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  • Being a Pagan but raising a Christian child?

    Prior to getting married, my wife and I were both Christians and chose to raise our daughter as one as well. However, dissatisfied and disillusioned with my Christian faith, I found Neo-paganism a few years back and have been walking the Pagan path since.

    Since my daughter enjoys attending church and because of a vow I made with my wife years before I became a Pagan that we would raise her as a Christian, I have been encouraging her in that direction. In the meantime, I have been keeping her firmly rooted in the fact that other people have different beliefs and to be open to that, figuring that if one day she should she decide she wants to explore other paths, she can feel free to do so and not fear being ostracized as I have had to.

    I'm curious, is anyone else on here in that same boat, raising children as Christians despite being Pagan yourself? If so, how have you managed?
    O beloved Pan and all ye other gods of this place, grant to me that I be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man. May I consider the wise man rich; and may I have such wealth as only the self-restrained man can bear or endure.
    • Socrates' prayer, Phaedrus, 279

  • #2
    I'm a firm believer in showing my daughter all her choices. IMO I feel children are so impressionable that if one religion is pushed, that will be the one followed...(like brainwashing) and if they do want to change to a different religion later...like paganism...they have to reprogram themselves away from what they were formally taught. Which generally is difficult.

    But it's your child, you are the parent...so that is entirely your choice. Maybe while she attends church, you can also introduce your path too. So she learns about both at the same time...you can stress that she can decide for herself which feels right to her. I think it would be important that you let her know you believe differently than her mother so she knows that one isn't "better" than the other, just different.

    That's my 2 cents.

    HDK
    http://www.coven-space.com/Happydeadkitty

    "If nothing else fails, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through" Melchett

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    • #3
      Well my father is Christian and he's hoping to raise my brother as such, and since we have such a huge age gap that it nearly spans a generation, I feel as much of a parent as my own parents are.

      My father often speaks of when my brother gets older he wants to begin taking him to church with him and I consider this future. Honestly, it's not something that worries me. I just hope to give my brother as balanced a perspective as possible.


      And don't tell daddy but he assisted in ritual preparation a few months ago. He helped smash up incense cones into dust and thought it was a total hoot.


      Blinkie Maker


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      sigpic
      Thank you, Catiana, for the wonderful turtle montage! :D

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      • #4
        Well, I'm in a somewhat similar boat.

        My husband is Christian, I am not. He knew that going into the marriage. We agreed, when we found out I was pregnant, that we would not push any one religion on Breeanna.

        She knows Christian bedtime prayers, and pagan ones. There is one prayer she learned from her old daycare teacher. I was a little uncomfortable about that one, but I let it go, because the woman was sweet and a good friend.

        Breeanna is four, and she doesn't really care "what" God she prays to. She just likes talking to it. I've heard her talking to everything from a woman to a man to a dog to a cat. So honestly, I think that her spiritual beliefs may seem a bit odd to some as she grows up, but she'll be just fine.
        Now this is the Law of the Jungle - as old and as true as the Sky. And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. ~ Rudyard Kipling

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        • #5
          my son goes to church with his grandma. but he has pentgrams drawn in his childrens bible and doesnt actually pay much attention to whats being said in church.

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          • #6
            I used to build things with teh bibles and hymnals in the pews. *giggles*
            Now this is the Law of the Jungle - as old and as true as the Sky. And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. ~ Rudyard Kipling

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            • #7
              I'm just in the planning phase. My wife's Lutheran and I'm a very solitary pagan. We decided before we got married that when we have kids they'll be raised in her/"our" church (I say "our" only because I enjoy the services there, too). I don't like talking about my faith with her, let alone teaching it to kids one day, and the Lutheran church just a couple blocks away has two fantastic pastors whose sermons' ideals I agree with almost completely (I still get hung up on original sin, but my wife likes to point out that most protestants, at least around here, don't really bother with the technical stuff and that it's just my ancestral Catholic obsession with theological minutiae getting in the way). If the kids stay Lutheran as they age, fine. If not, fine. I was raised atheist, my brother still is, I veered off, so at least in my personal experience the way you're raised ethically has more to do with how you turn out than what the specific theological underpinnings involved are.
              JFGI

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              • #8
                My daughter is being raised as both a spiritualist, pagan, christian. Well,...for me pagan and spiritualism goes hand in hand. It's kinda the same thing to me.
                But since her dad comes from a very christian family, it's only fair that she take part in that when she's spending time with them. My mom told me something very valualble that we both all know too well from our family situation.
                It's very important that children are taught to accept and respect other's beliefs. It's also very important that she learns about what her whole family is about so she can pass it along to her children. Nevermind about external people's opinions and ways of beliefs.
                So even though I grew to despise christians when I first studied wicca and paganism, I had to hold my breath and bite my tongue on the subject and just let my issues roll off my back in order for cAndra to be able to make her own mind up on her own ideas of religion and spirituality.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Exactly on the many reasons why raising a child in any religion is a horrible idea.

                  Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know. ~ M. King Hubbert

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Infinite Grey View Post
                    Exactly on the many reasons why raising a child in any religion is a horrible idea.
                    Agreed. Better to let them sample a little bit of everything and find their own spiritual paths when they're ready.

                    Faith is easy -- until the moment you actually need it.

                    "Since when are facts subjective?" - Athena_Nadine

                    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
                    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
                    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
                    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                    The best lack all convictions, while the worst
                    Are full of passionate intensity."

                    – W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"

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                    • #11
                      I don't really raise my children as any faith. I'm a pagan and they have observed rituals and have asked questions (my oldest daughter use to talk to Artemis lol). They have family members who are christan and will go to church. Fundimentally, I want them to know it's important to be a good person instead of a good christian or a good pagan. I think you should not agree to "raise" the child as anything, just raise the child.

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                      • #12
                        Though I did not raise them that way, I have two children who became Christians. One of them I raised, the other was given up for adoption but we are in the process of reunification as she is an adult now.

                        It matters not how they came to it, there are what they choose to be. They don't preach at me, I don't turn them into toads.
                        Brought to you by the
                        National Association For Addressing Prejudice Against Jackasses (NAFAPAJ).
                        Not all witches are love and light, nor are they all hate and darkness.
                        Some witches are just real mothers - like me.
                        You cannot carve a beautiful sculpture in stone with loving strokes.
                        It takes a hammer, a chisel, and a lot of aggression that needs converted.
                        I am aware of how nasty I come across.
                        If others have the right and freedom to be sweetness and light,
                        I have the right to be spit and vinegar.

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                        • #13
                          I'm a Pagan mother raising a Roman Catholic child. He attends Childhood Catholic Education classes, and I support that. As an infant he was Baptized, and he is on track to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Communion when he is seven. He is learning about the Bible, and being taught basic prayers and so on.

                          We live in a Christianized society. While I was at first teaching and having him take part in my Traditional Hellenic practice, I later thought that this would actually hurt him, not help him. His grounding was not Christian, and listening to some of the conversations he had with other children his age made me realize how much of a target he would be should I continue on. There is no telling a five year old to keep his mouth shut. *winks*

                          While I would love for him to follow my path, I also know that pushing him to be "different" may not be for the best.

                          At the same time, what I am doing is pushing him to use his critical thinking skills, ask the questions, and see if he can reason out the answers. If not, I suggest he ask questions in class to try and get those answers.

                          While this may be a subtle form of manipulation - at the same time - if he can reason what he is learning to be true - I'm certainly not going to take him off that path because it isn't true *for me*.

                          After he learns the basics of Roman Catholocism, I'm going to move forward into other religions. I feel it's important for him to know that Christianity isn't the *only* way.

                          I struggle with this - I don't really want to influence him - and yet I worry that enrolling him in CCE is actually quite a huge influence...yet he needs to be able to know what it's all about - because his peer group is being raised in it, as well.

                          The difference is - I'm teaching him to *question*.
                          "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common:
                          instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views,
                          which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering."

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                          • #14
                            I tried that, I really did. Although they attended circle with me from the very beginning, I exposed my sons to as many different belief systems as possible. I ended up with a rabid atheist and an indifferent agnostic. I say rabid because he is so vehemently atheist that he almost foams at the mouth. The problem with raising children to have their own minds is that they often do.

                            Originally posted by Phoenix Blue View Post
                            Agreed. Better to let them sample a little bit of everything and find their own spiritual paths when they're ready.

                            (Thanks Flaire!)




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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Raven Reed View Post
                              The problem with raising children to have their own minds is that they often do.
                              This is very true. I exposed my son to a variety of religions. He has chosen his own path which is Budhhist.
                              Life's journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting; "HOLY SHIT!!!! What a ride!"

                              A celebrant of nannymas and sarabethvmas

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