Last week was spring break. We stayed home, and having my kids around all the time made it hard to post. (I’m trying to keep this anonymous, remember.) So I did a lot of reading instead.
Now I am reading The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose. The book chronicles the experience of a Brown University sophomore who goes undercover at Liberty University. Liberty is in our backyard, so to speak, and I was especially interested in reading this book because there have been quite a few students from M’s school who choose to attend college there. The Big Popular Baptist Church encourages them to do so and field trips, retreats and camps with the youth group are regularly held on Liberty’s campus.
So far I am only 29% through, but I am struck by the changes in perspective Roose experiences as he becomes more and more submerged in the atmosphere of fundamentalism. Read what he says:
“But here’s the worrisome part: almost a month into my Liberty semester, I’m already starting to feel my beliefs shifting under my feet. Not my belief in evolution-I’ve stayed put on that-but when it comes to my general intellectual and emotional grounding, I’m feeling a little unmoored.”
I find this passage to be bone-chilling. Roose is obviously very intelligent: he is a student from one of the top university’s in the country, raised by liberal, nonreligious parents. He knows he’s there as an observant. But the culture of Liberty still affects him dramatically.
As atheist parents, are our children unprepared for the world? As a group (if you can call atheists that) it is my observation that we try to discourage the indoctrination of our children by presenting all sides and by encouraging critical thinking. But is this enough? Are we too tolerant? I wish there were more organizations –any organization– dedicated specifically to helping children navigate through the religious bullshit they encounter.