While surfing on Quora, I came across an interesting question which went as follows- If your child converts to Islam, what would you do to him/her? I had already ruminated on the subject a number of times in the past. So, this time I thought of shelling out my perspective on the same.
So, let’s go!
I am a Hindu by birth and an atheist by choice. And, my reaction to my child taking up any religion be it, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism would depend on one of the two cases.
In case my child takes up any religion out of fear, sorrow, disappointments or someone coaxing him/her into believing that the supreme almighty that no one has seen will make everything right again, I would not be very pleased or poised.
If any of those factors turns out to be the motivation that drives my kid into any religion, I would not just be disgruntled with my angel, but more so with myself. Maybe I wasn’t there for my kid when she/he needed me around to tell her/him, that she/he has a lot of greatness in her/him to turn around every misery or downfall into a joyful affair.
So, if those factors motivate him/her into bowing down oneself to a deity no one has ever come across in the real world, I would more or less be rueful about my parenting and not being able to do justice to my kids as a father.
However, another case may arise for my child taking up any religion. And, this case can arise only once they have turned into mature and rationale thinkers. I want them to explore the world with the attitude that they have to discover for themselves if any almighty exists, be it Jesus, Mohammad, or Ram.
And, after learning, observing and exploring the world and putting all of those experiences through his/her rationale thoughts if my child takes up belief into any religion, I would be just as proud a parent, as I would have been before she/he took up the religion.
The basic tenet that I wish for my future kids to live by is the following-
Your parents love you and are going to do everything in their capacity to make sure you get whatever you deserve. So, forget about praying, chanting and thinking of some almighty and focus on making this world a better place.
Believe in yourself and your parent’s love and spread smiles, joys and make the lives of the people around you better, happier and easier. That is the religion I wish for my kids to follow.
And, in that course, if their rationale suggests that they can do better on this mission of augmenting value to humanity by joining any particular religion, then and only then should they take up any of them, be it Islam, Hinduism or whatever.
My parents and society I grew up around, forced Hinduism on me as soon as I came out of my Maa’s vagina. I never had the choice to discern for myself if any God really exists. But, I won’t let myself or anyone else force that on my kids.
The only person I want them to believe into is themselves. I want their belief into themselves to be that powerful. I want them to be capable enough to judiciously decide what really needs their energy, time and resources.
And, if I would be able to bring up my children with that tenet as the centrepiece- “Decide for yourself”, I would be proud and happy doesn’t matter even if she/he goes on to begin a religion of his/her own!