Sunday, November 06, 2005

To Tell Or Not To Tell

Those who know me personally know that I am an athiest, and this in fact is true. I find it surprising how so many educated poeple still believe that there is God. But this is not the issue I want to debate now, and to avoid coflict, I respect their wish by making the 'G' capital in the word God. But there is something I have been unable to decide since long time.

My parents believe in God. They taught me a lot about God, our religion, the rites and the rituals. But over time, I grew up and realized the truth (Atleast I believe that its the truth) that there is no God. Since then, I have taken part in the religious ceremonies only for their pleasure. But I don't mind it much as being a Hindu doesn't bind one with much to do. Had I been a Muslim or Christian, I would have to go to Mosques/Churches ever so often against my wish that I would have start planning for a revolt. But for me, thankfully, it translates to a couple of Pujas in the whole year, and a few days in which I am not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food.

I don't care if my wife would be religious or an infidel like me. But anyway, for the sake of compatibility, I would prefer her to be a Hindu by birth. I am sure we would be able to find a middle path if conflicts arise. But what has been bothering me for a while is that what will I be telling my children about God. Should I tell them there is no God, or adopt the same technique used by my parents. If I choose the latter, I run the risk of being a hypocrite as I don't practise what I plan to preach. But for children's point of view, the former should be avoided.

This is because in many places, it becomes very easy for parents to answer questions if we take the help of God. Be it a question like where people go after dying or how children are born, it is very convenient to use God as a solution and many times plead ignorance by saying that we are still very small and unable to understand the working of God. Many a times, the hope that God is there keeps us going and it is essential that we encourage our children to move ahead. Though I want my children to realize the truth as I did about God, I am still unsure how to go about explaining them about God in their early childhood. Things would be easier if my wife turned out to be a religious person, but my greatest fear is that she might as well turn out to be one like me. I may be one of the very few athiest who want a theist as a wife.

Can anyone help me with this?


Jay said...

I personally think it is important to let the kids build their own opinions on religion. When they are young they should learn the basics of whatever religion their parents belong to, after that they will pretty much keep along the same track or modify their opinions.
I also do not believe in God. Not because I have undergone a lot of hardships without any help from God or because I was indoctrinated that way by someone. It just sort of happened.

noopi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
noopi said...

"just corrected some typos"

my office mate here in Cornell is a very nice person, very intelligent and philosophical with a befitting name: Manish... a mechy from KGP, my senior.
He is also an atheist. Non religion-ist.
Once I gave him a book to read, which I strongly recommend you, its not a religious book, just evolution of philosophy since ages : Sophie's world. After reading it slowly but faithfully, one chapter everyday, he said.
"To my kids, I'll give this book along with Bible, Koran, Gita and my views, so that they can come up with what they like"
read the book and tell me what you think!

Ambuj Saxena said...


I surely will. Have added it to my reading list. BTW, how do you happen to chance upon this post for ages ago?