There's a recent article talking about a study where one in five scientists who describe themselves as atheists or agnostics go to church. Why? Because they want to expose their children to religion so they can choose for themselves.
This describes Hubby to a T. He's not a believer but he has the background of one (unlike what the article describes). And he goes to Mass. Why? Well, it's not really because of me I assure you. He wouldn't come to Mass with me before kids. But he goes now. He thinks it's good that the kids decide for themselves what to believe.
This article spawned a conversation for us. His thinking is that the vast majority of non-believers are open to their children becoming religious or not religious, but in Hubby's view, this is not true of religious people. He stipulates that religious people "force" religion on their children.
Let me explain more. What he means is that religious people make their children go to church.
Okay. First of all, I don't believe anyone can force anyone to believe anything. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. All any religious parent can do is pray, teach, guide, and trust. So no matter what I say, I can't "force" my children to believe anything.
Now the forcing going to church thing...I think if they are still minor and under my care and direction, they are going to church. Not because I'm forcing them to believe, but it is part of my job to educate. Even minors who may not want to go to school are still under obligation to do so. Therefore, this is the same for religious education and worship (which I consider a vital component to religious education). And if Hubby doesn't like it, well tough.
As for the forcing adult children to go to church....that I won't do and really can't do. This is akin to the most recent news of a club owner agreeing to help out two financially strapped adults if they agreed to follow his rules or else endure spanking. Yeah, that's correct. The man got two years in jail for assault because spanking adults is not cool (and neither is children but we won't argue that here). Suffices to say, you can't force an adult person like that.
In Hubby's view, what happens is that if a person is not religious and his/her parents are they will be ostracized from the family and that's wrong. I agree that it's not the right way of going about converting a soul. But Hubby thinks this is the normal route for religious people.
So here's my question in the form of a poll: If you are a religious person, would you disown your adult children if they were not religious?
And what are your thoughts about children who don't believe (by this I mean teenagers)? How would you handle it if your 15 year old told you they didn't believe in God?