This is quite related to THIS question about how to deal with a non-religiously-participating child when both parents are Christian. My situation is a bit different, and while some of the answers at the other question touch on my own questions, I'm also looking for a different type of answer.
My wife and I married as very strong, faithful Catholics. I began questioning the basis for my belief about 1.5 years ago and have researched my way into non-belief. We have a three year old and a one year old. We've progressed considerably in dealing with how much difficulty this caused to our own relationship, but the question of how to raise our children remains the most heated and disagreed upon aspect of our marriage.
I blog and wrote about my take on the options HERE, seeing them as three:
- She raises them Catholic and I keep my mouth shut (for the most part)
- We both fight for our children's minds and teach-as-true our opposing views
- We raise them to be aware of many religious views, but do not teach-as-true any of them, instilling only such things as have been universally established as truth throughout history
While my current take is that the third option is the most reasonable, she wants some form of the first option (though she would let me express my views fairly openly). I'm not a fan as I have an extremely hard time allowing my children to be told things that I have researched quite heavily and believe to be full of contradictions and for which I believe no evidential basis exists. On the other hand, my hunch is that the second option would be more psychologically harmful than either of the others.
To the specific questions:
- Is there any evidence to support one of these alternatives more than the others? As opposed to the answers on the other question, I'm primarily looking for studies about these issues, not personal opinion or even "observational data" -- we see only what we look for, and are all prone to bias; thus, I'd love studies about children in mixed-religious homes or input from authors on the subject.
- I am open to single data point input from parents in this situation who have been different faiths from very early on in their children's lives and who can comment on any positive or negative statements their children have made as adults about the situation. In other words, can someone from a Christian/non-believer marriage pass along input from how their children perceived this tension, whether it game them more respect for the marriage, helped them to be more accepting of differences... or perhaps made them feel unsafe as a child due to differences, confused, etc. Hopefully that makes sense. I don't anticipate accepting any answers from this category, but will definitely upvote for input.
Obviously, neither of us want to give up our voice in the relationship, and that makes this very difficult. I'm open to following the data if it supports that raising a child with non-conflicting views is the most psychologically healthy.
From the perspective of the non-believer, I worry that my children, if raised to believe that Catholicism is true, will not be able to openly research the data later in life, and also, since deconverting, do not think a child's mind can, say, actually comprehend the back-story to transubstantiation at age seven when requested to assent to first communion. Thus, it's, again, quite difficult to allow these things to happen since the Catholic Church has such a regimented plan laid out for children.