Friday, January 13, 2012

How Spiders Saved My Son From Eternal Damnation

Photo Credit: Flickr

In case you don't know, we are Unitarian Universalists. Which means that, at least by the standards of our religion, we are not raising blasphemer heathens, although I realize that this might make very little difference to you, if you are already inclined toward thinking that way.

But, if that's the case, you really shouldn't read my blog anyway.

For a long period of time my eldest son, Rowan believed in Santa Claus but did not believe in God.  Because, hello, Santa keeps filling his stocking, people. What the hell has God done for him lately?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, that's fine if you are a U.U. We encourage our kids to think these things over and "build their own theology".


Anyway, my littlest had spent all of kindergarten an avowed atheist, which kind of got on my nerves, because if you believe in leprechauns, faeries, bathroom monsters, Rudolph and the magic blue light that can be used to protect you from the monsters no one sees but you, I find no cognitive dissonance in just going ahead and believing in God.

I am an atheist. In the sense that I don't believe in a conscious force guiding the universe. This is what most people mean by God. What I mean by God, when I do claim to believe in God–which I sometimes do–is that we are all connected, that a kind of sacred life force runs through everything–not in a supernatural way–but in a biological, relational, natural sort of way.

(more crickets)

Anyway, I would just as soon my kid not inform other kids in kindergarten that God is not real, have them tell him that he is going to Hell, and then have the other kid get in trouble. And so on. And I think that this particular child, who is a very imaginative, magical, Waldorf-y sort of child should get to have the supernatural if it makes him happy. Reason will catch up with him soon enough. But I could never convince him to re-language his atheism into anything more palatable, such as

"I don't believe God is a person." or

"I believe God is the Universe." or some-such.

Until his first grade class did a unit on spiders.

So, today he comes home and states that
"When I said God didn't exist, it was because I thought there were two Gods–the one that exists and the one that doesn't exist–but now I believe God is the Web of Life."

He goes on.

"Mom! I want to have a God party. I want to have a web of life party."

 I say, "Oh, what will we have to eat at this party?"

 "Web of life cupcakes." he says.

"It will be at Urban Park. Can we have it there? Please, Mom?"

I can just see the invitations now.

Update: I originally published this post in October. Tonight Mikalh brought up the subject of spiritual first grade parties again. What he proposed is that we gather his friends for a sort of natural Genesis party, but that first there first be auditions for parts in a play to take place there.

Mikalh: "I think I will have to ask Grandma Valerie for help to make me some costumes. I don't have any 'How-Life-Came-to-Be' costumes."

Me: "What exactly is a 'How-Life-Came-to-Be' costume? Can you give me an example?"

Mikalh: "There will be lots of costumes! Things like a dinosaur and a meteorite. I could be the meteorite."

And this is why I'm reluctant to schedule play dates for him.


  1. I wonder if you shouldn't submit THIS to the contest. You've got one day left, and the word count just about works, particularly if you're not separating paragraphs with extra returns, and including photos and credits.


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