I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it hardly seems fair to lock the boys into something I'm unwilling to do myself. But, well, they aren't really locked in; the first time one of them expresses a clear desire to stop attending, I'll pull him out. It'll mean giving up one of the few stretches of reliable writing time that I have, and it'll make the grandparents sad, but I'm not keeping them in there if they really object.
And, secondarily, I really do want them to be exposed to Christianity. Which I suspect sounds extraordinarily odd coming from me, so let me try to explain.
It's not about God. As far as I can tell, God doesn't exist; and if He does, I seriously doubt that Christianity presents an accurate picture of Him. Nor is this anything to do with Pascal's Wager. I could be wrong about the existence of God, but if so I'm at least honestly mistaken, and I stand by my conclusions.
No, it really comes down to two things. The first is something that I'm going to call "cultural fluency". (There's probably a better or more formal term for it.) Basically, Christianity is ubiquitous in the modern United States. Attending church will, I hope, give the boys some understanding of the dominant world-view, along with its language and its references - even if they come to disagree with that world-view later on.
The second reason is basically a matter of inoculation. Not against Christianity itself; the boys are going to have to draw their own conclusions there, though I'll be happy enough to share my own views if they want to ask questions. No, here's the thing: religious beliefs can be very compelling, especially if they're presented by the right person at the right time. And some religious beliefs can be very destructive. So I hope that by exposing the boys to what I'd consider "Christianity done right" -- heavy on the grace, light on the guilt -- it will help to inoculate them against the more destructive, authoritarian, manipulative version of religion.
(That's how it works for me, at least; I haven't considered myself a Christian since my teens, but every time I run into someone whose presentation of Christianity focuses on the idea that we are all worthless and evil, I still reflexively think, Wow, you have completely missed the point of the Gospel. So I'm hoping to build a similar response in the boys.)
Last Sunday, one of the church members was passing by in the hallway, and stopped to compliment me on how sweet and well-behaved the boys are. She was about the sixth person to do this, over the last couple of years. So clearly, a fair chunk of the congregation knows who I am (in fact, quite a few of them remember me from when I was a kid there). Of those people who have stopped to make contact, not one has asked why I don't attend the service myself. Either they genuinely aren't concerned about it, or they figure that it isn't any of their business. Either way, I appreciate it.
That's my parents' church. The church my wife's parents attend is a different denomination, and the congregation is a little more... "aggressively friendly," I guess I'd call it... but it's a similarly laid-back theology, and we've taken the boys there too, from time to time. In both cases, while I don't share the core belief, I can feel secure that I also won't hear anything hateful or judgemental.