Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Uneasy Dedication

This weekend, my son is to be brought up to the front of my wife’s church and “dedicated” specifically to Jsus. Now, this symbolic human sacrifice troubles my Jewish-derived sensibilities anyway, but it also bothers me to impose this ceremony on my son without his consent. True enough, when he was just days old I had him circumcised without his consent, but this also was no ceremonial event. The doctor just did it in a back room.

Such is the life of one married to an ever-more-devout religious person, especially when one comes to accept that agnosticism-atheism makes the most sense to him. As this agnostic atheist, I acknowledge and truly treasure my Jewish heritage and the faith of my ancestors. I seek to know these beliefs, and I look upon them with humility, sympathy and even empathy. I consider myself a Jew, and to some extent I always will.

Do I believe in G-d? The answer is no, but it’s not an unequivocal no. It is a no of belief: I do not feel sure enough to have the scales tipped toward faith. I have little confidence that I ever will...and I am OK with this.

I really don’t mind my son going to church with my wife, even though it is not the Catholic church that we agreed upon for our children before our marriage. I never – never – agreed to this new evangelical church. At best, I am lukewarm to its doctrines, preaching, or approach to life and the world. I can handle the children going to church, but I am uncomfortable seeing them made into ritual objects.

My infant son will be carried up to the altar by my wife, not with me, and the preacher man will utter some meaningless words at him, over him, but not to him. This ritual will have more to do with my wife than my son. Certainly, I will be proud of both my son and my wife, at this time and beyond.

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