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November 29, 2007

It's been a while

It's the holidays. What can I say? We choose to celebrate a secular, yet traditional, Christmas over here. To each his own.

That being said, after reading this quote from Phillip Pullman:

Religion is at its best when it is furthest away from power. ... As soon as it gets its hands on power, it's no good.

I would race to see the movie. Yes, that movie. It looks to be a fun movie and the kids and I are going to go and enjoy without looking for hidden agendas and subliminal messaging. I am even more likely to go now. Do you see anywhere in that quote where he says that believing in god is a bad thing. No? It must be there, right? Because the Catholic League is saying that's what he means. I see him saying that religion is bad and that would be bad for business for the Catholic League. And, as cynical as it is, non-profit or not, that's what religion seems to be for the most part these days--a business. If no one went to these giant warehouse churches how could they afford to operate? What if people simply chose to congregate in small groups and worship together without pomp or ceremony? Gasp.

The whole thing just makes me crazy. The Nativity Story was in theaters last season and I didn't protest the theater. I didn't picket outside. I didn't organize press conferences. I just chose to spend my money on other movies. That's it. And you know what? I trust that my kids could have seen that movie and come away with their own beliefs still intact having possibly have learned something about other people. Do I think that kids are going to be leaving organized religion in droves after seeing/reading the trilogy? Nope. They will still be forced to attend until they can decide on their own what they believe. Some will stay. Some will go. And it will have nothing to do with an armored polar bear.

Posted by michelle at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007

And sometimes, the fun just falls into your lap

Thanks to one of my best friends, here are links to an essay and a flickr set from a visit to the Creation Museum. Honestly, I was just wasting time when I found all this fun.

Do you know how jealous I am?

That's it. It's decided. We need to go there. The responses from the boys while we looked through the photos were priceless. I am so proud of them.

J: "So they think we all descended from inbreeders??"
J: "Well, who do they think wrote the bible??"
C: "If they got kicked out of the garden, then wasn't all that stuff outside the garden already anyway?"
C and J (on viewing the boy riding the dinosaur): "Bwahahahahahahaha! This is funnier than a Simpsons episode."

Oh, we have to go. Anyone want to see if we can get a group rate for heathens?

Posted by michelle at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2007

Add it to the list

There are reasons that I don't homeschool. First and foremost? The safety and sanity of all the members of our family, the tall and the small. Do I have ideas on what should be included in my kids' education? Absolutely. And I'll feel free to supplement when I deem it necessary. But I feel there is something important to be said for learning how to function in a society that has more than one viewpoint, for learning to respect other people's beliefs and for experiencing other cultures.

That said? Sometimes I think some of these people are crazy. Scary crazy. Please don't get me wrong. I know a lot of people who have successfully homeschooled their children and done a good, well-balanced job. But...as a result of participating in NaBloPoMo on my other blog, I have been wandering around new sites via the randomizer. And it just seems to me that lately homeschool=christian. And not just any, but the "we're keeping our kids away from those dangerous scientists, liberals and atheists" variety.

Why is this? Why is religion so incompatible with education that people feel a need to segregate? Why can't religious values be taught separately from secular lessons? What kind of society are we creating by forming new barriers between people? Sure, a lot of home-schoolers have groups that they belong to but I am guessing that these groups are made up of like-minded people. Again, no way to learn to interact with people of differing views besides avoidance. It's all a little scary to me.

There are days when I would love to be in charge of every little thing that enters my kids' brains. There are also days when I am not drinking. Seriously, I am not capable of teaching, with any degree of competence, a high school level science curriculum. Could I teach some of the courses with competence? Sure. But not all. And what if my weaknesses could possibly be areas where my child would excel?

As far as theology, do I express my opinions at home. Absolutely. Most families do through teaching, tradition, church, etc. But that doesn't mean that I won't let my kids explore other ideologies if they are drawn to them. Am I going to break down and give up on them if they decide they want to go to church? No. Do you think that these kids who are being homeschooled the "christian way" would be allowed the same freedom to choose not to believe in a deity?

Get out there. It's a great big, scary, wonderful world. You give your kids the best you can and trust that they are prepared. For some, I guess that means home schooling. I just feel concern that the choice to home school isn't always predicated on more than one factor.

Posted by michelle at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2007

The hub-bub on the book

I didn't put the title of the book in the post title. I really don't want to step into the fray. But here's the thing--

So what if The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) is written by an atheist? Do I check every books author to see what he/she believes? No.

Now let's move to the next question, shall we? So what if the author hated Narnia? Isn't he allowed. My kids read Narnia, we saw the movie too, but we chose to ignore the religious allegory and enjoy it as fictional fantasy. (I am attempting not to make too many snarky comments about religion vs. fantasy). Doesn't this author have as much right to write fantasy based on his beliefs? Goose, gander, you get it, right?

Some of my favorite reviews over at Amazon are the ones that claim that this book is "dangerously anti-religious." Dangerously? Am I dangerous? What if I went on to review Narnia as "dangerously religious?" Silly, yes? How are other people's views dangerous? How is your child at risk by reading a text if your beliefs are so strongly reinforced through church and family?

And....if a movie is made out of this film is it necessarily some underhanded plot to turn the world to atheism? Give me a damn break. But if there were a movie written by an atheist with a scientific or secular approach to the fantastical elements where is the harm? Did we not have screenings of The Nativity Story last season? How is that ok and this isn't? Especially when Golden Compass is being sold as a fictional story? This isn't fiction being wrapped up in a pretty package and sold as history. Isn't that infinitely more dangerous?

So you don't believe what the author believes--so what. So don't go see the film. Or go see the film and enjoy it as a nice work of fiction. No one is trying to convert anyone. And the saddest part is that the movie makers were so concerned with impending controversy that they dulled the movie down so as not to offend the easily offended. So now? We have a film that is being criticized for being too religious and not religious enough. Have at it crazies. Glad we could entertain you.

I just have to wonder why it was ok to show the other film, which was the damn Xmas story as told in the bible, nothing subtle there, but not this, a piece of fiction that has some allegorical atheist elements that the target audience probably won't even notice. J is reading the books right now and doesn't see them as religious works. You bring agendas with you to a reading. Sometimes fiction is just fiction when you're a kid--sometimes it's true even as an adult.

And in case you're wondering why the ranting--it's because I just came from reading a home school blog where it was being discussed. Home schooling is a post for another day--pros, cons and the dangers of the crazies.

Posted by michelle at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)