Hi all, I would appreciate any practical help on this one please! I’m a bit stuck. My wife is due with our first child. I am super excited at the prospect and look forward to sharing my love of the natural world and all its wonders with him/her! I am a strong, and getting stronger all the time, rationalist that is as far up the Atheist scale as you can be. My wife, without knowing the deepest workings of anyone’s inner mind is, I believe, not a true believer but is in that awkward place of not really believing but not knowing how to show this without offending may people she loves. I am less worried about this as I spend time reading helps me articulate my point in a rational way that hopefully is logical and not personally offensive to my family and friends.
I have no intention of hurting my wife, who I love dearly, but at the same time I want to start my child off on a “fair” footing if not necessarily the “right” one.
My ideology is this: a parent’s job is to teach their child how to think and not to tell them what to think”.
My mother passed away 2 years ago after the drawn out illness of a stroke. She lost her mobility, speech, continence, was fed directly into the stomach – and it broke my heart. All her life she, very often unknown to us, cared for and tended to sick people in the community (she was a retired nurse), sneaking out in the middle of the night many times to do so. Needless to say I can’t countenance the good she did as a person with the shit ending she had. Good life + Shit ending =/= God. My Dad goes to mass weekly and believes in God (I think). My mother was the 2nd wife he lost, his first wife died during child birth where the child also died. I can fully understand his need to believe that he will see them all again, his heart is broken and he is so lonely – who would want to take that from him at 80 years of age.
Another aspect is that the vast majority (maybe 80-90%) of schools in Ireland are church run or the church has some influence in them; many of these schools have great schooling reputations. I went to two myself and have nothing bad to say academically about them. As I understand it to be enrolled in one of these schools the child has to have been baptised.
So my question is this: How the hell can I avoid conflict with my family and my wife’s family while at the same time protecting our child from being labelled as a member of a horrible and pointless institution that demonises gays, protects child rapists, preaches charity while being one of the wealthiest organisations in the world, treats women as 2nd class citizens and promotes contraception as a cause of increase in AIDS (to name but a few).
Your thoughts are much appreciated