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Follow Your Heart

October 19, 2007: Day 87

We heard your heartbeat last week, 155 beats per minute.

Welcome to the second trimester. Since the last time I wrote, you've tripled in size, from just less than an inch back then to over 3 inches today. A couple weeks ago, you were growing 250,000 brain cells every minute. Like glitter in a snow globe, many of those neurons will flash into life only to flicker out and be replaced by others. No one knows why the brain develops that way. It seems wasteful, but there is always a reason. Prenatal development is the most amazing time of an animal's life. In the weeks ahead, you'll grow faster than you ever have, or ever will.

I have no way of knowing if you are a boy or a girl, but before next month when we'll find out, I want to say it for the record: I think you're a girl, based solely on my "Spidey Sense." We'll find out soon enough.

Something that's been troubling me is the matter of religion and how you will or won't be indoctrinated into it. Your mother and I have differing opinions on the subject, and mine is undecided. I was raised evangelical Baptist, once considered myself a student of Buddhism, and today I am agnostic-about-as-close-as-it-comes-to-atheist.

Part of me hopes you'll follow in my footsteps, and part of me worries for you and hopes you don't, because it isn't easy believing this way. There are those who fear and despise people who believe as I do. I know -- I used to be one of them. I don't want that for you, for you to have to endure that. After a recent school-shooting in South Carolina, TV crews interviewed the school's students, and every one of the shooter's classmates said he didn't believe in God, as if to imply, if only he believed in God, this horrible tragedy would not have happened. The popular opinion seems to be, that of those who believe in God, some are good people and some are bad people, but of those who don't believe in God, all are bad people.

What is it that I want for you? What will make me happy for you and proud of you? I've been pondering those questions as I've been thinking about how to write this.

Roughly 7 in 8 people practice the same religion as their parents. If you believe as I believe simply because I taught you to believe what I believe, I could never be happy knowing that. Conversely, I could never be satisfied with you growing up in a church and being taught to believe what the other members of that church believe. It doesn't matter if the belief system is mine, your mother's, or a church's -- either way, it's indoctrination into a belief system not your own. I will be happy if you are never afraid to think independently and critically, to always and relentlessly question why, and decide what you believe based solely on your own reasoning.

:: Bryan Travis :: 10/19/2007 @ 20:56 :: [link] ::