The Big Question

I’m not religious. I don’t believe in a higher God or Eternal Being. Sometimes I wish I did as Christians I’ve met are jolly, happy, people who always seem to have a little smile on their face. Like they know something. Perhaps it’s just God inside them making them feel all warm and special. Perhaps I’ve just never met a grumpy Christian.

My grandfather was religious and his sister was so really religious she became a nun. My grandfather was a Roman Catholic, and when he died he had some long service, which contained Latin sections and bits where people had to stand up and sit down. My mum told me this, as my family didn’t think it was appropriate for me to attend. She didn’t know when to stand or sit, but took her cue from my gran’s cousin who did.

My gran wasn’t religious.

My mum is a bit religious. When it suits. I think. She was christened a Protestant, for the sole reason that my grandfather wanted her christened, and the local Catholic church was busy. So they went a few doors down and popped into the other mob who were happy to oblige. Either my grandfather was very persuasive, very shouty, or some money changed hands. I don’t know.

Dr B isn’t religious. Her family was Church of Scotland and so, I think, she did go to church a bit when she was little, but now she doesn’t follow the religion and works in genetics, busy proving that God didn’t make things but something else did.

I imagine losing your religion is a bit like losing interest in a football team but with a bit more guilt. I used to follow a football team and now, occasionally, flick on Match of The Day to see what’s going on. Are people who lose their faith like this? Do they occasionally put on Songs of Praise just to keep their hand in?

I admire people who have a strong faith, and yet I don’t feel that I will bring my children up talking about a God. I’ll teach them that understanding different faiths and respecting people’s beliefs is important, but I’m not going to suddenly get them christened or baptised just to get them into a better school or anything. I’ll teach them that people can believe in what they want, and it’s up to them how they go with that. It’s all about respect.

I’ll take them to churches and cathedrals, temples and shrines and show them the wonderful places that people have designed in order worship and to praise their Gods. I’ll take them to carol services where we can all sing Away In A Manger but when my son or daughter asks me about Christmas and Jesus and what THAT’S all about, what will I say to them? Will I tell them I don’t believe in Jesus and God but people do and that’s okay and look, here’s a present? Will I tell them people believe in a God who lives in Heaven, which is all the way up there, and he sits around and looks over us and cares for us and, yes, he does let bad things happen sometimes, but when those bad people die they won’t be sitting with God in Heaven eating cheese, but they’ll be roasting in a fiery pit for all eternity with a poker up their bum.

Or will I tell them we live, and we try to live a good life, but then we die and become food for worms.

I’ve got some time yet. At the moment T worships at the alter of Thomas and Friends, and K is quite happy listening to the stories of Julia Donaldson rather than Bible stories.

But what will I tell them?

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