Reality: A Multiple-Choice Quiz

In my last guest post (And They Will Not Depart From It), I addressed those who criticize raising children in religious truth. One person commented about how she is raising her children to follow whatever religion they believe is “right for them”. I already briefly addressed this in a previous post (Forcing Religion on Your Children), but it deserves some further discussion.

I want to be clear at the outset that I’m not criticizing a parent’s right to raise her children in the way she thinks best. My goal is to help parents understand that abandoning a child to grope in the darkness of metaphysical options, with all its pitfalls, is, in fact, not what’s best for a child.

The initial question is whether it is a rational practice to “choose” a religion because it is “right for you”. After all, it may be my personal preference that my checking account has a million dollars in it, but would the bank hand me the money based on what I feel is “right for me”? It’s not likely. What they’ll first do is look to see if what I feel is “right for me” corresponds to reality, i.e., is the money actually in my account?

My point should be obvious. God’s existence, His nature, His purpose for us, etc., are no more a matter of personal choice than the sum of 2+2. One should not approach religion the way one approaches options at a buffet (“That looks good. I’ll have some of that. Hmm, that doesn’t appeal to me, so I won’t touch it.”). A rational person acquiesces to the evidence — whether or not it has any personal appeal. Faith is not a blind leap into the absurd (2 Peter 1:16). Faith is believing, trusting, and hoping based on good reasons and evidence (1 Jn.1:1, Ps.19:1-3, Rom.1:20, Heb.3:4). Faith is not opposed to reason (Isaiah 1:18). Faith is only opposed to empiricism, i.e., “seeing is believing” (Jn.20:24-29), because “we walk by faith, not by sight” (Rom.8:24, 2 Cor.5:7). Either God exists, or He does not. Either the Bible is true, or it is not. Either religion “X” is true, or it is not. The reality of these things is not subject to our choosing.

In relation to raising children, parents should teach children the truth about these issues (Deut.6:7). But what if a parent simply does not know where the truth lies? Should a parent allow his child to make blind or ignorant choices simply because he, the parent, is uninformed or uncertain? How do responsible parents handle such a problem regarding less important matters? A responsible parent investigates what foods is best for his child and then prepares a meal accordingly. A responsible parent finds out what kinds of medicine is good or bad for his child and acts accordingly. And if the parent doesn’t have 100% certainty about a matter, he still makes the best judgement based on the results of his diligent research and raises his child based on the best information he could find (Proverbs 11:14). If transient, temporal things like food and medicine are important enough to do right by one’s child, then isn’t something like the eternity of a child’s soul and moral well-being something worth getting right (Matt.6:25-34)? And speaking of moral well-being…

Some parents mitigate their child’s lack of religious instruction by noting that they at least teach their children moral values, and I certainly would commend any such a parent for attempting to instill morality into her child. The problem arises when the child asks the obvious question: “Says who?” Yes, you can coerce your child into conformity, but kids are not stupid. A child will eventually realize that he has no obligatory moral duty to obey finite, temporal human beings lacking ultimate authority. The child may put on an act and conform when the parent is looking, but the child will reach an understanding that, as long as nobody is looking and/or he doesn’t get caught, he’s not really doing anything wrong (Psalm 14:1, Proverb 1:7). I’m not suggesting that all children without religious training will become little monsters. I’m only noting that an intelligent child will see through the absurdity of arbitrary moral commands which have no objective ground. Why, after all, is it wrong to bring harm to others or to cause them suffering? Why not simply live for one’s own selfish pleasure while avoiding any social consequences, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25)? Why not anarchy or nihilism?

Finally, I am not suggesting that children not be exposed to other world views. Yes, please teach your children about other people’s beliefs. However, your children need to be made aware of the fact that, just like any multiple-choice quiz, there’s only one correct answer.

FG

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13 thoughts on “Reality: A Multiple-Choice Quiz

  1. Ephesians 6 is a firm code of behavior for Christians, vs. 4 specifically to the parent’s responsibility.

    Ephesians 6:4
    And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Decades of secular humanist education ( in reality – Luciferianism) has conditioned people to believe that free thinking is de rigueur, and that “morality” can be found outside the Bible. We are now living in the Lukewarm church age prophesied about over 2,000 years ago in Revelation 3. Without the Word of God as the firm foundation – the evil one is free to challenge and corrupt whatever he sets his hand to. He ALWAYS casts doubt on God’s Word. From the very beginning.

    “Yea – hath God said?” Genesis 3:1 YES! HE HAS! Jesus is the only way. Period. Denying this Truth to children is exceedingly sinful. Children always love Jesus – it is corrupt, bitter, and selfish adults who would deny them the only Truth there is. The evil one has convinced billions of foolish people to sacrifice their children to a sinister satanic, political system. If they aren’t murdered outright in the womb, they are inculcated with tolerance, multi-culturalism, deviant sexual practices, evil-ution, and historical revisionism from the time they are infants. Anything goes in school now – ANYTHING – except Jesus and His Perfect Word.

    1 John 2:22-24

    22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

    24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

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  2. Great post! We just had this “discussion” with several other people in our Foster Care classes. They were talking about how you can’t force religion on children, which I agree, but you have to expose them to the truth and plant those seeds. You never know when they will flourish and ultimately God has control over the whole situation. So you expose them, talk about it openly, ask them questions, give them answer, recite verses from scripture that pertain to situations they may be going through, but never leave the path of truth.
    I can’t stand that everything has to p.c. and not offend anyone. If people would start putting God back in their lives maybe they wouldn’t know how much He loves them and that there is Hope and trust in God’s grace.

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  3. Pingback: On Choosing “Right” « Do_While(True)

  4. Wonderful post. As Christian parents, we must step up to the plate and despite what others say about us or what others do in regard to their children, we must raise them to know God-the only God, the only way to true happiness and life!

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  5. It has been a while since a post has grabbed my attention and kept me reading all the way through. I have six children. 3 which are 17 years and older now. I raised my children to love the Lord, to go to church and to believe in the Word. I often wondered if once they got married and moved off if they would choose to continue the faith based life they were raised in and the way they have watched me trust the Lord. Sure enough each one of my children have not wavered from the way they were brought up. I’m not saying they are perfect. But, I have had them say to me “mom I prayed for my son or daughter last night”. This makes me happy. It’s not about religion, or a denomination. It’s about being such a witness of the Love of Christ and living a life that reflects your faith in God that counts. “If you raise a child in the way they should go, then when they are old they will not depart from it.” Let me add I have never been a pushy mother who made my kids chose my way, but I raised them up while they were in my house to see the way I myself believed. “Money see, Money do”

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  6. The person who said they were raising their kids to believe in whatever religion they wanted came from an atheist who was allowing her daughter to be a Christian. Said person was not a Christian. I think its great that she is allowing her daughter to go to church, etc.

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    • Yes, I think it’s great, too. But the reason I think it’s great is because Christianity is true.

      However, despite our felicity regarding this particular parent’s decision, you seem to miss my point about how one should appraoch reality. One does not create reality by choosing to believe something. Rather, one should, if he is rational, align his beliefs with what is, in fact, real. An atheist who allows his child to believe in theism is acting inconsistently. In this case, I’m very happy about this inconsistency because, as I already noted, Christian theism is true, so the parent’s inconsistency turns out to be beneficial for the child. But what about the child who is allowed to wander into a Gaia religion, or Unitarianism, or some other falsehood?

      -FG

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  7. Question!
    If your parents were atheists, had been for all your life, but were teaching you to be religious wouldn’t that make them untrustworthy? They would be teaching what is not their understanding of truth. Like when parents tell their children that there is a man in a red suit bringing them presents. Point being teaching your child anything you know to be false is morally wrong.

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    • Yes, you’re correct. It’s morally wrong to intentionally teach one’s children falsehoods (or what one takes to be false). However, in the case of atheists, they have no objective ground by which to say that lying is immoral. Therefore, if atheism were true, they would not be acting immorally (since objective moral imperatives wouldn’t exist in an atheistic world), even though they would be irrational for teaching their children propositions contrary to what they take to be true. But then, atheism has never been a rational position.

      FG

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  8. Pingback: Forcing Religion On Your Children | A Homeschool Mom

  9. Pingback: Planning The Homeschool Year: Reality, Religion, and Socialization | A Homeschool Mom

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