for 4 years), as it exposes her to other belief systems. Also, her caregiver is what I would term a true Christian, in that she is very tolerant, non-judgmental, and a very good person. Rather rare as fundamental Christians go.

Frankie has a number of friends whose families attend church regularly. He has attended Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, and Christian Reform churches, and also attends a Christian camp every summer (the facilities are great, the activities are wonderful, and it's a good price - what can I say?). For a while he proclaimed that he was 75% Christian. I suggested that I should start taking him to church then, at which point he let me know, conveniently, that church-going was the 25% that he was not. He decided that the idea of God (or at least the Christian God) was a silly idea at about the same time that he stopped believing in Santa. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Benji, on the other hand, relishes "rebelling" against us by declaring herself a Christian. That's fine with me. Although, at 5, I don't think she has a great handle on the topic.

In the car the other day, Benji raised her hand and said, "Everyone who believes in God, raise your hand." Frankie and I declined. "Well," she said, "I believe in God, but I don't think I believe in Jesus."

Frankie was quick on the draw. "You believe in God, but not in Jesus?" he asked.

"Yeah," she replied, "Jesus is just a nice guy. He's not God."

"Then you're not Christian," he said, "You're Jewish."

Semantics aside, he obviously took in more from those books than I thought.

We seem to have a longstanding reputation for being Jewish. When Arthur fist started his career in our town, he worked in an office that was swarming with fundamental Christians. They would discuss scripture in the lunch room and would constantly cast judgments about homosexuals, non-Christians, sinners, and the like. Political correctness not being thier strong suit, some of them would question Arthur about his faith. He stepped around the topic by just saying that he wasn't Christian. He is, however, a very good, ethical, kind, and spiritual person, so this, in the minds of his co-workers, was at odds with his lack of Christian faith. They made the assumption that he must be of a different faith. Because, apparently, it is impossible to be a good person without believing in something other than yoursel.

During the holidays, they would wish each other a "Merry Christmas" all around. When they got to Arthur, they would pause and say, "Happy Holidays" or "Happy Hanukkah." One of them said "Shalom, Arthur!" He never corrected them. I'm not sure what they think he is now. Likely just a pain in the ass.


At 12:42 AM, Blogger Carmi said...

I'm just going to laugh in my quiet little corner here. The Jewish Assumption - sounds like it needs its own Seinfeld episode - is too funny words words.

Magically, you found the words. Made my night.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Wheelson said...

"it is impossible to be a good person without believing in something other than yoursel."

"Yoursel" is Yiddish right?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Trillian said...

In fact it is Yiddish. It means "impatient person who doesn't use a spellchecker"


Post a Comment

<< Home