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Where Do You Stand: Raising Children in a Two-Religion Household

In today's world, it's not uncommon to marry outside of your race, culture, or religion. That's all fine and well when you don't have kids. But when children are brought into the mix, deciding how to raise them, religiously speaking, could be problematic. What if both parents have strong beliefs in their faith? Some families have no problem teaching kids both (Chanukah Bush anyone?) but is that confusing for the kids? Should one parent convert to the other's religion? Of course, this matter should be worked out before getting married and starting a family, but tell me, where do you stand on raising kids in a duel-religion household?

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stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
I am Buddhist and my bf is Christian. I truly believe that all religions are different paths to the same truth. I would have no problem with our child participating in traditionally Christian rites and traditions, which are of course different from my own, because I believe those are the superficial parts of religion. I feel that the important parts of religion are shared between all faiths. My beliefs are perfectly compatible with the Bible's message of living a simple, honorable life and accepting the importance of the divine in one's life. As long as my child embraces that message in his life, I will be happy, regardless of whether he chooses to call it a Christian or Buddhist message.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
lolalu - OMG! I'm totally terrified of icky situations like this when we have kids and stuff. I'm an out of practice Pagan and FH comes from an Adventist family. His family have given me 2 Bibles, 1 women's prayer journal and countless pamplets, magazines, etc. detailing their faith, so I can only imagine what they'll do when we have kids. FH has fallen away from the religion, but still has his faith in place, but they're mad he doesn't attend church. FH and I have talked and decided he'll teach our kids about the Bible when they're young, once they get older I'll give them a crash course in world religions and let them take it from there, but no churches, Sunday school, baptism, etc. We've talked about moving out of state to prevent interference from his family specifically. (Sounds dramatic, but we both know it's coming.) As for my family, it's always been interesting regarding religion. We were all baptized Catholic and my older siblings all went to church, but by the time I was born no one attended mass. I tried to get my mom (Catholic) to take me to church at about 13 and she always had an excuse not to. So I asked my dad (atheist or agnostic, hard to tell) to help me read the Bible; he said he couldn't help me find god there, but maybe in some other books. He gave me books on world religions, I'd read and then we'd discuss. Helped me find my path pretty flawlessly, although when I finally settled on a path my mom threw a fit and tried too little too late to take me to church. She's gotten to the point now where I think she's given up (after 10+ years) but has a new bone to pick since FH's family is Adventist. I totally agree that you don't need a book to teach you basic morals like honesty, respect, tolerance, responsibility and love.
gigill gigill 8 years
This is a tough that I'm not having to deal with at the moment, but for the most part I've dated guys that are Catholic (I'm a non-practicing one) or come from very lax reigious family, so there is no need to worry about this sort of thing. Ultimately, I don't think I could be with someone that had super strong beliefs that would force me to convert etc.
I would wait until the child was old enough to do the research on their own, then allow them to decide which religion is best for them. Whether that be the mother's, the father's, neither, or none at all. It should be up to an individual to decide what belief system is best for them. What is it called when you are forced to study a religion from the time you are born with no choice?
thisbulimicwar thisbulimicwar 8 years
im jewish and my bf is catholic when we have kids they will b raised jewish but i will make sure they understand that their father is catholic and what that means. i dont think it will confuse them, ppl underestimate how much children do understand. i think its important to have some religion in ur life as a base to judge things off of. later on they can choose what they want but at least they had some guidance.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i agree with twist! no bibles or korans for us, thanks!
darkoblivion darkoblivion 8 years
TwistandShout said exactly what I was going to say. When my fiance and I have children, we're going to teach our children about religion in general and whether they choose to follow one is up to them. They will not be raised one way or another. That's a personal choice for them to make when they are older.
TwistandShout TwistandShout 8 years
Teach children morality and justice, right and wrong, good and bad. You can do that without reading from a holy book, and it can greatly benefit your kids.
italianblonde italianblonde 8 years
I think it's best to not shove both religions in a kid's face. It's good that they'll get a view into different religions and beliefs, and I know some friends who celebrate Christmas and Chanukah. In the end, they'll just use their knowledge to make their own decisions anyway.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
My hubby is not Christian or Catholic, in fact, he has strong opinion against the religion. I'm raised Catholic (the 'traditional' way) and only in the last few years I 'dabbled' in Non-denominational Christian due to my bro who was a junior pastor. So yeah, it is still in a standstill, but our son is only 3. So we'll just see how things go. I'm not the type that will try to force one religion or another on my son, if he's going to be religious, it'll be on his own choosing. I do have pressure from my family who are devout Catholic to bring our son to the church and baptize him Catholic, but we'll see, shall we? :D When he's ready to choose, he will be so. Of course my family introduced the Bible and such to him (Children's Bible), although my hubby isn't participating in that activity much.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
I agree with MartiniLush entirely. As a matter of fact I wish my family would have raised me in more than one religion. My mother is Roman Catholic. But instead they just let my aunt take me to a Pentecostal Church. I would have very much liked to know more about the other religions in the world. And I know the choice made for me then was certainly not the choice I kept, but I am open to all religions still.
lolalu lolalu 8 years
If a couple makes the decision to raise their kids in an interfaith home, they better make sure that their families respect that decision as well. My hubby and I have experienced both sides of our family demeaning /joking about the other religion in front of our kids which has really pissed us off. Not to mention its made raising them to respect both of our beliefs that much harder. I mean how do you explain to a 4 year old that 'no, daddy is not going to hell just because grandpa said he is'. I mean love my family, but sometimes they just need to shut the f up!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
cmd0610, sorry that you had that experience. You know Islam states that Jews and Christians are people of the book and that their beliefs and faiths are valid, although that isn't how many people practice. Many of my friends who married muslims had to convert in order to get married. That was never an option for me, and my husband respected that. DaLy, I suppose that would be very confusing. I think raising some kids one way and others another way would cause lots of conflict. I was raised in both Judaism and Christianity and always felt comfortable with both - I guess it was never presented to me as one was more right than the other, and I certainly feel that way now. It is the same with me and my husband - our son participates equally in both religions and feels comfortable with both. Beyond that, I feel that raising someone that way makes them more open to others and leads to more respect for differing opinions.
Da-Ly Da-Ly 8 years
My mother's catholic and my father was buddhist. I was raised as buddhist, converted to catholic and a few years ago realized I'm more comfortable with the buddhist faith. My two brothers were raised catholic... that did not bring about any peace in the family. The agreement between my parents was that the third child be raised as buddhist, my mother could have the first two children as catholic.... which was a really stupid arrangement when I think about it. My parents would have so many fights when my father found out my mom brought me to church, or snuck me into sunday school. However, when my father died, I went catholic (as did my dad to appease my mom). It was hard also keeping buddhist if the one person you rely upon to go through the practices with you is suddenly gone. However, a decade later, I realize deep down I am Buddhist, but am completely out of touch with the buddhist community. Now, forward to today... my husband is Catholic. Our kids are probably going to be raised catholic with an open mind to various religions/practices. If they express an interest in buddhism or any other religion, I'm probably not the one to help them, but I can find someone who will. If anything, all I care about is the underlying morals, then they can go off to whatever they want to practice. But, like imLissy, I seriously hope it's not Scientology.
imLissy imLissy 8 years
my mom's Jewish and my dad's Catholic. My dad said he would marry my mom if they raised the kids Catholic, lol. And so it was. My bf and I are more or less both agnostic and have decided we'll teach our kid(s) about all religions, or ya know, as many as we can, and let them decide what they want to practice, if anything. As long as it isn't Scientology.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
When my ex and I were getting serious he said he couldn't marry me not specifically because I wasn't Muslim but because he was worried about the children being confused exactly like this issue here. I didn't want to convert and suggested "sacrificing" my Christianity so that our children could focus just on Islam but he said they would not understand why I practiced a different religion and insisted it would be too confusing blah blah blah- ultimately this was a huge part of us breaking up- I'm incredibly perfectly happy with my new man and I have no regrets (it worked out for the better) but I'm really inspired and happy to hear your story MartiniLush- I'm so glad you were able to work out your differences!
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 8 years
I think it's fine as long as they parents aren't nuts and just constantly trying to force things on the child or make the child choose between the religions. It shouldn't be a battle between the parents. I think the child should be brought up and educated about both religions and their beliefs and practices and then when the child is old enough, decide what path to take.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I was raised in a multi-religious household (christianity and judaism, although christianity was the dominant religion presented) and am raising my son in a multi-religious household (christianity and islam). While my husband and I are both strong believers in our respective faiths, we both have a great deal of respect for each other's beliefs. I think by modeling this respect to our son and giving him an understanding of both faiths, we are giving a great lesson in understanding and respect for all people. I don't know why it would be confusing to the child...I didn't grow up confused and I am sure he won't grow up confused - it was just "normal" for me that people were different religions.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
i do think its confusing for children i think that when the child is raised to practice two different religions, they get overwhelmed and end up abandoning religion as a whole. i dont think one parent necessarily has to convert, but one of them should sacrifice teaching their respective religion to the child.
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