The Unbearable Banishment: Christian indoctrination

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Christian indoctrination

I’m not going to delve too deeply into this because I don’t want to offend anybody. It’s sensitive stuff and I don’t want to hit any raw nerves.

I attended a parochial elementary school but left the church when I became an adult. There are many Catholic teachings that I disagree with and I gradually distanced myself. It took a long time, but I found that Buddhist teachings speak to me in a way that Christianity never did. No disrespect meant to my Christian brothers and sisters.

Mrs. Wife takes The Daughters to church every Sunday. Because she attends a public school, 8-Year Old Daughter also participates in a religious education class 1x per week at the church. Although I’ve rejected Catholicism, I think it's a good idea to get the kiddies involved in church. It’ll stimulate the idea of spirituality and make them feel part of a community. Later in life, I'll make my feelings known and they can either embrace what they've been taught or reject it (as I did). That’s how my mom ran the show and I approve. Aside from that, it’s important to Mrs. Wife and, hence, it’s important to me.


…are Silly Bands. All the cool kids are wearing them. They’re rubber bands (elastics) in fun shapes that are worn on the wrist, 20-25 at a time. My daughters gave me these two because they know how much I love music and how much I love to abuse my guitar.* I wear them on my right wrist and will probably never take them off.

8-Year Old Daughter has a few Silly Bands that are shaped into Christian icons. Angels. Crosses. Crowns (i.e., King of Kings). I saw one that was shaped into a white apple with a bite taken out of it and said, “Oh, that’s the logo for Apple Computers!” She said, “No, Dad, that’s an apple to remind us that we are all sinners.

I was taken aback. Stunned. It made me so sad. I hate it that my pure, innocent little 8-year old girl is having that “you’re a sinner in God’s eyes” shit pumped into her head. To me, it's the dark side of what she's being taught. You tear ‘em down to build ‘em up. It’s what I went through in boot camp. It’s the oldest method in the book.

* * *
Hell is other people.
Jean-Paul Sartre

Hell is a dead cell phone jammer.
The Unbearable Banishment

* My all-time favorite critique regarding my abilities as a musician: Daughter opens the door, pokes her head in and says, “Dad. We can't hear the TV. You’re playing too loud.”


Blogger Stella Dean said...

I admire that you let them attend. I have the same struggle, although I was raised LDS and left the church at 14. I don't have the courage however to send my daughters to learn the teachings. I feel I'm shorting them in a way, and protecting them in another.

March 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

Perhaps it depends on the church. I'm not speaking from experience, but somehow I get the impression that the church Here in Franklin goes to, for example, wouldn't be teaching little girls that they are sinners (deeply unpleasant approach to spirituality).

March 5, 2010 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger Barlinnie said...

Sin is nothing more than exhaling the held breath after a morning spent in a stale church.

March 5, 2010 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I was raised jewish-- but not very religious at all. My husband and I both are of the feeling that organized religion poisons everything, so I guess that only makes it even stranger that our children go to a church-related school (not Catholic) and come home saying things like, "Mommy, why did Jesus die on the cross?". And at the "Easter Chapel" service at school last year there was a lot of talk about sin and other things not relevant, nor appropriate for 5 & 6 year old children (or anyone else as far as I'm concerned).

I think kids can be told about the religious beliefs of any/all religions, BUT for us, any religion talk is always followed by instructions that only THEY can decide what they believe-- no matter what anyone tells them is "the truth".

Clearly I have an opinion on this.

March 5, 2010 at 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at least your daughters won't come up empty on "Jeopardy" someday when the category of "The Bible" pops up. Mine? Completely fucked. We skipped it - other than attending church with friends whenever asked, there was no religion in the home. But we put it in the category of "history/sociology" for discussion purposes.

it's a difficult decision...

March 5, 2010 at 6:19 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

*buries head in sand*

March 5, 2010 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

UTBM: I think there's some good to be had. The basic teachings -- be kind to others, forgiveness -- are valuable. I lived with a jack LDS girl for a while. Read the book of Mormon and attended a few services. We were quite close.

PG: This is Catholicism light. I would put up some resistance if it was one of those fire and brimstone, damn you all to hell places.

JB: Well, that's certainly what it came to mean for me. My daughters can chart their own course.

Sydney: Have your kids been exposed to the Stations of the Cross yet? Yikes! It's the Big Torture Parade. Like a Mel Gibson religious film.

Daisy: I'm kinda fucked, too. If the Catlicks are right, I'll be seeing you by the shores of the lake of fire!

Scarlet: Did I insult you? I hope not. That wasn't my intent but it IS a heavy subject.

March 5, 2010 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

Not at all! It's a tricky subject.

March 5, 2010 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic school, but quit going to church when I was eighteen. I took our kids to a Methodist church for about the first 10 years of the oldest life, but then quit that too. I just felt so distanced from the people around me. I think my boy said it best once: Me and Jesus? We're cool, but I'm not cool with Jesus People.

March 5, 2010 at 8:53 AM  
Anonymous annie said...

I toyed with the idea of raising my 7 year old in the Catholic faith - just so she would have a base from which to spring to a better understanding of spirituality like I did.


in the end I realized that it was a perfect storm of events that lead me to utterly reject organized religion and think for myself. I couldn't count on that happening for her as it did for me, so why would I risk her being indoctrinated into a religion that views her (a female) as a second rate vessel? And literal vessel (for sperm).


This whole sin thing is crap. Good and bad are subjective projections that have largely ruined the world and made untold billions of people miserable.

March 5, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: Imagine my relief.

Cat: But even though you ultimately rejected it (as I did), wasn't it good to have that exposure? The teachings aren't ALL bad!

Annie: You pushed a button! That's one of my main problem with Catholicism. They put women on a pedestal and worship their virginity (always with the virginity obsession!), but it's all just a show. Their real M.O. is to repress them. Why, exactly, can't women be priests, again?

March 5, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been wondering what my next blog would be about. Now I know. :)

March 5, 2010 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous neeeekole. said...

i completely agree with you on the whole religion thing. obviously i am not catholic anymore (if you didn't see i have a lunar goddess tattoo on my back) probably not the smartest thing to do when I'm this young because people change their minds a lot about their view (i highly doubt i will dwell back into the hell hole of Christianity though) However... with all do respect. props to grandma. she raised us right and i agree with sending them to church at that age.. I mean how will they learn about Christianity first hand if they don't see it ;)

no no in all seriousness though... i think its good they are going to church. sad they are learning some of those things but good they are getting some kind of look on a religion. <3 Nicole

March 5, 2010 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: Do you mean that your next blog is going to be about Silly Bands?

Nicole: Yes, grams did some good work with you guys and a lot of it can be attributed to her closeness to the church. I've said it before; it's not ALL bad and I feel good that they're attending mass. Thank heavens they don't insist I go! That would turn me into the world's biggest hypocrite.

March 5, 2010 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Youngest still goes to church and choir practice with Missus Map, but the two teens stopped a fair while ago. Neither parent comments either way, as we would never force our beliefs on them, though we have taught them to respect others religious beliefs. I think it's working out, they seem very balanced!

As for the music rehearsals at home, I figured out long ago that the best way to stop them complaining about 'the noise' was to get them to join in! That seems to be working out too. :¬)

Have a good weekend my friend!

March 5, 2010 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I love your definition of hell.

March 7, 2010 at 4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy wristbands, Batman, that doesn't sound like something an 8-year-old should have laid upon her.

I remember sending our youngest to a highly recommended preschool only to have her come home the first week having nightmares about the devil. So much for that one!

Can't picture Jesus saying let the children come to me so he could tell him how rotten they are.

March 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM  

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