To these perennial questions, I offer some answers — not to close a conversation but to broaden one. I do not claim to know anything you don’t know, but if I can help you remember what you already do know, I am blessed.My wife and I come from different religious backgrounds and are about to have our first child. Our parents are competing to determine the religious identity of our child, but we don’t follow any religion and don’t want our child to be labeled at birth. What should we do?I believe there is only one way to raise a child — with the truth as best as you and your wife can discern it and with the values you see arising from that truth. Tell your parents that you plan to raise a just, loving, and courageous child who thinks critically and acts righteously. Assure them that whenever their religions share those values, you will share those religious teachings as well.But make it clear that you do not believe truth belongs to any one religion, and you do not want your child to be limited to any one religion. You want to raise a spiritually mature child, rather than a religiously loyal one.A lot of …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.