A hard link from Why I will not choose my children's religion
. The author (a Christian of the Roman Catholic
persuasion) intends to allow his children to find their own way as far as the spiritual
life is concerned, without any parental guidance
, in the hopes that they will hit upon that which is good
I would say that this argument relies on three assumptions:
- Children know what is in their best interests
- The world is the best place for children to learn about God
- Such unguided spiritual seeking on the part of a small child (assuming that they will even do any spiritual seeking if not prompted by their parents) is risk-free. If they don't become Christians, it's perfectly all right.
Christians raise their children as Christians for the same reason that parents everywhere decide what their children's diet will consist of, what kind of clothes they will wear, whether they will go to school and where, what time they will go to bed, and all the million other things in which children lack the experience with which to make responsible decisions.
Christians raise their children as Christians because the world will not, does not, and never will encourage Christian principles. Your possessions, your body, your very life don't belong to you? The highest calling is to serve others? Resist your passions and practice selflessness and discipline? Love your enemies? "Give all you have to the poor and follow Me."? These attitudes are, to say the least, not encouraged in my neck of the woods. Just the opposite: the System loves voracious overconsumers whose manifold and uncontrolled desires can be manipulated for political and economic gain.
Christians raise their children as Christians because they believe that it is true. Are parents supposed to deliberately keep silent about Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the Cross, something they believe in the way they believe the sun will shine again tomorrow morning, until the kid randomly stumbles across it on an Easter cartoon special?
And then there's the risk; not that they will spiritually stumble and skin their knee. No, to Christians it's more like the risks that come from playing in traffic. Sure, they may not be hit by a car and killed, but who wants to chance that with their child? We educated, moderate-to-liberal Christians are uncomfortable talking about Hell. We get embarrassed and awkward, and frankly it doesn't score big popularity points with most people, but we still have to deal with it. Frankly, if I were a parent and I felt that there was the slightest chance that the wrong choices regarding God could eventually lead my child to an eternity of misery, I expect I would feel pretty motivated to help them avoid that.
What is really going on here, I think, is that the aforementioned noder is uncomfortable with pressing his children into the service of a religion. I agree. You wouldn't send a kid off to school because you want him to wear certain clothes, have certain accessories, sit at a certain desk from a given time in the morning till a given time in the afternoon, and jump up at the sound of bells--no, you send a kid to school because you want the child to receive an education. Similarly, Christians ought to be raising their children as Christians not because they feel that the pews at their local church need more warm bodies in them, but because they want their child to know God.
NOTE: Sarcasmo appears to be confusing what I refer to as "Christian principles" with basic ethics. To deal with this subject in any substantial way would require a writeup the size of a small book. Just as a fr'instance, these principles involve the complete obliteration of that broken construct we mistakenly think of as the self and the indwelling of the risen Christ. Our principles cannot be separated from this; otherwise they cease to become Christian. See C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity for a relatively painless and easy to read discussion of this.
His assertion that we are selfish, shallow, narrow-minded, restricting, unenlightened, deluded, diluted, misinformed, and ignorant underscores point two of my argument nicely. Your choice as a parent to keep silent on the subject doesn't mean the rest of the world will do likewise, and it's more than likely that this is the message they will hear. Thank you for serving as a case study, 'Mo.