The Miracle Of Birth Has Made Me No More Religious

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My name is Ellen. And I am a nonbeliever.

Before you question my credibility, let me just say I had more than enough time to contemplate religion when I was younger. My earliest memories involve precious Saturdays spent shopping for pussy-bow blouses and saddle shoes that came in handy for fidgeting with throughout interminable sermons, during which even the most pious elders in my section would inevitably fight to stay awake.

There were weekend youth clubs, evidence by the dozen T-shirts I saved for gym class, each ironed with a flocked logo that avoided religious symbols yet nevertheless betrayed the utter nerdiness of the event referred to. And I’ll bet out of all the Catholics in Boston, not one would have had to endure my after-school schedule: four religion classes weekly, taught by a succession of believers and the odd cleric, whose strategy, at least it seemed to me, was to drive me to accept God only so they would shut up.

Whatever the true strategy, it didn’t work. Quite the opposite, it hardened my resolve to never, ever subject my children to such a program of indoctrination.

As I got older, I started to suspect I might reverse that decision once my children were born. And that’s despite what may well have come over me while experiencing the “miracle of birth” (if anyone is going to see the light, surely it’s the parent who watches a human being form before her very eyes). For doesn’t having a child give you ample opportunity to pray to god and actually mean it? And besides which, so many of my friends and relatives – some even bigger cynics than myself – had, in parenthood, returned to the family fold and put their own children on that same religious path they once scorned.

Well, four years and two births into parenthood and I’m still waiting to be born again. (Even the death of loved ones, it must be said, albeit in parentheses, has failed to get me pondering a “better place.”) Which makes me wonder if something is not quite right with me, you know, spiritually. Am I due a day of reckoning? Will I one day rue the decision not to hedge my bets? Will my children see this as one more reason to resent my parenting choices?

It shouldn’t surprise me that a parenting decision has got me even doubting my very own doubts.

What are your thoughts?

(Photo: Brand X Pictures)