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Discussion 6 to Ask the Patriarch 93
Participate in Holiday Celebrations

by syrinxfox (screen name)

From the UCTAA Yahoo Group

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Well, I can't be as thorough as Mitch but I can say that I was raised completely devoid of religion. And I turned out just fine. (and then babble on for a while)

My only advice, while not being too much focused on morality, (which I'll address in a skidge), is holiday observances.

I am very thankful that my parents celebrated the big holidays while I was growing up. Now, mind you, I had NO clue as to the religious significance of any of these until I was an adult, but it I think I would have felt a bit left out if we hadn't. I'm just talking Easter and Xmas here. Easter just meant spring and candy and Xmas meant giving gifts to the ones you loved, nothing more. My parents still gave me the whole "Santa" spiel, but Santa's just a commercial being now anyway.

Now on to a bit of morality...
but first some background so you know where I'm coming from.

My father was raised Lutheran and my mother was raised very Jewish.
I guess they decided, "she'll figure it out when she's an adult"...
You can see where I ended up ^-^...
So the only times I ever been to a church were for weddings. I've never been to a synagogue. I've never been to a funeral. I was never told about "god". I was never taught about heaven or hell. I don't think the subject of an afterlife was ever breached upon.
I never got "the big talk" about sex and life. I learned most of that in science class!

The issue of right and wrong was based on being nice and being mean. I was told that you don't lie, cheat, steal, hurt, maim..etc... because it hurts others. But we all know kids like to test limits, and whenever they were, all it took was a good yelling and I was put in my place. I often like to use the term "use the fear of god" for raising children. But that just basically means you get big and scarey when they do bad and so they don't want to do bad because they don't like it when you're big and scarey....

As I got older, (teens), I knew not to do stupid crap because it was just plain stupid, not because "god" said so. I was allowed to see what happened to people who made bad decisions instead of being shielded from them, and that was about all the convincing I needed.
Not to say I was perfect... I'm sure I've given my parents many an ulcer in my teen years but teens do that to you anyway.

And I'll tell ya: (somewhat personal stuff)

-I lost my virginity at age 16 but after long discussions with my long term boyfriend at the time, (whom I'm still friends with), and not without about as much protection as I could get my hands on.
-I have never been pregnant
-I never did drugs
-I never drank, (until college)
-I graduated high school and college with high marks -AND I hung out with the "wrong crowd" when I was a teenager!

My morals were intact at about age 13 thanks to my parents.
And, surprising to me, I found I was more "ethical" and "moral" when I got out into the "real" world than most people. And I'm still thanking my parents for that.

Now I'm 25, married to a wonderful man, (who's even in the military, Coast Guard... no Iraq...), we have our own house and basically have my whole life ahead of me to do whatever I want with it. And I don't feel "guilty" about not having faith. I know where my boundaries lie and I stick to them. I plan to do the same if and when I have children.

As a side note; my husband was raised in a VERY Irish Catholic family. he's the youngest of 6 and his parents are some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. They are what all Christians SHOULD be. They are very into their faith, but they never push it on anyone. They are kind and generous and understand that people are going to have differing opinions on life and they are OK with that. They are open to discussion on any topic and understand that the bible is more of a "guideline" than "martial law". The only place where our opinions differ is on birth control, and probably reproductive rights, (though we've never discussed it). But they raised their children to be smart about that. (they are even cool with gay marriage!) Our morals are pretty much on the same level. My husband's ethics and morals match mine exactly and he was raised VERY, VERY Irish catholic.

If more Christians were like my in-laws, we wouldn't have problems!

I'm sorry if I'm starting to drag on, I just want to make sure you understand where I'm coming from with all of this, and to not worry so much about it.

I wish you luck and all this was just to say," I was raised without religion and turned out just fine!". (as did my sister)...

EM