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Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Why I Raise My Children Without Religion" - An Analysis

 For some parents raising their children without the "divine" is an important undertaking.

For example, there is a long and interesting post on a CNN report blog here called "Why I Raise My Children Without God" written by TXBlue08 (a woman) which I guess was written first on this blog.

Whether you agree with this or not I find the reasoning here by the parent interesting.

Let's go point by point (as taken and quoted from the link above - bold and italics below represent authors original comments):

#1. God is a bad parent and role model.

If God is our father, then he is not a good parent. Good parents don’t allow their children to inflict harm on others. Good people don’t stand by and watch horrible acts committed against innocent men, women and children. They don’t condone violence and abuse. “He has given us free will,” you say? Our children have free will, but we still step in and guide them.

So let's see if I understand the reasoning here.

Good parents guide their children and since we have no guidance from God he is a bad "parent" (in terms of actually parenting us as well as a "role model").

God is not our parent - God is usually defined as our "creator."  We are not physically expelled from God's body on the floor squalling.

You seem to have expectations based on God as a physical parent which is an unusual perspective.

#2. God is not logical.

How many times have you heard, “Why did God allow this to happen?” And this: “It’s not for us to understand.” ... Rather than address the problem of guns in America, we defer responsibility to God. He had a reason. He wanted more angels. Only he knows why. We write poems saying that we told God to leave our schools. Now he’s making us pay the price. If there is a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves his children, does it make sense that he would allow murders, child abuse, wars, brutal beatings, torture and millions of heinous acts to be committed throughout the history of mankind?  Doesn’t this go against everything Christ taught us in the New Testament?

The underlined part is interesting.

The point seems to be that she believes that we, as humanity, do a lot of what Christ taught is bad (war, murder, torture, heinous acts).

I would agree with that.

Okay, so though Christ teaches us these things are wrong you don't teach Christ (which would in turn provide a basis for what you think is wrong) to your children?

Seems like humanity, at least in your view, would do better following Christs teachings.

Yet you don't teach it because "God is not logical."

I am really not following TXBlue08's logical here.

The comment continues:

The question we should be asking is this: “Why did we allow this to happen?” How can we fix this? No imaginary person is going to give us the answers or tell us why. Only we have the ability to be logical and to problem solve, and we should not abdicate these responsibilities to “God” just because a topic is tough or uncomfortable to address.

TXBlue08 seems to believe that as a society we must simply abdicate to God to physically intervene and address all of our  ills.

As far as Christianity is concerned (and I suspect it is also true for most other religions) I am unaware of any part of which where Christ or God, New or Old Testament, claims that he/they will simply resolve everyone's problems for them, or for that matter, even suggest solutions.

Christ, on the other hand, does explicitly ask us to treat each other as we would ourselves want to be treated (Luke 6:27-37).

Christ does not call on us to call on him.

He expects us to call on ourselves to solve these sorts of problems.

TXBlue08 here seems to me to be basically suggesting the same solution as Christ - yet deriding Christs solution...

#3. God is not fair.

If God is fair, then why does he answer the silly prayers of some while allowing other, serious requests, to go unanswered? I have known people who pray that they can find money to buy new furniture. (Answered.) I have known people who pray to God to help them win a soccer match. (Answered.) Why are the prayers of parents with dying children not answered?

This is sort of troubling.  Apparently the author knows explicitly when God answers prayers.

If God is fair, then why are some babies born with heart defects, autism, missing limbs or conjoined to another baby? Clearly, all men are not created equally. Why is a good man beaten senseless on the street while an evil man finds great wealth taking advantage of others? This is not fair. A game maker who allows luck to rule mankind’s existence has not created a fair game.

This is troubling too.  The US Constitution, in the context of governance and how governance affects the governed - us - says that "all men are created equal" (Declaration of Independence - Preamble) - not any religious texts I am aware of.

Nor is there any biblical texts claiming that life, religion or, for that matter, any other part of human existence is "fair."

As my mother used to tell us children: "Life's not fair."

Perhaps these unfair elements are brought about because people no longer teach religion to their children, nor teach their children they will "go to hell" because they do bad things???

Life is not fair and, while you can wish it was in one hand and spit in the other hand, the spit hand will fill up first every time.

As for heart defects, etc. I think that, because we have not belief in God, we can safely lay the blame at the feet of Charles Darwin for these. 

Even a blind watch maker makes mistakes (which is also not fair but an "okay" unfair because its only blind evolution...)

#4. God does not protect the innocent.

He does not keep our children safe. As a society, we stand up and speak for those who cannot. We protect our little ones as much as possible. When a child is kidnapped, we work together to find the child. We do not tolerate abuse and neglect. Why can’t God, with all his powers of omnipotence, protect the innocent?

How do you even answer this?  God is not "government" or "society" or even "dad" or "mom" - nor does God claim to be.

But, on his behalf, like God is some sort of absent parent, you claim he should be doing this.

God is not physically manifest, at least in my world, so how would he do this?

TXBlue08 seems to need someone to take care of things for her - this repeats over and over in this article.

#5. God is not present.

He is not here. Telling our children to love a person they cannot see, smell, touch or hear does not make sense. It means that we teach children to love an image, an image that lives only in their imaginations. What we teach them, in effect, is to love an idea that we have created, one that is based in our fears and our hopes.

Do you love your dead husband or grandparent?  Do your children inherit ideas, money, wisdom, or things from them?

They are not present either - they are dead - they have no smell, they do not talk, etc.

Yet they are part of our lives.

Do you not perceive your "historical past?"  ("Those who cannot remember their past are doomed to repeat it" - George Santayana)

Today we disparage our past because it asks us to love God and be moral.

So even our "past" is not present - and look at the world we live in - full of the evil TXBlue08 dislikes.

#6. God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good

A child should make moral choices for the right reasons. Telling him that he must behave because God is watching means that his morality will be externally focused rather than internally structured. It’s like telling a child to behave or Santa won’t bring presents. When we take God out of the picture, we place responsibility of doing the right thing onto the shoulders of our children. No, they won’t go to heaven or rule their own planets when they die, but they can sleep better at night. They will make their family proud. They will feel better about who they are. They will be decent people.

I think that TXBlue08 is kind of lost here.  God equals Santa Claus, the "Big Guy in the Sky" (sounds like something Tom Hanks would say...), God is "watching you."

Sounds like a Catholic grade school philosophy enforced by nuns.  I grew up in such an environment.  And I think that's exactly the point - I grew up not to see God as Santa Claus.  If you're mired in grade school catechism this is kind of where you end up.

Except I imagine that TXBlue08 is not seven years old any more.

#7. God Teaches Narcissism

“God has a plan for you.” Telling kids there is a big guy in the sky who has a special path for them makes children narcissistic; it makes them think the world is at their disposal and that, no matter what happens, it doesn’t really matter because God is in control. That gives kids a sense of false security and creates selfishness. “No matter what I do, God loves me and forgives me. He knows my purpose. I am special.” The irony is that, while we tell this story to our kids, other children are abused and murdered, starved and neglected. All part of God’s plan, right?

Though this woman knows God answers prayers for new furniture she cannot comprehend that no matter what, in at least Christianity, God loves and forgives me.


Pick and choose what you want to believe in.

So what's the bottom line.

Why am I writing this today?

I find that TXBlue08 seems to be focused on "what God does for her" as in delivering new furniture someone prays for, protecting the innocent by showing up, in a flaming chariot I guess, and wiping out bullies, and making life "fair."

(Drawin and genetics are relegated to the back row on the "birth defect" front - apparently God has a hand in tinkering (or not) directly with DNA.)

TXBlue08 also seems confused on what at least Christianity asks (do unto others...) and promises (forgiveness and love) as well as what the US Constitution says versus what, for example, is in the bible.

(I cannot speak for other religions in detail here but, based on her comments, we have to assume a Catholic or Christian bias to her statements.  My guess is that TXBlue08 would find, for example, Islam singularly less appealing in terms of reason and fair treatment, at least as far as she was personally concerned, than whatever religion she is complaining about.)

The good news is that the grade school catechism has set TXBlue08 on the right track in terms of morality - she just seems to have the purpose and causes confused as well as the fact that God expects you to be responsible for yourself.

TXBLue08 sees what's wrong with society but fails to see that the religion she is deriding offers direct action for fixing the problems she complains about.

My guess is that she feels religion is "irrational" and "illogical" because she really hasn't worked through it very far.

Raising children is a difficult task these days and doing it without a moral compass is particularly tricky.

If there is no absolute God and "right and wrong" where do you look?'

The internet?

Your feelings?

A Lady GaGa video?

Things are bad today, TXBlue08 because "religion" has been thrown over the side for the last few decades.  Mostly because people much smarter than you and I have decided that they need to be able to do whatever they want to do without consequence (now nor in a future after life). 

So they have gotten rid of religion and consequences.

You are being confused by this.

Religion, morality, the notion of consequences, of loving others as yourself, etc. are all important in order to have the "good" society you desire.

You really have to ask yourself why the notion that these good things are bad is so pervasive today.

Raising your children without a certain moral compass will not make society better...

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