When asked “What religion I am?” I often stumble and then mumble something about being culturally Buddhist – but in all honesty I find myself at odds to define that I belong to a specific religion.
I grew up with taoist influences (with Gods, Goddesses and ancestral worship), Buddhist teachings, in a Convent school and have been to Churches (Roman Catholic and a range of Protestant ones too).
We have prayed in Hindu temples, visited shrines, bowed our heads at Japanese Shinto temples and seen the inside of mosques.
If pressed to define, what I do believe in? Everything and nothing. Religions teach us all to be good, to see the good in our fellow man. All religions emphasise the need to be compassionate and understanding, to forgive and to live in peace.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out, quite by accident, that Georgia can actually recite the Lord’s Prayer (not something we do at home). Through school, she has learnt to say ‘Thanks’ before a meal (she occassionally reminds us to do it too), these are all good things, except, at five, I am not ready, nor prepared to discuss religion with her, and yet some part of me, feels that there is a great need to explain to her that Christianity is not the only religion.
It does not help that Churches are the most conspicuous religious buildings available, obviously (!). Buddhist centres and Hindu temples are little shop lots, tucked away in corner streets, Sikh Gurdwaras are one-roomed offices and occassionally, a mini minaret may be seen where there is a Muslim majority.
While it’s understandable given the history of the UK that Churches are everywhere, what is quite interesting is that it is actually really hard to find physical evidence of there being other religions in practise.
Our hopes are that with more frequent visits abroad, Georgia will come to learn and realise that different people believe in different things, and as long as we accept their right to make their own choices in life, we will live in peace.
What is most important to me for now, is not so much to instill a sense of religion, but to ensure that Georgia grows up with a strong sense of positive self-belief, to know that she, and she alone is in charge of her choices and ultimately her future.
What are your thoughts on religion and are you raising your children in the religion you were raised in?
© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.