We all know that religious literacy has the potential to be a total bore. Some of you know this from personal experience. Some of your kids know it, too. Hell, even the Internet knows it.
Not long ago, I Googled “Making religion Fun.” Nine out of the ten sites that popped up were about “making fun of religion.” Society is on a kick right now, and a lot of non-believers are counteracting religious indoctrination by making light of theology as often, and as publicly, as possible. But for parents who want their kids to be religiously literate, that approach is incredibly short-sighted.
Take Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for example. If you’re too busy explaining to your child that Adam and Eve weren’t really the first people and that those who believe such things are clinically insane, you’re probably not telling the Adam and Eve story very well. And that’s a shame! Because it’s a really great story, as well as being a vital addition to our kids’ cultural knowledge.
It’s funny because, once upon a time, I found myself annoyed at the sheer number of religious references, imagery and collateral in the world around me. It seemed almost creepy. As a parent, though, I use all these things to my advantage. Whenever I see a Mormon on a bike or a candle bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary or a Buddha statue in Target’s garden section, I treat them like a micro-learning experiences. A quick mention is usually all that’s required. “Look, there’s Buddha. He’s meditating.”
Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m also on the lookout for other fun ways to make religious literacy a little less painful. There was the time I made an All-Religious Charm Bracelet for my daughter, or the time I marveled at the thought of an entire line of Religious Barbies, or the time I created a two-part Shopping Guide filled with quality stuff that could help introduce kids to various philosophies and world religions without making you feel icky. [Read more...]