According to a 2009 Gallup Poll on the importance of religion in the daily lives of Americans, my state ranks around 66%, close to the national average. You can tell by looking at the washed out mint color of heathenism in contrast to the deep green of religious fervor elsewhere on the U.S. map.
The number and the color coded map seem less feasible to me as I pass well tended, road side alters; am reminded by my students who echo their parents that there is only one God – Christian, and it is theirs; and become acutely aware of the proselytizing that occurs when my child crosses the threshold to school each morning.
Of course, I’m being overly dramatic when I say this, only appealing to my inner need to exaggerate the reality – perhaps compounded by bias seeping out of my abandoned cafeteria Catholic upbringing but, I feel as if I’m floating in a sea of religious zealot zombies looking to eat my brain, and convert my kid.
So hard, so hard I try to instill a comparative view of religion, spirituality, and philosophy that will give him the insight and tools to make his own decisions about faith and belief. But, each time he makes associations about the Trinity and 7 being a lucky number, because that’s how many days it took to create the world, I feel defeated. Mind you, this has much less to do with Christianity itself than it does with the lack of control I have over the matter and absence of diversity in thought my son is exposed to. In all honesty, if he wants to be fundamentalist, orthodox, born-again, snake handling, Penitente – great! I just want him to know what the world has to offer.
My plan is this -to take him to church, to a mosque, a synagogue, a Buddhist center, pagan ceremonies…maybe in this way he will find something that speaks to him, and I will find a way to be less irked by mainstream ideology