Thursday, February 8, 2007

Christ on a Cracker

"Jesus is the sun" my five year old randomly tossed out in the car on the way to her swim class last night.

I know where she got this little gem--my Dad.

I know when my parents have the kids for the weekend, they read my kids bible stories at bedtime and probably pray before they eat. I know they've taken the girls to church a few times too. I don't mind. I'm not a crazyhatefulfuckyoujesus kind of Atheist. If they get a little exposure here and there to religion, it will better help them later when they decide for themselves which way the wind blows in that arena.

When my first kid was born I fretted over what I would tell my parents when they asked about baptism. I knew it would come up sooner or later, and I wanted no part in it. Finally I realized that if it made them feel better to dress her up in a foofy frock and sprinkle some tap water on her head, it wasn't going to make any difference one way or the other. Maybe they would have a party afterwards. I remembered that people get really excited about these types of things and like to write congratulatory checks to mark the occasion-checks that could buy diapers...and beer.

Surprisingly, it never came up. Even my Catholic in laws made no mention of dedicating my sweet innocent baby to the Lord. I thought I was getting off easy. Sadly, the best/worst was yet to come.

"Honey, who told you Jesus was the sun?" (I knew the answer, but needed a jumping off point here).

"PaPa told me. Jesus is the sun in the sky. I told my friends at school, but they didn't believe me."

Fuck. This was getting out of hand.

"I think what PaPa meant was that Jesus is an S-O-N. You are mine and Daddy's daughter and Jesus is the son of his Daddy and Mommy."

Cut to her ever-growing exasperation with her clearly deluded mother....

"NO, MAMA! Jesus is the sun in the sky. Papa told me and he's right."

I tried to explain it again, but really was more concerned that she was proselytizing to her class which happens to be 90% Indian. The preschool even makes a special effort to include other, non-Christian holidays in their celebrations because the majority of students there don't normally celebrate Christmas, et al. What would be worse: Having to apologize for my apparent missionary-in-training daughter or having to explain that we are in fact godless heathens and have no idea where this all came from?

I tried to explain that not everyone believes the way Papa believes. She wouldn't hear it.

"Yes they do, Mama. We do...right?"

If this conversation was taking place five years from now, and she was ten instead of five, things would have gone down in a completely different way. If she was older, I could better explain how some people have religion and some don't. I wasn't ready to have this conversation with her yet. We don't go to church, but her grandparents do. What if she wanted to know why we don't go to church?

I knew that I could either tell her the truth or bullshit her.

If I told her that I don't believe the same way her grandpa does, I was opening up a landmine. She would be confused. The next time she was staying with my parents, she would out my "evil ways". I don't discuss these things with my parents. It would break their hearts if they knew the daughter they worked so hard to raise in the church turned her back on the effort.

If I didn't tell her the truth, I was passing up a prime opportunity to instill a great life lesson. Sometimes people who love each other don't agree on the fundamentals of life. Would she get it? She seemed awful pissy that I alluded to the fact that the almighty Papa could be wrong. How would she react if I told her I thought Papa was full of shit?

I waited and mulled it over in my head for a moment.

She spoke up again from the backseat. The best part is, though I know this is something my husband has said in front of her, she attributed it to her grandfather,

"Mama, Papa says the Bible is a book of fairytales."

"That's right, baby. Because Papa said so."


Grant Miller said...

I hate those moments when th kids begin asking philosophical questions and expect, demand rational, concrete answers.

Chaylene said...

I hate that "because I said so" has lost it's zing.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

"I'm not a crazyhatefulfuckyoujesus kind of Atheist."

Me neither! I like to call myself agnostic, even though I'm pretty much an atheist. But, you never know... there's some weird shit out there.

Fortunately (well, at least from this whole religion perspective), my daughter gets relatively little exposure to my mother, who's all about Jesus. In fact (and, I'm not making this up), I've told my daughter about all world religions (pretty much describing them all as human inventions). However, around age 8, she decided she wanted to worship (whatever that means to an 8 year old) the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet. So, she's got some Bastet statues in her room. She's 11 now, and I think not as much into it as she was then. Grandma still thinks they're just cool-looking cat statues.

I've pretty much exhausted the topic of religion on my blog, though. For my complete views, see my entry, "Jay-YEE-zuz."

Thanks for stopping over at my blog. I stopped over at yours the other day but didn't have time to comment. That dentist story really made me hate the guy!

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