We were driving somewhere and Kid1 spoke up from the backseat: “Mommy, what is church?”
While I’ve done a lot of reading (see relevant book list below) on how to talk to the children about religious issues, I still felt caught off guard by the question. They like to ask these questions in the car when I can’t escape or easily change the topic — last time it was “how many gods do we have?”
Kid1 continued “Grandma goes to church.”
Yes, I acknowledged, both grandmas, and other extended family, go to church. I left out that they go to Christian Science churches, “church” can be generic for now.
“Why do people go to church?” Kid1 was not going to let this drop. “We don’t go to church.”
“No-oh-o,” Kid2 agreed. “We no go to church. No.”
The questions hung in the car. The children were silent, waiting for answers.
A church is a group of people who gather together, usually on Sunday mornings, to hear a lecture about their perspectives on god. I started.
“Do you believe in god?” asked Kid1. “Why do people go to church?”
“No god!” piped up Kid2 from the backseat.
No, I continued. I do not believe in a god… People go to church for a number of reasons, often is is because the are seeking community with people who share the same views as themselves.
“Why don’t we go to church?” asked Kid1.
We enjoy doing other things on Sunday morning, I replied, and we find our sense of community elsewhere.
This seemed to satisfy them.
“No church,” Kid2 said.