Thursday April 15, 2010 | Between A Church & A Hard Place

April 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 9 Comments

When non-believer Andrew Park had children he knew a day would come that he’d have to talk to them about religion and the world’s different belief systems. That day came but the journalist and novelist wasn’t as prepared as he thought he’d be. We’ll meet Andrew Park. He wrote a book to help himself and others wade into the delicate discussion of religion with their kids and you might be surprised by what Andrew Park learned while writing Between a Church and a Hard Place. He’ll share some of those insights with us.
Andrew Park – Author, Between a Church and a Hard Place

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  1. My husband and I were both raised Catholic, but now could be best described as “agnostic”. We do have different ideas about holidays: since I do not identify myself as a Christian, I do not feel comfortable participating in traditional Christmas activities, but husband has no problem celebrating Christmas.

    I’m wondering how holidays are handled in Mr. Park’s home?

  2. Thank you for this talk and book! I moved to Charlotte 4 years ago from California via NY and Europe. I was shocked at the strength of the presence of church in the culture of Charlotte. I consider religion a very personal issue. Because we have small children I had to change my approach to my public opinion about religion and for the first time in my life thought thoroughly about my approach to religion. After 4 years years of internal debate and struggle, I figured out while I may not go to church, I am still spiritual. I am also able to teach my children to be good citizens AND respect their neighbors without organized religion, but with a strong sense of spirituality and love for humanity and nature. Our discussions about religion and God are great oportunities for sincere discussion. I usually return my children’s questions with a counter question. Without knowing the answers oneself, I still believe one can guide one’s child in a good direction by asking the right counter questions. I personally think I will find out the Truth when I am dead, but I do not prevent my children from believing in God – whatever that may be. (In my case, I have a hard time believing it is a white male who dictates right from wrong)

  3. Mike Collin’s questions are leading. His line of questioning provides insight to his own beliefs and rarely allow the guest to express his side or reasoning. I do not tune in to listen to what Mike thinks about the topic, rather what the guest thinks, feels or believes. Given this show shares the same air spaces of NPR, an otherwise unbiased news scores, I’m very surprised and somewhat irritated. This is a topic that most new parents are facing given the volatile nature of faith these days and would appreciate more of the author’s voice.

    • Corie, apparently you and I listened to the same broadcast but heard a completely different show. What you refer to as “leading questions” is simply Mike’s way of not letting the interviewee weasel out of the answer. Playing “devil’s advocate” (pun intended) is a valid debate technique. I heard no bias, just a strong desire to explore all corners of an often dark and dusty topic.

  4. Many Americans are still “culturally Christian” even if they no longer believe in God or all the specifics of the Christian religion.

    I’ve only been to church a few times in my life and I do not believe in all of the tents of Christianity, but I am still very much “culturally Protestant” because those are my familial, ethnic, and cultural roots.

    • Spelling error: “tents” should obviously be “tenets”

  5. Excellent and honest conversation… I thoroughly enjoyed it. I still very much consider myself to be a devoted Christ-follower, but one who can certainly relate to the questions and the overall disillusionment with the established church and “cultural Christianity” that many of us have grown up with. I guess we all face the same issues, even if we end up with different resolutions. I would love to be able to have more open-minded, honest dialog on “both sides of the fence” on this topic. Thanks, Mr. Park. I can’t wait to read your book.

  6. Thanks for the discussion. I’m 40 and I have regularly attended church nearly all my life. I have always internally questioned what I have heard and though I never considered myself to be a “fervent believer”, I was still a believer. However about 10 years ago I determined for myself that I did not believe in the existence of a god nor did I agree with most of Christian (or any other religions’) dogma. However, I have been married for 20 years to a Christian woman, who, while also not “fervent” in her belief, still holds her belief and we are raising our children to be Christians. We all still attend church regularly and most of our friends go to church as well. During theological discussions with friends and family, I often take on the role of “devil’s advocate”, but I am very careful not to reveal that I am no longer a believer because I just don’t want to risk losing friends and loved ones over a disagreement in belief. At the same time, I feel personal guilt in taking a part in the indoctrination of my children into a belief system with which I have come to disagree.

    I often wonder how many others there are who silently go through the same pretense in order not to make waves.

    • “All cultures come to a Civilization phase, an autumn when this breaks down. Mega-cities are characteristic of this time. Politics is motivated by money, and move through Imperialism and the Period of Contending States to Caesarism, a period of despots. Science no longer reaches certainties. People no longer accept common principles or goals, they fight all rules from the past. The arts, rather than working in ways that seem obvious to the artists and the people, follow fashions with constant changes of style. Later in this culture after a period of atheism, people turn to a religious renewal based on the religion developed in the spring of the culture.” –

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