Molest him, then ask "See, is that how you want to spend the rest of your life?"
Jokes aside, I'd ask my son if he was sincerely considering to be a man of faith, or if he's just planning to con people out of their money. If it's the first, I'd be devastated to realize that I did such a horrible job as a parent that my kid turned out to be stupid enough to become clergy. If it's the second, he has my blessings.
To me this is one of those hard to answer "What would you do if your child turned out to be a serial killer?" kind of questions, only harder to answer because in comparison I'd be cool with my kid being a killer.
Clergy are to be held in contempt.
My kid turning into a clergyman is a realm of disappointment beyond my imagination, because it's the utter and willful propagation of the corruption and disregard of human intellect. The murder of the conscience, to me, is the gravest crime someone can commit. Clergymen are the Nazis of the intellectual realm, with their churches and mosques being the concentration camps. So no, thanks. Keep the Bible, keep the Quran, keep the Torah, keep the Zyklon-B.
If I ever make the mistake of having children and fail to raise them to the point they turn to messengers of mental holocaust, I'd rather kill myself than see that day.
This is a tough one. Children don't always do what parent expect of them. As a parent you have to except the fact that children will do things, or even decide on a career that we do not like or approve of. I try and teach my children to question life, people, authority,and to look for answers. I can ultimetly not make their life choises for them, in wright or wrong, I may not always aprprove of the path that they follow and in some of the things they do. However I love my children unconditionally and while not approving of something I will always be there for them. Even when in trouble over something I will not dig them out of the mess they got themselfes into, but I will be there for them. I think the dimensions of how one reacts to things change once you have children. A friend of ours was devestaded when he found out his son was gay, the drama and family fights were endless, because the childs life styly went totaly against the fathers belief and moral values. Many evenings around the table and of me telling him that his son is still the person that he loves, that he is no different just because he does not agree with him and his life desicion, and that you don't get a list of I will love you if... when they are born. Today even though it still goes against everything he stands for his sons life partner is his best rugby buddy. With your children if you realy love them you will find away to cross the bridge with them. We can educate all we like but ultimitly they make the final desicions. I will not love my child any less if he decides to follow a path that I do not agree with, aspecially if he truly believe that it is the right one for him. I will continue to educate him and share with him. I find by showing sever oposition you sometimes make them even more adamant to follow the path you don't want them to just to prove a pointless point to you as the parent.
Me personally, I would support my son in anything he wants to do. I would hope that if he's raised a free thinker like I am doing that this wouldn't even cross his mind, but then...you never know. I would just want to know the reasons why and if I believe they are compelling enough and if he's thought it through, and if he's genuine...key word here....then....why would I stop him? Kids need to know their parents love them no matter what. There are far worse things than joining the priesthood. It's a career path. Now, again, I would disagree with him, but I think as a parent you can disagree and still show your kids love and support. That way when they realize they've made a mistake they have warm arms to come to and let you hug them and pick up the pieces. I also believe that kids, especially young adults, change their minds CONSTANTLY. Just because he wants to be a priest today, doesn't mean that won't necessarily change later. If I make a huge deal out of it, (knowing my son's personality) he would do it just to spite me. He's very strong willed (like me). So in my case personally, making a huge deal out of it would actually have the opposite effect as what I would want.
BTW: by worse things I mean things like going to prison or dealing drugs, etc. I would rather my son be a priest than be a thug. That's just me though.
I would rather my son be a priest than be a thug
You seem to mistake these for being two different things.
You're joking right?
Nope, are you? Though in the interest of fairness, probably no thug on earth has caused as much damage as religion and its men did.
I guess we see this differently. I do believe there are genuine theists who genuinely want to help people. If he falls into this category I would support him. Even if they are deluded, they don't know that and when it comes to MY son, I want him to know I love him no matter what. Now, if he starts selling drugs, running a ring, or getting thrown in jail, then it's time for some tough love and I cannot enable him...
Just curious, do you have kids of your own?
I do believe there are genuine theists who genuinely want to help people.
So do I. The problem is that, even inadvertently and indirectly, these theists are ultimately supporting and propagating their religion. And their religion is never out to genuinely help people. It doesn't matter how moderate, or liberal a theist is, in the end they lend some credibility to the extremist portion of their religion, who'd otherwise receive the psychiatric attention they deserve. Think of people who believe in astrology and ghosts. They're harmless gullible people, yes. But the mobsters who run the business, like fortune tellers and mediums etc, are not. And their entire empire depends on these harmless deluded people. If not for those people, every single one of the would be thrown in jail for fraud instead of making millions by lying. Religion sadly not only lies but it kills and tortures. So no, sadly no matter how nice they are, every theist is at fault for propagating the evil their extremist counterparts are committing, even if they're against it themselves.
Religion is no different than a drug, we know this. That's why I see no difference between a drug dealer on the street and a priest in the church or an imam in a mosque. Am I so wrong about this?
As for your question, let me quote my post above.
If I ever make the mistake of having children...
Oh Ok. sorry missed that part, lol....
OK, well kOrsan, I agree with you to a point. HOWEVER, when it comes to interpersonal relationships I think the heart of her question is how would we react as parents. It's one thing to take on religion on a macro level and say, "it's all bad" It's another to disown your own son/daughter and make them feel like their decisions in life are contingent upon your love for them. I believe that if I raise my son as a freethinker I'll hopefully never have to face this. But I'm also against war. What would I do if my son wanted to join the military? SAME DILEMMA....I don't draw a distinction there and I think any wise parent will recognize that the relationship I have with my son which must be always built upon trust and love and honesty, is more important in the long run. Being a parent is for life and our kids will not always do what we want them to do. They are individuals, and if my son is a grown man making these decisions, I'm not going to get all bent out of shape, that being said I'll still challenge him in a loving way and make him really THINK about things. But I'll never disown him.
I'm also against war. What would I do if my son wanted to join the military? SAME DILEMMA.
I like this analogy. Since we're atheists though, I think an even better analogy would be, "what would you do if your son wanted to join the military of the enemy?"
Of course I can't accurately imagine how it would feel, neither can any of us really unless it happens, but even less so me. But my best guess is that I would honestly be shattered and sad that I apparently failed so hard. I would be more disappointed in myself, I think, then my child.
Thank you for your perspective.
Hey kOrsan: I'm not trying to pick on you, (but I kind of am. lol)
I would honestly be shattered and sad that I apparently failed so hard.
I wouldn't ever say that. The decisions our kids make are never our "fault" again because they are individuals. All we can do is our very best day in and day out to teach them everything we know. But at the end of the day it's their decisions they have to lie in.