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Ask the Patriarch 143
Where can I leave my estate to promote agnosticism?

from: D.H.

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Recently I attended the wedding of my eldest son to a Catholic girl who has convinced him to adopt her faith. I spent many years educating him on the dangers of organized religions, and the superstitious nature therein...so you can imagine how disappointed I am.

He hasn't been "saved", but he's going along with it, and told me my potential grandchildren will be raised in their church.

My question to you is; Where or who can I leave my estate to that advances the premise of Agnosticism? I plan to leave a requirement in my will that descendents wishing to inherit from me must first sign a statement rejecting that stuff...if not, then I'd like to find a cohesive, active Agnostic organization to leave my estate to. I will have the last word in this.

The Patriarch replies:

Remembering back over 40 years ago when I went through a period of dating mostly Catholic girls, I found that the situation your son was in was what I could expect then if I was to marry one of them in those days. To satisfy her need for a church wedding, I basically would have to agree that the kids would get a Catholic education.

While I was agnostic then, I was not particularly militant about it. I though the whole question of religion to be unimportant. If I had met the right woman, I would probably have gone along with a Catholic wedding, though I would not have converted. 

Such is love - it is difficult to deny the one you love (or think you love) the wedding of her dreams - and for every good (and most bad) Catholic girls, the dream from childhood is a wedding in a Church with a priest officiating. Anything else just would not be valid in her eyes.

There's a reasonable chance that over time some pronouncement or policy of the Church, or some fresh misdeeds of its priesthood will re-awaken your son's agnosticism and he may find it morally necessary to provide a counterbalance to the religious indoctrination of his children.

But still - that's not what you asked about. You wanted to know where you could leave your estate for the promotion of agnosticism.

To be honest, I don't know of any active agnostic organizations. My Apathetic Agnostic Church website is primarily a one person operation. The spin-off UCTAA organization which I hope will carry on my efforts when I'm gone is still just a bulletin board.

I would suggest you look at humanist and / or freethought organizations. They've been around for a while and look like they will continue to exist. And their opinion of the place of religion in public life tends to be consistent with most agnostic thinking.

Another alternative to consider, if your estate is large enough, is to set up a foundation. You may need to identify a handful of people likely to survive you who are prepared to act as trustees, and then you can be quite specific about what the money is to be used for.

Best wishes