The fastest-growing religious affiliation in the United States is no religion at all. That has meant an increase in parents raising their children outside of the community provided by a church or synagogue. For Katherine Ozment, writing for Boston magazine, it also meant soul searching because, as she writes:
As ambivalent as I am about organized religion, I recognize there is something to it. Participation in a religious community has been correlated with everything from self-esteem and overall hopefulness to the avoidance of substance abuse and teen pregnancy. So I worry: Am I depriving my children of an experience that will help shape their identities in a positive way and anchor them throughout their lives?
In “Losing Our Religion,” Ozment (raised Protestant, but with a husband raised Jewish) traces her journey through explorations of secular humanism and Unitarian Universalists to an ultimate acceptance that while she and her husband may have been successfully raised in their respective religions, their children didn’t need to have the same experience. But it’s a rueful acceptance — and that rue is unnecessary. There’s nothing wrong with raising children outside of a religious tradition, and that upbringing doesn’t preclude them from being part of a community or later finding a community of their own.