One Song

8 Mar

Today is Shove Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and marks the start of Lent. This means it is 40 days (not counting Sundays) to Easter.

I know all of this because my son goes to a catholic school. Today they will eat pancakes and tomorrow he will come home with an ash cross on his forehead.

Although I grew up Anglican (which is somewhat similar to Catholic) I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. Organised religion and doctrine makes me faintly uncomfortable. I certainly don’t believe that there is only one true religion or that there is only one path to “God” and I don’t know how to deal with people who do believe that their way is the only way. I don’t think any religion is better than another. And, as long as the basic teaching is love, compassion and tolerance, I think any belief system is “right”. I have total respect for everyone who chooses to pray and attend church and I honour their beliefs. All I just ask is that they extend the same courtesy to me and allow me to follow my own path.

Which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. Even at his young age, my son is being taught christian based religious education. He can tell you that Jesus died on the cross and can sing songs about Moses parting the red sea. He knows all about Noah and his ark and the tower of Babel. He already recites The Lord’s Prayer fluently. I am fully prepared for him to come home one day wanting to be a priest…

While I think that some sort of religious education is important (especially as he is not going to get it from his parents), I am aware that  his religious education is going to be saturated with the christian doctrine.  At some point I will have to balance the scales and open up his perspective. I will have to teach him about other spiritualities. Introduce him to other beliefs and teach him to be tolerant and understanding of the ways of the world. Short of sending him to Mosque,  I am not sure how to do this.

I hope that he will grow up to be open-minded and spiritually tolerant and I know that as he grows older I am going to have lots of serious discussions ahead of me.

Until then, this quote from Rumi perfectly sums up my views of spirituality and religion.

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5 Responses to “One Song”

  1. Cazpi March 8, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I believe, that “spirituality” comes from home. Values, morals, beliefs etc encompass that. Being at a catholic school, he will, no doubt, be [gosh searching for a good word here] um, “shown” catholicism. It is then for him to ask you questions. Mom, why does “x” not believe in God. Mom, why did Jesus “magic” alive. To name 2 I’ve had so far. I have answered everything starting with, “We believe……” and then answers. It is acceptable for people to be different, and to believe differently. While he grows up under your guidance, he gets to discover what you as a unit believe, and when he gets older, no matter what it is, he will either accept or challenge it. Guide him, steer him, and let him find his own path? [sorry, this sounds ridiculously preachy doesn’t it?!].

  2. Carmen March 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    It is different for me being Catholic. I chose a Catholic school on purpose as I was not fortunate enough to have gone to one myself. So for me shrove Tuesday is wonderful and I am pleased that what Gemma is taught at home and at church is reinforced at school.
    I am very proud to be Catholic and I am pleased to have come from a large Catholic family ,but I agree it is not for everyone , I also believe that it is not only Catholics that will “go to heaven”. I think it is the people who live their lives with love, humility and charity and most of all we need to believe in a higher being.
    And when all is said and done our little school has alowed me to meet wonderful people like you Pia and for that I am extremely grateful.

  3. sandra@lorea.co.za March 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    I vowed a long time ago that I would never comment on your site, but what you are speaking about is very close to my heart. It has inspired me to write my own post. Your journey is just beginning and mine is close to its end. Read it, if you please.

  4. Fiona March 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I had a Catholic upbringing, and I am sure my Mother turns in her grave that we are not more religious. I am sure Adam will be fine, after all you will lead by example so I am sure he will not become “fanatical”, and that is the word that causes such havoc in the world of religion! Live and let live and do unto others as you would have done unto yourself….far better to live by these idioms methinks. xx

  5. wends March 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    religion is such an emotive issue and I… hesitate to comment for fear of causing offence , however, I believe you are already doing a great job as you know you have to introduce him to other religions and spirituality to create a balanced view.
    I was brought up in no particular religion but our schooling in the 80″s and early 90’s south africa was christian. when I was very young. I believe about sub B I remember the teacher telling us if you did not believe in god you would not go to heaven but to hell. I was distraught. My dad had told me he did not believe in god. I think , even at that young age, thats where christian religion and I parted ways. Slowly I realised I did not believe that.
    Now I respect all region and spirituality that is not hurtful or morally wrong.
    With schooling for Lily I saw many parents having their children baptised and attending church to get them into church of england and catholic state school , as here in England they are good schools. I just cant do that. I dont want Lily to be taught in that way and I would feel like a hypocrit. In her current school they teach them about all regions and faiths from hindu to christianity to judaism in a very open minded way.
    I think Adam is getting a great education in a school that teaches him about respect and good values and he will make his own decisions as he goes on and grows up.
    and now I shall end my extremely long comment
    Love w

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