A Reaction to Religion is fundamental to a child's development.
I started reading that op-ed piece expecting to disagree with everything this man was about to say. I do not.
Not that I agree with everything he stated: sectarianism might be on the decline, but only with increased animosity between the overarching religions, I disagree that “ethics classes should not be substitutes for scripture”, and I do not like the idea of a "religious" education. However, I agree with the authors overall point which is that we live in a world surrounding by people who believe this thing. Their lives are, supposedly, dictated by this belief. Raising our children ignorant of this belief's existence is nearly as dangerous as raising them in it.
My wife is a believer. A month or so after we began dating and the god conversation started we nearly broke up. I laid awake half the night staring at the ceiling thinking how much I loved the girl next to me, but I do not think I could marry someone who was a believer. She apparently did the same thing. I came to the conclusion that it didn't matter. She did too. We have since had multiple discussions, some heated, about my lack of belief and her insistence on holding onto hers. I have never directly attacked her belief or faith. I am not totally innocent as I have the tendency to belittle on occasion and it’s usually when I feel cornered. Marriage. What fun!
As far as the kid and possible pluralization of that...it’s messy, but it is real. Luckily, in her “faith” you are not baptized until around the age of 13. You have to choose to do this yourself. To be honest, I at least respect them for that. This makes it easy in the short term because we do not have to have that fight yet. We would have had a fight if we had a boy. I was very anti-circumcision since there is no (or very very little) medical reason to do it. It is strictly some ancient scriptural rule that has no place in the modern world. She didn’t want our potential son circumcised due to any scriptural adherence, but she was afraid of him being "different." I see no problem with being different AND I don’t want to mutilate my child for the sake of an imaginary god (for the sake argument if there was a God, I agree with Hitchens’ insistence that he would tell any God “Fuck you!” that asked him to sacrifice his child. I feel the same away about genital mutilation. Or any mutilation.). Regardless we didn't have to cross that bridge since we had a daughter. As far as Sunday school and whatnot, I agreed that my daughter can go. This is for most of the reasons outlined in the article. I don't want her ignorant of that aspect of the dominant culture, family, friends, and her neighbors. As an anthropologist I find that wrong and limiting. Also, as many an atheist say: ‘the best way to make atheists is to have them study the bible.” It worked for me. Ultimately though, I can’t make her not believe. That would be as ridiculous as someone else’s parents trying to make them believe. It doesn't work. ALL I can do is raise her with the cognitive tools to think for herself and question authority.
One last thing. My wife can take her to church and Sunday school (daddy does not go), but I get to teach her science, philosophy, ethics, etc. I did tell the wife the moment my little girl comes home and tells me that she is being taught that the Earth is only 6000 years old, evolution is a lie, etc.; she is out of there. That day. Never going back. End of discussion. My wife never says anything about this (I think it’s just because she won’t give me the satisfaction), but she knows I am right. This is not likely a problem since to her knowledge (we’re new the area) that isn’t what her church is about and she wouldn’t like that garbage either. Even though she has faith, she isn’t blind.