RANT ALERT - don't read if easily offended. Usual disclaimer applies...
Yesterday I was at a friend's home and another friend popped over (more of an acquaintance to me) and as we were chatting about life in general, she mentioned how some one's kids were off the rails. She mentioned the fact that they didn't go to church as the main reason for the kids being off the rails.
Here is my take on it... Kids who turn out bad - generally there is bad parenting choices involved somewhere. (I do know that some kids who come from the best homes can turn into sociopaths but in general nature and nurture combine to make the people we grow up to be)
Now the religious spin - I know many very VERY religious families who have teen pregnancies, drug addicts and dole bludgers. I also know many who have shining examples of great upbringing.
Here's why - We are all brought up in a religion (even if you actively go out not to raise your child in a set religion, you have a spiritual basis) and make the conscious decision to use it, reject it, adapt it or adopt a new one. It is all about choice and awareness.
I made the conscious, educated decision to break from Christianity and it was hard to break the mould. 20 odd years of going through the motions is hard to break. There is often a link between faith and exclusion. We have a friend who cut all ties with a mutual friend after "finding God" PURELY because she was Jewish - six years of friendship forgotten.
Sometimes I marvel at the close-mindedness of some people and their reliance on religion to validate their reality. Some people manage to both rely on religion and still have an open mind, secure in their faith and knowledge of the world. Most, in my experience, don't.
While we are not raising Monkey to believe in one god, we are raising him by being mindful of virtues and with our background of being raised Christian, we still adhere to the basics. We also hope to find a balanced way to introduce him to the major religions so that he has an understanding if the diverse cultures and the similarities in many of them.
I challenge anyone to prove that by not raising Monkey in a religious home, we are dooming ourselves and him to a life of misery and bad behaviour.