This Washington Post article caught my eye: “I’m not passing my parents’ religion on to my kids, but I am teaching their values.”
The author is Jared Bilski, a writer and comedian based in Pennsylvania. He tells of growing up in the Catholic church, attending Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, and serving as an altar boy and a church reader. He says he “even strongly considered going into the priesthood.”
However, Bilski writes, “I lost faith in my faith. There were too many unanswered questions, too many problematic absolutes, too much fearmongering and way too much hypocrisy. For a religion that placed such a premium on loving thy neighbor, it sure had a lot of restrictions on whom you were allowed to love.”
The clergy-abuse scandal was the last straw. When it broke, Bilski says, “I knew I’d never return.”
However, he wants his two children to have “a solid understanding of all religions” and “respect for what others believe.” He explains: “After all, the Golden Rule is something that should be instilled in all children, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.”
As a result, Bilski and his wife intend to “expose our children to everything, spiritually speaking, to honestly answer any questions they may have about God and religion, and to let them choose for themselves.”
Most of all, he wants to pass along to his children the morality he learned from his mother. Bilski concludes: “That type of foundation matters far more than what church you belong to or whether you’re baptized because, in the end, actions will always speak louder than words, even the words of the Bible.”
Jared Bilski speaks for many Americans
I am devoting today’s article to Bilski’s commentary for two reasons. One: He clearly intends to be an evangelist for his position, as does the Post in publishing it (apparently without seeking a response from the other side). Two: His argument is becoming more popular each day.
As I noted last Thursday, the number of Americans who say they have “no religion” (23.1 percent) now exceeds the number of Catholics (23 percent) and evangelicals (22.5 percent). This equates to fifty-eight million “nones.”
Why are so many people deciding against religious engagement?
When Pew Research Center asked a representative sample of more than 1,300 religiously unaffiliated people that question, their first answer was, “I question a lot of religious teachings” (60 percent). In second place was “I don’t like the positions churches take on social/political issues” (49 percent).
Other issues included: “I don’t like religious organizations” (41 percent); “I don’t believe in God” (37 percent); “Religion is irrelevant to me” (36 percent); and “I don’t like religious leaders” (34 percent).
Clearly, Jared Bilski speaks for many Americans. Let’s respond to four issues he raises.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison