Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Faith: Children of Divorce


A study just came out that children of divorce have a weaker connection to God and religion than compared with children who grow up with a married family.  The first reaction I saw to this article was, “this is the first positive outcome to divorce”.  And yes I laughed, after all we are universally born atheists.  But there is a huge underlying problem in this.  Religion and family are so delicately balanced that at the onset of divorce, it is so easy to say goodbye to religion as well.  It makes me wonder just how many people out there are getting married for religions sake being the primary reason.  This raises all sorts of societal implications regarding the true importance of marriage.  Would it be so important in our society if not for religion.

I know in my own personal experience that within the month my ex and I got engaged he was offered a promotion and a raise.  Being engaged with plans to marry says something in the corporate world, something favorable about a man’s character.  I am not quite sure this is the case with woman, as the assumption is that once that lady walks down the aisle, the kids will start popping out.  But it also says something about faith and morality.  If a person is the marrying type, then it stands to reason that they have strong family values and a good moral compass.   They can plan, see their future, which is proof of this strong foundation.  These core values are rooted in many religions throughout the world.  So it is no wonder that religion prays so well with marriage. 

“You don't need religion to have morals. If you can't determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion.” – Unknown (I am leaving this unknown, as some people have credited this to Morgan Freeman, however there are sources that look like it was said prior to him).  With more atheists having freedom to share their views with less backlash, it is no wonder that the breakdown of marriage directly affects a child’s ability to see the value in religion.  An organization that puts such strong focus on simple human behavior is bound to see a slide in their attendance and subscriptions when eyes are opened to the notion that empathetic human beings with strong morals can exists in the absence of religious guidance.

George Carlin said “don’t just teach your children to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything”.  When we educate our children to their full capacity, we provide them the most valuable gift, critical thinking.  It is not just enough anymore to follow in the political, and religious footprints of our parents.  We are not raising little clones of ourselves, instead we are raising individuals who have the chance to make a difference in the world.  To have the freedom to think, and choose to be the people that they want to be, for themselves and not an invisible being.  I clearly remember when I realized that could be a good person without the fear that something or someone was watching me all the time.  I do not think there is any direct correlation between my mom getting divorced and my lack of religious belief.  But I do feel very strongly that because my parents were breaking their ties, I learnt the skills to think critically about their situation, and this for me lead to a natural questioning of religion.  

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