If you don't consider yourself religious, what do you tell your kids about God and religion?

Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-31 00:53:51-04

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DENVER — This week has significant meaning for people of different faiths - including those living here in Colorado. 

It's not only the beginning of Passover in the Jewish religion, but Christians around the wold are also commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.  

But millions in this country and across the state are moving away from organized religion and regular church attendance.  

The most recent Gallup poll on the subject found that 21 percent of Americans have no formal religious identity. They either say they are atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular.  

When Gallup first starting asking that question in the 1940s, only 2 percent said the same.

If you don't consider yourself religious, what do you tell your kids about God and religion?

My parents never had to have the "God talk" with me because I was always at church — Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Sunday afternoons for choir practice, then back again on Wednesday nights.

But I don't really go to church much anymore. I'm a recovering Baptist with a lot of Southern Baptist baggage. I believe in God. I pray. I just don't go to church or talk about it much. 

What do I tell my 3-year-old daughter about these things? 

Maybe I don't directly address it at all. My sense of right and wrong didn't come from the church, it came from my parents, as did learning the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.  

This particular approach would allow us to keep sleeping in on Sundays but it also seems like a lazy answer to our question.

Another option would be to expose her to all the major religions and let her choose which one to adopt.

This is a popular option these days. It's certainly is how we choose everything else — Which is the best lawn mower? Read about all of the lawn mowers and then select the best lawn mower for you. There is logic in this approach.

But in another view, isn't my job as her father to guide her? I don't let her loose in a hardware store to explore. If I did, she most definitely would figure out what is and is not a good idea to mess with in there. But I don't think that's very nice when I could've just explained a mouse trap to her.

But I could do what my parents did: Raise her like I was raised. I believe what I believe because it's what my parents believed. I turned out OK, and there's also value in tradition.

There will be some of you who think even asking these questions is inappropriate — maybe even blasphemous. I get that. 

But this is the reality for a lot of us. We are asking these questions because we all want to raise our children to be kind, compassionate people who contribute to the world.  

And if we're painfully honest, these questions may be hard because we're not satisfied with our own beliefs.

Is this something you're dealing with or have dealt with?  What are you going to do? What did you do? I'd love to know.

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