Parent-teacher interviews were last week, and both of my children received stellar reviews. What pleased me most wasn't how bright they are or how well they did in their studies, it was what their teachers had to say about their individual character. Both are kind, helpful students who work well with others and create a better environment for all. Hearing that brought a huge smile to my face.
My 11-year old son and 9-year old daughter have been raised without a stitch of religion. They weren't baptized, have never prayed and don't believe in heaven, hell or an afterlife of any kind. They're not being kind to others as a means to go to heaven, they're being kind to others because they want to and were raised to treat everyone the way they'd like to be treated.
To be clear, I didn't raise my kids to be atheists or to regard all religion as fiction, I merely raised them without any religion at all. We discussed world religions the way we discussed geography or history. When one of them wanted to talk about god or heaven or hell, we talked about it openly. I'd do a lot of listening. Each on their own arrived at the conclusion that religion was man-made and purely symbolic story telling.
I've been married twice, once at Old City Hall by a Justice of the Peace and once in an art gallery by an Officiant. The word "god" wasn't uttered once in either ceremony.
I'm very much looking forward to the birth of my third child in the spring. He or she (I'll know which next week) will not be baptized and will also be raised without religion.
I wasn't raised without religion. I grew up in a typical Catholic home, collecting sacraments, going to church on Sundays and attending Catholic schools until University. I believed what my parents told me to believe. It wasn't until my 20s that I truly saw everything with my own eyes.
Remove the shackles of religion and experience true freedom. It's easy if you try.