Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Not Sure What to Say

Photo: mugley, Flickr Creative Commons

I was sick yesterday, some mild virus or something. I ran 3 miles the night before, posted my best ever time for that distance, and on the way home I started feeling sick. I just over-exerted myself, I thought. The problem was that when I was rested and rehydrated, I was still feeling pretty crappy. I woke up throughout the night willing myself to be able to stay in bed and go back to sleep instead of having to go kneel in front of the toilet. The next morning, on my way to the shower, the urge could not be resisted and I vomited what little was left from supper the evening before. After I finished, I went about my business, fully expecting to go to work anyway. After all, I wasn't even running a fever.

That was until about an hour later when I was walking out the door and feeling worse than when I woke up. I still went in to work, but now only to set up my substitute lessons so I could come back home and sleep in peace. By the time I got home I was actually running a fever, although a slight one, and I spent most of the day asleep.

When Little Gandhi came home he was upbeat about the whole thing. "God will heal you!" he gleefully exclaimed. I still haven't figured out the best way to respond when he says things like that, so I weakly replied, "Yeah, and my immune system."

The kid is going to be exposed to fundamentalist Protestant thought. There's no way to avoid it. He's currently in a Christian pre-school (because it's the only option) and we're in a small town in the heart of the Bible belt. I had an aunt (by marriage) refuse treatment for cancer because her faith was strong. Very few people criticized her, even behind her back, for the decision. It seems that even the people here who don't live that way still seem to think that belief system is something to aspire to. I'm one of the few who don't. There's a quality to a lot of Protestant philosophy that I find disturbing. The belief that God will fix everything takes away the drive to do anything about problems larger than the self. The thing is, I'm not trying to raise a nonbeliever, no matter what my personal issues are. Also, considering my job, I don't exactly want to have the kid running around pre-K shouting "God is dead. All Hail Darwin!" I mean, they tolerated the lesbian softball coach as long as she lead winning teams, but as soon as she made some players late for Wednesday night church services, she ended up without a team.

What I do want is a kid who's not going to write off fact and reason just because some religious group refuses to update their interpretation of a vague foundational text. I mean, the whole heliocentric thing used to be heresy. It wouldn't be the first time religious leaders read the book wrong. I'm sure there will be a day when I sit down with the kid and discuss religion, but he's only three. It's not going to happen anytime soon, but for now I can answer his questions about animals and stars with as much of the science as he's capable of processing. He may go around telling me that God will heal me, but he follows it up with the question of whether or not pteranodonts were the dinosaurs that turned into birds. It will be interesting which world view will take the stronger hold as he gets older.

But please don't let the kid turn into a Creationist. I'd rather he be gay.


Courtney said...

If he turns out to be a gay Creationist, then you should prepare to disown him.

Nah, I'm kidding. I think a kid's parents are much more influential than day care teachers, and he won't be getting that stuff when he's in school (I assume) because it's against the law. Sure, he'll be exposed to it, but I doubt too many kids end up with those kind of fundamentalist beliefs if their own parents don't push them.

Mickey said...

Good post. Gandhi will be fine and so will you. I believe.

Mickey said...

Is no one reading your blog anymore? I was hoping this post would spark a good discussion, but the only comments so far are from the childless.

Jacob said...

I don't think I have any regular readers who find my attitude on this all that strange. The ones who disagree with me are the non-confrontational types because they aren't hard-line enough.

That and I get like 8 people visiting the site per day. It got up into the 20s on average for the week after I posted that beer of the year post, but since then it's dropped back into the single digits.

Sid said...

O man. I can't stop laughing at E's "God will heal you" response. Fucking hilarious.