I was working on homework today and made the mistake of reading a CNN iReport titled, “Why I Raise My Children Without God.” I’d hoped to avoid any distractions while I suffered through several pages of research on terrorist organizations. In the post, the author lists several reasons why she has chosen to raise her children to not believe in a higher power.
I like that we have freedom of speech in our country. I am also deeply grateful to God for helping me get through the roughest places in my life, and feel I have an obligation to defend Him and those who believe in Him to the best of my ability. I don’t agree with the things the author said in the post. I think that less damage is done to raise children to believe and then to let some fall away later … than to raise them not to believe and have them continue indoctrination as adults.
While I feel it is appropriate to allow all people to voice their views, I am in disagreement with the author of this iReport. I have maintained the headings of each section, and written my own comments beneath each. I have tried not to personally attack the writer, and offer my apologies if it comes across that way. This post will be a little different than most InfoRodeo posts because I am expressing my true beliefs rather than dancing around in some conspiracy.
“God is a bad parent and role model”
God is a perfect parent. He sent us to this earth to learn and to choose between right and wrong. As a test, some of us will be injured and some will bully. We have to learn to overcome these injuries or to refrain from bullying behavior. The suggestion this blogger poses, that a "good parent" would jump in and prevent every altercation from taking place, is along the same lines of those parents whose children "can do no wrong," who assault their child’s enemies, scream at the kid’s soccer coach, or demand teachers don’t allow true competition in school because someone’s feelings might get hurt. The child in these situations does not learn to compromise, work in a team, be assertive, or to try again. God, the perfect parent, gave us a perfect arena in which to develop and grow, even at the cost of heartache and pain.
“God is not logical”
God is more logical than we are. He knows the answers to questions we struggle to understand. Before we understood electricity, he created it and the principles governing it. Would we be right if we were to say, two hundred years before it was understood by our wisest men, that God was illogical for causing lightning to flash through the sky? This accusation can only be "logically" agreed with if we believe we already have all knowledge. Even the most secular of scientists would never make such a claim.
It is normal for us to question and wonder after any tragedy or loss. Part of our learning in this world – to learn to rely on faith, thereby providing us the foundation to work our way back to Him – is to act on the unknown. To take a chance. To try for something though we may not fully understand the reward. If God explained to us every reason someone is taken, or that a bad thing happens, we would take these things for granted. We would cease to cherish those who are taken. We wouldn’t have to put any effort into understanding, because it would all be handed to us. I agree that inventing cute phrases ("God needed another angel," etc) is inappropriate, but I base that opinion on the distraction it causes from contemplating and attempting to understand the true nature of the incident. If one person chooses to comfort themselves with such a belief or ritual, let them do it. People are in different phases of their progression, and it is perfectly fine to allow a child to mourn in that way.
I believe that part of what we must learn from each tragedy is that those who were taken do still exist, and that we may rejoin them when our time on the earth is complete. From God’s perspective, and from that of those who have completed their mortality, they have simply stepped to the other side of the curtain that separates us from them. It may be sad to watch their earth-bound family and friends weep and mourn in confusion, but their personal anguish would be gone. If we have lived our lives in accordance to His will, we have nothing to fear in death.
“God is not fair”
Such a remark can only be made from the pretention of authority. Who are we to decide what is or is not fair? God knows that each of us are unique. Each has certain weaknesses and strengths to build upon or overcome during the course of our life on this earth. One might be born healthy but have a serious deficit in their ability to have faith. Another may have a number of addictions. A person born with physical disabilities or defects may go through life with those handicaps or their mental and spiritual effects as their difficulty. I have a dear friend who was born with a disability and she has said many times that if she had not been born with her disability, she feels she would have been superficial and mean to others. God knows the measure of these attributes in each of us, and gives us to a life where we may become equal to others in proving our faithfulness, overcoming our obstacles, and setting aside our prides and addictions. I think this God is the fairest of all because He makes such equality possible to all.
All prayers are answered. Some are answered in ways we, with our limited perspective, may not have expected. Others are answered in ways contrary to what we think would be best, because it is what He knows will be best for us. Ask a person who suffered through the loss of a dying child what they learned from the experience, and if that knowledge would have been understood without that experience. Most – those who have shed their bitterness or have no agenda to prove God wrong – will be able to articulate.
“God does not protect the innocent”
We are all children of God. We existed in spirit before we were born into bodies. When we die, our spirit returns to Him. Because part of our test on earth is to learn to function in faith – without being able to see Him – we are normally blinded from the absolute knowledge of His existence. We are raised to fear death – an unknown – and those things related to it. Death, like birth, however, is an intended part of the process. If we view death as the point at which our time on the earth is complete, as a "finish line" rather than an interruption, it becomes difficult to see God as "not fair" or "not logical" when someone we love dies. When we consider that we all will have different trials on this earth that we have to learn to deal with and rise above, it makes those times where the innocent are injured a little easier to understand. This isn’t saying anything bad about victims of such terrible things, it is not saying they somehow "deserved" what happens to them, or that we should just let it happen (it is part of our learning and growth in life to help those around us), but where one might lose a parent, another might lose a limb. Where one might be physically injured by an adult, another might be exposed to pornography or another addicting and damaging substance. A person might live a pious life and be stricken with cancer. Another might be emotionally destroyed by a divorce, or loss of property, or some other thing that doesn’t seem so severe to us, but which, to them, is the worst thing that could happen, and the hardest blow to recover from.
We should not fear adversity, especially death. Adversity may knock us down, but when we get back up and do our best to overcome it, God always comes to our aid, to share the burden, if we ask Him to.
“God is not present”
God is present. We must learn to be obedient and faithful, and to follow those things He has given to us through the scriptures and the prophets. We must learn to do these things without seeing Him, because we will get more out of it if we do. We will be stronger followers if we can follow on faith alone than we might be if He stood in front of us or had His own television channel. Again, just because one person cannot see or refuses to feel or hear God doesn’t mean He does not exist. He does not need to be visible to satisfy our whim or curiosity, in order to be present.
We know God is present when we make sincere effort to pray to him and seek his guidance in our lives. It is our responsibility to take that first action. God is present if we seek Him.
“God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good”
God provided the framework that we hang "good" on. All that he gives us teaches us to be good, to do good. When we seek to do good because there is some entity to please or because there may be some reward to be gained, we do – contrary to what a lot of the world teaches – grow to do these things without regard to anything other than, "it is the right thing to do." When we strip the reward/pleasing element from the act, placing it only on our shoulders, it is easier to lose direction, focus on the burden, or give it up altogether. A person who does what they feel is good without any regard to God will find it a lot easier to withdraw those good deeds when they hit hard times themselves. A person who is doing good because God commands him to will continue to help others, even when he is in need himself.
“God Teaches Narcissism”
Given the points made thus far, I believe instead that teaching that we are more fair than God, more logical than God, that we are better parents than God, that we are better protectors of the innocent than God, that we are more present than God, or that we should be good only for ourselves are all far more likely to produce narcissism than a belief in God! The points made are all based on an individualistic point of view, where self is the highest power, where self knows everything, where there is no need to serve someone or something unless we can see it with our own eyes. With this doctrine focused so heavily on satisfaction of self and pride in self, to the exclusion of a creator, and to the exclusion of sacrifice or faith, it is disbelief in a God, especially a God who requires that we look beyond ourselves and have empathy for our fellow man, that is most likely to develop narcissism.
The original post: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-910282?hpt=hp_bn1