Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I am raising my children in the Catholic faith: Part I

First reason why I am raising my kids Catholic:  Math

Oh, you heard me.

I am terrible at math, and not very good at Catholicism, but I still really like them both. Both math and Catholicism take a lot of thinking because they are things, but not in the way regular things are things.  It's pretty fun.

I promise you that does actually make sense.

Okay, so let's start with math.  Math isn't a regular thing.  You can't see it, or touch it, or even explain it without using more math.
Try it.
Prove the number two.
Okay, so maybe you can write down the number two, but that is not actually two; that is the symbol for two.
Maybe you can show me two fingers, but those aren't two.  Those are fingers.  There is no such thing as two in the traditional sense of "such thing".  Two is an understanding of a relationship.
But math isn't just simply relationships.  Triangles and algebra and the quadratic equation: they are real things.  It's not just how you look at the world; math is a universal truth that you either get or you don't.

This has never happened to me.
God is similar.  When I say God, I don't mean a man in the sky with a flowing beard.  I don't really understand the whole man in the sky thing: I have never witnessed the clouds part, or had any beatific visions.  I can understand it as a metaphor, but taking it literally sounds a little like a children's story to me.  I am not saying it is impossible; I just have never experienced anything like that.
For me, God is the connection between man and his community, man and nature, music, science, math: basically everything.  And it is not just my personal perception of these connection; it is an actual connection that people have to be taught to see, and have awe for.

He knows what I am talking about.
They are both very cerebral, and kind of mysterious, both God and math, and even if you have been taught to understand both of them, they can still be kind of hard to grasp.
Plus, for both, people who aren't very good at understanding them get really frustrated by people who do understand them, sometimes to the point where the other person is kind of embarrassed to admit they understand.
But if no one on Earth could see math or God, they would still be there.  Neither needs humanity to perceive them for their existence.  They just are.

This isn't just me and my enlightened sense of religion.  This is Catholicism, Baby.  We refer to it as a sacrament (with a little 's') meaning that Catholics see God in everything, from sunsets, to math, to music, to each other.  Other religions rely very strictly on the their texts and priests, but we Catholics see God everywhere.

Who wouldn't want that for their kid?  Who wouldn't at least want her to be able to understand that mystery and awe can be found in everything?

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