Certitude may be all right for angels, but we haven't made a great success of it. Too often it's an excuse for pounding on people who lack it, or who lack our particular brand of it. And it almost always means, "Stop thinking, everyone. We already have the answer. Anything more will just muddy the waters." And then you have to choose your friends very carefully, and your reading. Besides, two groups of people are often certain about contradictory things. For at least one group, certitude is a principle of error. Why envy that? Anyway, uncertainty gets a bit more bearable when I can stop thinking of it as a deficiency, or as something I need to get over, like a bad cold. I am finite, short-lived, and easily distracted; Reality—or whatever you call it—is not in my league. Even the small questions are maddening. Why does ice float on water? Yeah, yeah, the hydrogen atoms shift with respect to the oxygen. But why is that? It's certainly a good thing for us; we wouldn't be here otherwise. But why? Beats me. But it beats me in a way that keeps me coming back for more, and I can't say that about ingesting dogmas.
This from Andy Krauss and Ted McDermott:
As a couple of gay occasional Catholics with two kids in preschool, we’ve given a lot of thought to the matter of how, or what, to teach little ones about religion, the mysteries of the universe, Catholicism, etc. Needless to say, there are some things about official Catholic teaching that we consider utterly false that no child (or adult) should be subjected to. But there is also some helpful structure and simple answers to certain of life’s questions that the Catholic religion offers which have served us well in the past year or two. As to whether kids should receive any religious indoctrination at all from such an early age, just ask those parents who’ve raised their kids in a religious vacuum what it’s like to come home and find their kids bedrooms transformed into shrines to some awful spiritual cult. (Evangelical Christianism comes to mind.) We think it’s better to inoculate them early so that they don’t discover spirituality in a dangerous sort of way at an impressionable stage later in life. We hope it works for us!
I couldn't resist Geoff Arnold's superdiversity:
You want diversity, Michelle? Let me tell you about diversity: I was born to Church of England (i.e. Episcopal) parents in England, my mother adopted Catholicism when my father left (when I was 6); I became a hard-core atheist at age 15 (in 1965). I still am; I have an abiding interest in the philosophy of religion. (Read Antony Kenny and Dan Dennett!) My wife was born of American Lutheran and Episcopalian parents, went to Catholic and Quaker schools, spent 10 years as an agnostic "apatheist", then converted to Judaism. Our son experimented with Quakerism before settling on the Episcopal church; he's now (at age 32) enrolled in an Episcopal Seminary in California, where he lives with his wife. And my daughter keeps coming back to Wicca, but when she got engaged to a Boston Irish Catholic she went through all the processes to convert to Catholicism (including a stern homily be Cardinal "Paedophil-lover" Bernard Law). However both my daughter and her husband are so appalled by the intolerance of the Catholic church that they want their son (my first grandson) to have nothing to do with it! How did all this happen, how did we approach things? Open communication, no indoctrination, supporting the kids' questions and explorations. We all respect each other, even if we all disagree fundamentally about the nature of spirituality and the divine. And we all know when to keep our mouths shut!