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Christianity Losing My Religion: Why I'm Raising My Child To Believe In Science, Not God

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Tejwant Singh, May 21, 2013.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Losing My Religion: Why I'm Raising My Child to Believe in Science, Not God

    By Babble.com | Parenting – 3 hours ago

    Every two or three blocks on the avenues of downtown Brooklyn, a big old stone church rises from the ranks of the brownstones. A couple of weeks ago, my little boy Felix pulled his trike to the curb and squinted at the steeple of one.

    "What's that castle, Da-da?"

    "It's not a castle, it's a church."

    "What's a church?"

    "It's a place where people go to worship god."

    "What's god?"

    "God is a concept some people believe in. A creative force, I guess you'd say."

    "Huh."

    And with that, he rode on. I must admit, this isn't the most compelling definition of the supreme being I could think of - I attended Catholic school for nine years and am steeped in Bible lore. I could've told him the story of the Garden of Eden, in which god-with-a-capital-G appears as a benevolent father whom his creations defy, or perhaps recounted how the vengeful deity punished Sodom and Gomorrah, or the demanding dictator demanded Her loyal subject Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Or I could've went New Testament and talked about Jesus, and The Golden Rule, and the Virgin Mary. But while I'm familiar with these stories and dig many of them - they're dramatic narratives, no doubt - I don't believe these tales are true in any literal or even metaphoric sense.

    I'm agnostic on a good day. Most days, I identify as straight-up atheist. I seem to lack something required for believing in a god - "Faith!" some of you will say. Yes, I do lack that, and have for as long as I can remember. Even in Catholic school, where reciting dogma meant receiving good grades, the stories just seemed to me to be only that: stories.

    The first time I received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, in third grade, I looked over at my best friend, kneeling at a nearby pew, his face transfixed with some emotion I wasn't experiencing. The wafer lacked flavor, it sucked up my spit, turning to a gummy mash that I affixed to the roof of my mouth with my tongue. "This is it?" I thought. "God? He needs salt."

    And then I glanced up at the vaulted ceiling, wondering if I might burst into flame at this blasphemy. But no. Instead, I had to stifle my giggles. We had prepared weeks, memorizing prayers, processing in lines down the church aisle for hours, and put on really uncomfortable suits, all for a priest to feed us a cardboard-flavored circle? It seemed like a big joke, only no one else was laughing.

    Perhaps, as has recently (and controversially) been proposed, what I'm missing is the gene for religious belief. Or maybe I'm naturally not a follower, always standing askance to movements of any sort, whether faith-based or political. Could be I'm just one bad boy who'll get my comeuppance in the afterlife. Who knows! But it's always felt foreign, this faith thing. The nihilists in the movie The Big Lebowski, with their chorus of "We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing." stirred me more than Charlton Heston's cold hands holding those slabs of stone in The Ten Commandments ever did. The only thing I believe in with any certainty is myself.

    And while I don't think anyone should choose their children's religion for them, obviously we raise our children in an environment that we select and which impacts them and shapes their belief system. We go to this church or that temple, or we don't go to worship at all; we pray aloud or silently or not at all; we talk about a god or gods or we never mention him/her/or it, whatever the case may be. Our kids learn from watching and listening to us, and my son will learn that I view god as a construct, a device people rely on to help explain the world and what happens to them. A means - through prayer or supplication or worship - by which they feel agency in events over which they have no or little control.

    This doesn't strike me as a big deal, but I've been questioned about it before, the interrogator's tone one of mock-shocked disbelief. What about ethics? Or morality? How will Felix know right from wrong? As if having a conscience depends on having religion, something anyone who tunes in to the news knows is a fallacy. (Say "Roman Catholic priests," for example, and the first thing that pops into my mind is the word "scandal.")

    I will, at some point, introduce Felix to Bible stories. I'm a voracious reader and movie watcher, and Biblical stories infiltrate our culture so much that a certain amount of cultural literacy is lost if you don't know them. (My wife has had very little exposure to The Bible; references to plagues of locust or thirty pieces of silver go right over her head.) I also hope he'll be interested in philosophy and anthropology and good stories of any sort - in short, that he meet the world with a curious, open mind and a warm heart.

    I'll encourage him to read about Buddhism and the Quran and the Bushido and the sayings of Confucius and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and no education in human behavior is complete without the short stories of Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver and A.M. Homes, and the novels of Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut and Lynne Tillman, each of which provide interesting examples of humanity in all its admirable compassion and deplorable savagery, and which raise important questions about life, the universe, and everything.

    So what will my son believe in? Science, I guess. Though science isn't really something one believes in so much as it's a set of expectations built on observation. Let a glass go and it will drop - that's gravity at work. I can't see it, but I can feel it, and its invisible presence affects my every motion. Already, at not yet four, he's a kid interested in the physical, building an understanding of the world based on what he sees and hears and witnesses to be reliable and logical. Even the stories that most kids swallow without question he wonders about. The Easter Bunny didn't fly this year - it just doesn't make any sense. I have a feeling Santa is soon to fall.

    My wife and I are interested in science and the humanities; we're not believers. Nor, it seems, is our son. Does this come from nature or nurturing or a little bit of both? Who knows. One thing's for sure. I don't think it's divine!

    By Brian Gresko
    Follow Brian on Babble

    http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/losing-religion-why-im-raising-child-believe-science-162300943.html
     
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  3. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Science=Hukam

    these people are Sikhs!
     
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  4. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Sikhs with no belief in Waheguru Ji? It almost seems like an oxymoron...

    That's fine that some people only believe in science... but my problem with Athiesm and putting all your beliefs in science is...

    "The Mystical, The Magical, The Divine... is just science that's yet to be discovered" In other words, we can't at this point in time think we know everything there is to know about science - we'd be insane to think so. After all, not that long ago, people thought the earth was flat and that was known science at the time! How dare someone theorize that the earth was a sphere! If you existed during that time you would have argued that the Earth was indeed flat and that the Sun, Moon and stars revolved around the Earth. And you would have argued that was all there was to reality... after all you walk on flat ground and the idea of people on the other side of a sphere hanging perpetually upside down would have been be very alien to you, because that truth was not yet discovered.

    So to base your whole belief system on science as it exists today (which is incomplete) I believe people are missing out on a lot of information about what reality is just because science is not complete (and will it ever be?).

    Someday, I believe we will be able to prove that the physical is not the base of existence but consciousness is... that there is a creative conscious design to the Universe - ie God. And I believe we will do that though science... but we are not there yet. In the mean time... people end up basing their beliefs on what science we know exists today. That's putting all your faith and belief in an incomplete theorem.

    Since science is always evolving, those people inevitably will possess an 'incomplete' thinking or belief about the Universe, and/or will change their views as new discoveries are made. This defeats the purpose of faith IMO. After all, those people who lived when the Earth was thought to be flat... if they were teleported to today and shown scientific proof the earth was indeed a sphere... their whole belief system would obviously change. (Meaning they were never correct to begin with, or they lacked the complete picture... which is my point. Science will always lack the complete and whole picture because we can NEVER assume that we will possess ALL scientific knowledge. And I think we are actually still in the primitive stages as far as it's concerned).

    So back to the original post... it's good that people question things... that leads to discovery... but they should never base their core belief about the Universe and reality and God on what CURRENT science shows them. They should have an open mind - and accept that there are things that current science just can't explain! - It doesn't mean science will never be able to explain those things... it just means that we are still in the stages of discovery and there is a LOT left to be discovered yet - and the existence of Waheguru Ji - God - Allah - Jehova - Yahweh - etc. may be one of those things.
     
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  5. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    apologies, Bhenji, it was said tongue in cheek, allow me to give you some background, I get many people come in my shop, and they talk about their attitudes and how they live their life, and often, they will say, I am not sure what I am, and I will say, 'oh your Sikh you live a Sikh way of life'. As I firmly believe Waheuguru is non intervening, you could say I have no belief in Waheguru, as I do not converse with Waheguru, I do not pray to Waheguru, I do not ask anything nor do I expect anything. I accept the presence of Waheguru, and it is comforting to know that I am in tune with the creative energy, but to me Waheguru is not a person I can talk to or have a relationship with.

    I do not believe in the mystical or the magical, as for the divine, as in divine intervention? well I do not believe in that either, everything science calls fact is merely Hukam.

    I base my whole belief system on Hukam, which is proven science, anything else is as you say mystical, magical,


    excellent, when it is proven, then I will add it to my Hukam list!

    Hmmm where do you draw the line? the world is your lobster, men in flying chariots. Gods with several arms, animal faces, we are limited by our imagination by your reckoning, we can complete the picture in any way we wish

    Your right, I will start building an airbourne garage for the new hover car I expect to buy in sometime in the next 30 years, I may as well dump the wife and start saving up for one of those fembots lol lol , lots of things could happen, but what is happening today and now, in my view is what is important.

    <!-- google_ad_section_end -->
     
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  6. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    I accept that there is some sort of creative Force behind this (and every other) universe. That Force set up this universe to run by certain rules that we call Natural Law. The study and discovery of Natural Law is what we call Science. (Note: Natural Law might be able to exist without a creative Force, but I just don't see how, perhaps my brain is just too limited.)

    Accepting certain attributes of this creative Force [hereafter called CF] is called Religion. Different ideas and opinions about this CF give rise to different Religions. Denying the existence of this CF is called Atheism.

    Using these ideas as a basis, there can be no contradiction between Science and Religion, although obviously there must be disagreements amongst the various Religions.

    I am a Sikh. This is how I choose to relate to CF.My most basic beliefs about CF are contained in the Mool Mantar, elaborated on in the japji Sahib and further delineated in the Guru Granth Sahib and expounded on by numerous scholars and believers of varying intelligence and insight.

    I would teach my children well my beliefs according to the above ideas, following the beliefs and practices of Sikhi as our lifestyle, a way of life that works superbly well for me. I love living this way and would hope my children would as well. Other parents must be free to do the same with their own children.

    I cannot make it any simpler than this. Making religion too simple is taboo in our society.

    In my sixth decade of this life, I am dedicating myself to examining the taboos by which we live. To do this I must first bring them to consciousness. This will no doubt cause me to come up with slightly different ways of seeing things. I have discovered that most of our taboos seem to involve religion, race and ethnicity, and bodily functions. I have no idea what I'll come up with. Stay tuned. :peacesignkaur::icecreamkaur:
     
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    #5 Inderjeet Kaur, May 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  7. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I am not saying that there is mystical or magicakal things... what I am saying is that things which are currently thought of as mystical or magickal, could in fact just be things we can not yet explain by science. But absence of proof does not equal proof of absence... A prime example would be eclipses... which for thousands of years were thought of as mystical omens and harbingers of evil etc. We know today that is not the case, because we know what causes an eclipse. But for the people who existed long ago, an eclipse was very much seen as something mystical or magickal.

    Again, I didn't say those things were mystical or magical... I said that they were yet to be explained by science, illustrating the point that science in its current state is still in its infancy.



    Again, proving my point that science is incomplete and to base your entire belief system on science as it 'currently' exists, means that inevetibly, your beliefs will change with time as new discoveries are made.

    Those who put their belief in the creator, without current scientific proof (many may have personal spiritual proof however) but for those people, and I am one of them... our beliefs will never change. No discovery in science can disprove a conscious creator...


    My limitations are based on SGGS, which tells me the nature of the creator... in the very first words the Mool Mantra describes the nature of the Creator. Formless, Without Hate, Without Enmity, Beyond Birth and Death... and further illustrated throughout SGGS where words used to describe suggest a conscious creator... all 'knowing' and even more, SGGS describes everything as ONE, that we all contain the divine spark and that (from P 736) the creator is the director of this 'play' playing the parts of all the characters (us) and it goes on to specifically say that when the play is over and the costumes are removed, there is only ONE. Meaning there really only ever was ONE in existence. This drives my belief that one of the main purposes to life is wake up and realize who we are and just how connected to Waheguru Ji and each other we really are. Those beliefs will never change based on science because science will never be able to disprove them! Scientific rules are confined to the 'play' and can only ever diefine things within it. Waheguru Ji exists beyond the physical Universe.





    I am not saying its not important... but what I am saying is that one's complete view of the Universe should never be limited by what we think we currently know. Because we are foolish to think we have it all figured out in the here and now. I was jsut explaining how I have a hard time with Atheism, and basing an entire belief system on a set of rules that inevitibly will change over time... and hence those beliefs will also.
     
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  8. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Akashaji Bhenji

    I am just an ex junkie, gambler, bankrupt, drunk and womaniser with several heart attacks and a quad bypass under my belt. I have never had a spritual experience in my life, the only reason I am a Sikh is because it happens to agree with what I learned in life from having the **** kicked out of me.

    I have no interest in salvation, enlightenment, heaven, or eating ambrosia rice pudding and drinking nectar, all I wish to do is spend the rest of my life on this earth in some sort of productive fashion, to use what I have learned and put it to some sort of benefit.

    I am mentioning this because it is important to the discusson, we are very far apart in our needs and wants from Sikhism, reading the above, I happen to agree with everything you have written, and if I had not had the life I have had, I would probably embrace it like you have, but I have, so I cannot.

    There are many like me, we live a Sikh life, by Sikh ideals, we accept Creator as the supreme, and thats it, period.

    We seem to butt heads now and then, I just wished to explain myself, this is the path I have chosen for me, I would not laud it for anyone else.

    Thanks
     
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    #7 Harry Haller, May 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  9. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Harry Ji, so sorry to hear that you had a hard life... and if I could give you my experiences with the spiritual...I would.
     
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  10. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Bhenji

    I have had a GREAT life, I did everything I wanted to do, and paid the price, and the price was fair, I learned a lot, and now I am settled and happy, thank you for your very kind sentiments.

    I guess the point I am making is that there are many many Sikhs around us, most of whom do not even realise it
     
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  11. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Me, too.

    My only regret is that I have sometimes been needlessly unkind. I have learned a lot that way, but I don't like learning at the expense of others. Maybe you'd like a true story, which might be relevant here. I ask the indulgence of ourbeloved administrators. It does sort of fit here.

    A while back, I happened to meet and get into a conversation about Sikhi with a semi-prominent Christian evangelist who - for reasons that will become obvious - must remain anonymous. I expected the usual "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" pitch. Was I ever surprised when he skipped all that and said,"Your Sikhi is a very fine religion," then added, a bit wistfully, "I'll deny I ever said this, so please don't repeat it, but I wish I could be a Sikh."

    After I finished fainting, I said, "Of course, you can be a Sikh. Nothing is stopping you."

    "Yes, yes, there is something stopping me. Many people have come to Jesus Christ through me and I have no right to undermine their faith. I'm sure Waheguru understands."

    I am also sure that Waheguru understands and looks warmly on this man.
     
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  12. Ishna

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    Ooow! *tears up*
     
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  13. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    :veryhappymunda: very interesting ....
     
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  14. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    One honest snake oil salesman to say the least.
     
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  15. Inderjeet Kaur

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    I wonder what the concept of truthful living means to him. I've thought about that a lot.:happymunda:
     
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  16. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    Beautifully put Harry ji. My life has been very,very similar to that of yours.
    I have never regretted it, but try to put to better use all that I have learnt from this very eventful, turbulent voyage through life.:singhsippingcoffee:
     
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  17. seeker3k

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    SSA

    Wrten by Akasha
    Is just science that's yet to be discovered" In other words, we can't at this point in time think we know everything there is to know about science - we'd be insane to think so.

    What do we know about God? We know nothing at all. No one seen God no one talked with God. Yet we believe in it and worship. Is that the act of intelligent people?
     
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  18. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    So basically anyone who believes or worships is not intelligent ?
    I believe that you will only accept something if there is some rock solid evidence available ?
    I'm not too sure what you mean about knowing it all because any Sikh will know that knowing it all is ONLY known to the ONE.
    We can never know it all and we don't intend to, do we ?
     
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  19. seeker3k

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    luckysingh ji

    I was replying to Akasha
    Read what she wrote and what I wrote
     
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  20. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Worship? hmmmmm Do we actually worship God? No, I don't think we do, We cherish and connect with living energy, in much the same way as the Jedi.

    For a start, the word God has so many Abrahamic leanings that it is hard to embrace the concept or the word in Sikhism. As for worship, Sikhs connect, they do not worship, my own thoughts..............
     
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  21. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    This is the beauty of Sikhi. The Sikh faith teaches you how to actually EXPERIENCE the divine within yourself and gives you the tools too... so it's not just blind belief.

    Edit: and its not just the Sikh faith... there are people all over the world who have actually experienced, so it's not just belief, it's actual knowing. There are many people who have discovered the truth within themselves. That's why SGGS actually contains writings of people who were not Sikhs... they still found that truth.
     
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