It seems mean to deny our children all that. (Plus the opportunity of a private education at discounted prices.) There's just the tiny problem that we're both pretty much athiests at this point, and, call me picky but it would seem hypocritical. I think if either B or I had strong feelings about God or raising our children in a religion, the other would quite happily go along with it rather than take a stand for heathenism, but somehow we both fell off the God wagon within a few years of each other and by the time Monkey was born the only decision was how to tell the grandparents that there wasn't going to be a Christening.
I distinctly recall wondering at some point in my childhood whether all this Mass and Jesus stuff was a hoax dreamed up by the adults to keep us quiet. (It may have been shortly after I'd been disillusioned about Santa Claus, which would mean I was 8 or 9, perhaps.) I thought it would be an awful lot of trouble to go to, and didn't seriously consider it, but it's interesting that it crossed my mind. And then, when I turned 30, I somehow went from being a card-carrying Catholic who firmly believed that children should have some sort of framework for belief rather than nothing at all, even if it was Catholicism with all its many potholes, to a sort of atheistic agnostic who felt that God was obviously a construct of man rather than vice versa.
Which leaves us in a bit of a vaccuum when it comes to some parts of childrearing. I want my children to respect the beliefs of others, of course; to have a strong moral compass and don't need to wonder what's right or wrong; to understand the meaning of God and religion and have a basic knowledge of their cultural heritage, including what Christians and Catholics believe. I want them to feel free to make their own choices without fear of ridicule or censure; but we do still have a responsibility to instill our values in them - assuming we value our values. Do I value atheism? Not really - if my kids want to believe in God, I hope I'll be happy for them. But if they want to join a militant right-wing evangelical church or protest against gay marriage or picket abortion clinics, I do think I'll be telling them how I feel in no uncertain terms. I should hope I won't have to tell them because they'll already know.
Last summer Monkey started asking about death, and God, and religion, and we had some good discussions (monologues, more like), but I think he's forgotten quite a lot of it at this point. I have to remind myself that these, just like the talks about where babies come from, are things we need to be talking about frequently, not just once upon a time. Sometimes I'm trying so hard to be politically correct and not offend anyone, that I forget it's my job to teach my children right from wrong and good from bad - if I try too hard not to criticize the man in the truck for smoking, they won't ever know that smoking is something I don't want them to do.
At the moment, Monkey mostly thinks churches are just big buildings for demonstrating how strong a superhero he is when he describes to me how he can lift them up. Maybe a field trip is in order.