My two very curious kids have been asking me some pretty tough questions lately. I've already gotten the questions like "how did Spencer put the baby in your tummy, Mama?" and "well, how will the baby come out?" I'm totally fine answering those questions in scientifically, yet age-appropriate ways, and the kids seem to be cool with the answers I've given. The questions I haven't been prepared for, though, are things like my 3 year old son asking me, "who made the world, Mama?" and my daughter following up with "but who put the stars and the sun and the moon in the sky?" I of course can't give my 3 and 5 year olds an answer about cosmos and nebulas and supernovas and the Big Bang Theory because 1) they won't understand it which will leave them confused and frustrated and 2) I don't even have a good grasp of what that all means.
I am not a religious person. I was not raised religious, and never grew up in a church. I dabbled in going to church in middle and high school, when my friends and I found a Unitarian church that we were pretty intrigued by. It was a welcoming place, but I never gave much thought to the things I was actually learning in the youth group, so my takeaway was next to nothing, except that church wasn't as bad as I'd always imagined. When I went away to college, I jumped head first, full speed ahead into the church. I knew very few people when I started at Coastal Carolina University, so I tagged along with my then-fiance's sister and her roommate, and I found myself going to weekly meetings at a group called Refuge. This is where I got my first real introduction to Christianity. I went to a Methodist church every Sunday, and actually felt very at home there. I came very close to getting baptized, and had a very few real moments of "wow, I think I actually believe in this stuff". I remember one specifically when I was sitting at my desk in my dorm room, on the phone with a friend named Aaron. We were discussing my recent breakup with my fiance, and he was trying to be encouraging. I flipped open the bible (my very first bible) that I had recently been given, and the first passage I laid eyes on gave me exactly the guidance and answer that I'd been seeking. I can't remember the passage now... I wish I could, but I remember thinking, "did that really just happen?" and wondering if, truly, there was a God looking out for me.
Fast forward a few months, and I fell away from it all. I began to see the very judgmental sides of some of the friends I had made in the Christian community, and in the end, it disillusioned me to it all. I felt like I was in an all-or-nothing community, where I had to be a bible-thumping, God-fearing, Jesus freak. Questions weren't allowed here, and I fell away from it just as soon as I'd fallen into it. Since then, I've never revisited it much, except inside of my own head.
I remember expressing to my ex-husband how much I wished that we could raise our kids in the church. I'd seen my friends growing up who had friends from birth onward that they grew up together in the church with, and I always felt some serious jealousy. I was envious of that beautiful community that they were all a part of. At the end of the day though, I've never been able to really commit myself to believing in the higher power that the majority of the world has such faith in. I'm a big proponent of "you have to see it to believe it", and since I've never seen any such proof, I can't seem to wrap my head around it. I would love to, and I have such envy for people who can have that unwavering faith, but I guess I'm not one of those people, even if I desire to be.
Anyway, I'm at a loss as to how to answer the questions. Do I answer them the way I want to answer them, even if I have no faith to back that up? Or do I answer them by stalling and giving as best of a scientific answer as I can, which, thus far, has been a lot of "I don't know"? The kids' dad is not religious, by any means, and he hasn't had much input as to what we tell them. On the other hand, Spencer does believe in God and always has, and I wonder then what we will tell our child together, if we have differing beliefs.