Attitudes to religion

Almost all of us who profess to having, or believing in, a religion are born into it. Is that not true? We then grow up with the beliefs, rituals, and other practices of that inherited faith. If the family’s faith is strong, then the child is carried along with the flow. That is how and why I was a regular attendee at out Pilleyar (or Ganesh) temple. As an immigrant family, security, health, and education for the children were of paramount significance. To us, religious belief is an integral part of our existence.

Later in their lives, some people exchange their religion for another. It would normally be a well-thought out shift of allegiance, reflecting a search for a more satisfying faith or religious community. Some will support more than one faith, praying (as appropriate) in diverse places of prayer, as did my mother in her later years.

Then there are those who quietly disengage from religion, except possibly in matters relating to hatches, matches, and despatches, viz. births, marriages, and deaths. The withdrawal may reflect a full belly with security, or a seriously considered conclusion that the rituals or the priesthood of their religion do not meet any ongoing need; or that there is a significant discontinuity between promise and outcome; or that the behaviour of priest or congregation is not congruent with the asserted claims of that religion.

Some of these people will go to the extreme stance of atheism. Thus, there is free choice. One does not need to adopt the faith of one’s ruler, especially when the ruler converts from one religion to another, as has occurred in history. Yet, I have noticed during my involvement in civil society that some parents who do not attend church want their children to be exposed to the family’s faith during school hours in a secular State school. Is this not curious?