…in angels. (*something good in everything I see….* Is that stuck in your head now? You’re welcome.) Joking aside, I truly do. I believe in heaven, or at the very least, I believe in the idea of something more after death. I believe in hope and the hope that faith can engender. I believe that people can trust in something or someone that they can’t see. I believe in love-whether you love a man or a woman and whether you are a man or a woman. I believe in a woman’s right to abortion and I believe in the necessity of divorce.
It’s safe to say that I am a lapsed Catholic, yet I cannot help but hold fast the beliefs that helped make the world seem like a better place as I grew up.
It’s not for me to decide whether God exists or not. I would never criticise someone else’s thoughts on the matter and I would hope to have my views respected, as with any topic. I came to my own conclusions as a young adult and have mulled these conclusions over and over as I get older, trying to figure out exactly what it is I am. I’m no atheist, but I can’t lay claim to the title of good little Irish Catholic girl any longer. I suppose I’m agnostic, in broad terms. Phil is as black-and-white an atheist as they come. Ghosts, angels, life after death, God, the Bible…all piffle as far as he is concerned. He’s not particularly passionate about the subject, he just doesn’t believe. Simples.
Phil’s certainty and my hesitance have caused us little friction so far. We were united in our decision to marry in a registry office and we have no intention of baptising any future children in a church. And yet, simple as that decision was to make, it has opened a can of worms and tipped them all over the Baby Name book. What are we going to teach our children about religion?
I was raised a Roman Catholic, yes, but by a mother who genuinely believed what she was sharing with her children. I can’t pretend to be that, so where does that leave us? Phil and I were walking past the church in the village one lovely, frosty Sunday morning and I stopped to watch the churchgoers file in through the enormous oak doors. As a young couple walked up the cobbled path with their two little boys bounding ahead of them, I realised that Phil and I will probably never take our children to church on a Sunday morning. And I wondered out loud, will they be missing out? Phil poo-pooed my worries, and off we wandered. As we strolled, hand in hand, through the sleepy little village I pressed my point further. ‘But what we tell our children about what happens when you die?’
‘That you get buried in the ground and worms gobble you up’, was his (only slightly joking) reply. Great. And even though we talked and talked and talked about it all morning, we never really came to a conclusion. And it’s been niggling at me. I don’t want to teach my children about a belief system that I don’t fully believe in, but I want them to experience the beauty of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and the impossible history contained in a graveyard. I want them to believe that all dogs go to heaven and that when Grandma or Grandpa or Reg-from-next-door dies; they become a star in the sky. I know that it’s up to us how we raise our children, but am I aiming for the impossible?
(And will I ever get to teach our kids about heaven with Mr ‘And Then You Become Worm Food’, in the next room?!)