Saturday, February 28, 2015

Church chat

Prudie's answer: Yes, because of enlightened reasons, but —

... you have a requirement he needs to fulfill. You want him to write an essay (minimum two typed pages) about the progression of his (dis)beliefs, and he must cite examples of people who have struggled with lack of faith—Biblical sources get extra credit. Then, if he takes this assignment seriously, release him. But say this doesn’t mean he gets to watch TV or play video games while his brother is getting religious instruction. Have your husband agree that Sunday will be bonding time for the two skeptics. Maybe when they hike to the top of a mountain one day, your son will look around and feel a spiritual awakening.


This advice is the equivalent of a particularly rude smoker who insists everyone else step outside the hospital if they don't like the secondhand smoke.

While I'm sure the kid (who is 12) could easily articulate his beliefs in two pages (or, for that matter, 20), why should he have to? After two years, it's beyond clear that church does nothing for him but make him miserable. That alone should be enough to seal it. Especially given that 1) the father no longer goes either; 2) attendance brings out the worst in him (and no doubt bums out everyone else); and 3) the mom herself admits she was bored by her church at the same age.

I see no reason why the kid should have to justify not going through the motions. Maybe his mom should write an essay about why she's made her son endure two years of living a painful lie. Though that might teach her more than her son.

Prudie's advice is especially puzzling given what she says right before proffering it:

There are some people who believe that one’s degree of religious belief has a large genetic component. That means in societies in which everyone appears to be pious, many are secretly saying to themselves, “This is a crock.”

Well said, though I wouldn't necessarily say merely "many" or even "secretly." It's fairly easy to tell between who goes to church because they want to, and those who go out of some family or social obligation. I'd guess the ratio is near 50-50. 

I'm a big fan of not doing something you hate for no reason. My stance, solidified in childhood, is that you should go to church only if you want to. It should give you something. If it isn't doing anything for your mind or soul, not only are you not benefiting, but you're probably harming yourself in the form of discontent and resentment.

Who knows? Maybe not going will eventually compel you back in the fold. But if it doesn't, so what? Then you can do something more satisfying with your Sundays. 

I don't think the deities take attendance. But if they do and your spiritual honesty gets you in trouble in the aftersphere, at least you'll get to hang out with me and some amazing bands.

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