Thursday, January 27, 2011

Raising Atheists or I'm Glad I'm Not THAT Guy.

I am lucky. My wife and I agree with raising our kids,Will and Ali, as atheists. Sure, I get the look from her when uttering my (our?) godless fatwa to the kids: God is an imaginary friend that a lot of people have. Do not tell them that God is an imaginary friend, they may get very mad at you. She is what you would call ... normal and from a relatively (in comparison with my family which doesn't say a whole lot) non-dysfunctional family who never talked a whole lot about God. Me? My religious upbringing has left me with the lingering feeling that a horde of religious zombies may attack at any time and infect my kids with the zombie/Sky Fairy meme. Don't worry, I don't go around the house chanting the godless fatwa. Not only would that mean I am dangerously dancing at the edge of sanity (can't have that - I am happy with my neuroses, thank you), but it would be sure to boomerang back in my face with my children eventually turning out to be Mormans and wanting to baptize me when I'm dead.

However, many  people are involved romantically (or *married) and their partner is already religious or becomes religious. If the person is already a Sky Fairyist then you mostly know what you're getting yourself into and can come up with a plan on how to deal. If the other person converts then who knows what will happen? My prediction is trouble... potentially big zombie trouble.

Just ask Nelson Derbigny who is now in a child custody battle with his ex-wife and kinda newish Hasidic convert Elina Margolina. Before the relationship went sour it was just like a storybook tale. He was the manager at a nightclub and she was an exotic dancer at that club. Just like Romeo and Juliet. They were married for 12 years and then divorced. They agreed to joint custody of their now 8 year old son and to raise him Jewish. (Needless to say, she is no longer a dancer.) It seems that Mr Derbigny wasn't aware (or told) of the not so subtle differences between his boy being raised Hasidic versus being raised in non-crazy land. One of his ex-wife's major complaints? Dad doesn't run a kosher kitchen. Gasp! Will god ever forgive the child?  What will all the other religious fanatics think? I don't want to paint dad as an angel. He has been rebelling (acting out as we would call it in the psych business) by feeding his kid bacon while laughing manically - HA! HA! HA!

OK, I just made that laughing manically part up because I thought it was a funny image. I stand by that joke. Dad is reported to feed his boy bacon and not ensuring the kid wears his yarmulke to school.

So the boy is going to be stuck in the middle between his parent's battling egos and Sky Fairy ideology. The trial may be over in a week. Maybe it will all work out and the parents can start to act like ... parents and not crazy people.

I doubt it.

My advice to the kid?

You're in it for 10 years.

No, it's not your fault.

This is Purgatory.

* Yes, that was supposed to be funny.

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