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The words of an Irish priest: I just question whether, if there is no engagement with God from an early age, anyone would opt for religion.

This is from a longer article on the growth of atheism/agnosticism in Ireland.  He is addressing why he does not agree with parents who choose not to baptize their children.  A question for the Christians (or mainly the Catholics he represents) - would you or did you find your faith without being carried through it from birth?  It seems an awfully pessimistic view from someone who also says he believes periods of non-belief are important.

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NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 6:23 PM on Jun. 4, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • Humm...

    Baptized a Catholic at 2 weeks old...
    Raised Catholic in a *very* Catholic town...
    12 years of Catholic school...

    ...and going on 15 years of practicing Paganism...

    hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
    MamaK88

    Answer by MamaK88 at 6:39 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • ...and going on 15 years of practicing Paganism...

    He didn't even mention which faith. We could assume he means Catholic or Christian when he says "faith", but I wonder if he'd count you in the win or lose column?
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 6:43 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • It really depends on the person. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools, my home was not very religious. I have different views from my parents, but I had really positive experiences in my Catholic school as opposed to the public school I left because it was really terrible. 


    I want my kids to understand my faith, to me it's sharing a part of myself with them like I do with my love for reading and education.  They could continue down a similar road as me as adults or pick a whole different journey altogether it's really up to them, but I still think they will find some value in the traditions and beliefs I'm sharing with them. 

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 7:23 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • I'd have to agree with that priest.
    tasches

    Answer by tasches at 8:10 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • It's true that my mother laid the foundation for my faith...and I'm grateful she did.
    popzaroo

    Answer by popzaroo at 8:18 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • I kind of get what he's saying. Imo, if you want your child to choose any religion, you must expose them to it (or all religions). I'm sure there are cases where God does just pop out of the sky and reveal Himself to people (so to speak), but most people won't get it if they aren't exposed to it in some way. My dad was Catholic, my mom was Presbyterian. I am Catholic by label, but I explored other religions too along the way. Had I not been exosed to at least something along the way, I may not have thought to question not only my own religion, but all others as well.

    That being said, I don't believe in indoctrinating kids. I am raising my kids as Catholic, but they are free to question that as they please. I just figured it was a good place to start them out, and they can pick up their research from there to make their choices. Not all Christian parents take that stance though.
    anime_mom619

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 8:27 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • if you want your child to choose any religion, you must expose them to it (or all religions)

    I take his statement differently - that if you want a person, of any age, to choose religion, they must be exposed as a child. It seems awfully fatalistic to me, his insistence that people won't find it on their own as adults.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 8:34 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • Hmmmm.... doesn't that seem very pessimistic for someone who, as a priest, must believe there is value to religion? If religion has so much to offer, why does one have to have the idea implanted in childhood? If religion is a positive thing, why wouldn't it be something that an unindoctrinated adult would seek out on his or her own?
    Freela

    Answer by Freela at 8:49 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • Just to add, I was raised in a pretty non-religious environment, was interested in religion/spirituality in my teens, read the Bible cover to cover, was a little shocked at what was in there, and decided to read about a number of other religious philosophies as well. As an adult, I practice Buddhism. I'm not sure that if he would consider me a gain or a loss- a gain in the sense that I was not raised in a religion but took an interest of my own account, but a loss in that I ended up practicing Buddhism as opposed to Christianity.
    Freela

    Answer by Freela at 8:54 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • "I take his statement differently - that if you want a person, of any age, to choose religion, they must be exposed as a child. It seems awfully fatalistic to me, his insistence that people won't find it on their own as adults. "

    Oh, I didn't quite take it the way I made it sound in my other comment, I just meant that I sort of get what he's saying. I do think that being exposed to religion (any religion) paves the way for finding your own path though. That's not to say that children of Atheists can't find God (or whatever), but I do think that kids should be told at an early age that there is religion, and they should be made aware of the fact that there it's ok to pursue religion (just like religious parents should teach kids that there are other options out there.) Yes, what the priest is saying is pretty negative, but I sorta get his point. He could have worded it differently, imo.
    anime_mom619

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 10:34 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

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