Are you out there, fellow atheist mommies?
I know there are lots of Christian moms in the blogosphere and in particular, Mo-moms (Mormon moms) who seem to run the media these days, dispensing domestic and decorating advice amid a sea of children to those of us who can barely manage one.
But where are the atheists among you? I ask. Not for any particular reason, really. This title isn't really a call to arms for atheist moms. Just wondering if you're out there, pondering those inevitable God-driven questions from the tots. Me, I was born to a Christian-born mother and Jewish-born father but both were non-believers. My father didn't possess a yarmulke and when called upon to wear one at some family event, he supposedly had to make do with a handkerchief. My mother wasn't very devoted to God either. She's become a bit Deepak Chopra-ish of late but when I was growing up there really wasn't much of a spiritual vibe in the fam. In fact, the only religious person in the family was me. For a time.
See, I went to a Christian school (a private school that happened to have a Christian affiliation). I first heard the call of God in the second grade when singing the song "Jesus wants Me for a Sunbeam" during music class. That song stirred something deep within. A love of the Lord!
Jesus wants me for a sunbeamWhen I sang the words I believed that Jesus really did want me to be his personal ray of sunshine in heaven! I can still remember being amazed at this new feeling. I really loved God! As it turned out it wasn't God I loved so much as singing.
To brighten up his day
In every way try to please Him
With the things I say.
Either way my joyful pious warbling landed me a place in choir and I spent all my school career heaping blessings upon His name in both English and Latin, in both pop-Christian melodies ("If I was a teddy bear, I'd thank you, God, for my fuzzy-wuzzy hair") and in somber classical performances (Benjamin Brittens Requiem in D Minor).
For a while I also attended Sunday school at a local church. I went with another family who gazed sorrowfully at my heathen mother as she waved goodbye to me in her robe. I attended Sunday school because the girl I accompanied had shown me these awesome stickers they gave you for going. Stickers you could stick into your very own cute little Bible! The stickers were tiny and had cute weentsy little bees on them and inspirational messages: Bee kind. Bee nice. Bee good. I went to church so I could get the loot. Bee mine! But once I got them for myself I lost interest in Jesus. And once I realized you could be in the choir without praying, I no longer felt duty-bound to be anyone's sunbeam.
Thus began and ended my conversation with God unless you count the many, many Halleluias I have proffered in churches, standing in my choir girl's robe. I spent a fair bit of my schooling learning about other religions and I think they're all equally sensible in theory and dreadful in practice. So I don't plan to raise Crabkid with any of it. But I know I must also be careful not to be too contemptuous of religion, which is hard for me; yet we all know if we look down upon something, our kids—if they have any spine at all—are likely to revere it.
I'm all for the study of religion from a historical/literary/philosophical perspective. But I'm also with those people who think that atheism's message should be equally voiced in a tolerant society. Gotta love the Brits for coming up with the cash and gumption to run this plug for atheism on municipal buses!
As for Crabkid...God-moms, don't get your knickers in a knot: I'll do my best not to push my atheism onto her and I certainly plan to discuss anything she's interested in and expose her to sources other than her mom. But I can't help hoping she'll nix the God business and be a Buddhist type like her dad...I just think Buddhists are so much more civilized.
p.s. Hot off the presses: come read about my run-in with a Bragdaddy.