Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why Do Parents Think They Have a Right to Force Their Religion on Their Children

I went to order a book on Amazon Monday morning. I ran across this discussion thread and was literally amazed at the posts. I emailed it out to a few of my friends and my amazing friend Christy had the most intelligent and logical response. She posted it on the thread. I just had to share it with you because she represented my heart so well with her words!

Here are the first few thoughts posted by this man : Riichard J. Collins says:
Other than tradition passed down from patriarchal societies when wives and children were considered chattel of their husbands to do with as they wished, why should modern parents believe they have unfettered rights to teach their children anything they want? Indeed what makes parents believe their children must believe the same way about politics or ethics as they do? Why not let them mature and make their own decisions? Here in the west we no longer believe we can force a woman to marry someone, or force a child to attend a certain university or take up a certain trade. Why does religion enjoy an exception to our otherwise fair minded thinking?

Riichard J. Collins says:
There is a time in a child's life when they are totally vulnerable to the ideas they are given by the adults around them. Religious institutions know this and that is why they begin on the children when they are barely out of diapers. Is it not immoral to take advantage of a vulnerable person? Parents may believe, as you say, that what they are doing springs from the best of motives. In fact I think this is the case. I read recently that some 80% of children raised in the Baptist faith walk away after they graduate from high school. So people argue there is nothing wrong with indoctrinating children at an early age. Except that attitude conveniently overlooks the stigma and shame attached to leaving a religious community. The kind of psychological abuse apostates are meted out leaving a church is anything by loving. For secular people to accept your argument that God has a plan for mankind, you first have to prove there is a god and give us good reasons why his plan is so good. Instead, we get worn out platitudes, earnest assurances and religious propaganda. If you can convincingly demonstrate there really is a god and that "his plan" is the way to go I am sure most fair minded people would go along with you. By the way, why has God been hiding since he last talked to Moses on the Mount? Suppose a parent chooses Christianity for a child and later when the child matures they decide they want to be a Muslim or any other of the various sects or religions. Many people stumble through all sorts of confused spiritual journeys simply because they were indoctrinated with the idea that there is a transcendent purpose in life. Why put children through this ordeal?

Riichard J. Collins says:
But you don't seem to want to understand that your child is an individual that has his own set of rights. One of those rights is his freedom of thought and religion. You have a responsibility to make decisions for him that do not restrict his freedoms or limit his future options. Forcing him into your religion may not be what he wants. What if he says to you (I don't know how old he is now) I don't want to go to a Catholic church. What is going to be your answer? Have you ever sat him down and asked him directly if he was enjoying his Catholic church experience? Did it ever even occur to you to do this? What if he tells you he wants out? Then what?What I want you to explain to me is why you will not respect his rights. Your reply didn't really hit the mark. Anecdotal evidence abounds that children don't like what they are subjected to by the church. Are you avoiding this reality?

After almost a thousand posts...my dear friend Christy replies with such wisdom
Christy G. Cook says:
Richard, I have been reading alot of these posts for the first time today. I have not yet read them all so forgive me if I say something that has already been said. I am a Christian Home schooling mother, so you might think that I would be getting ready to attack everything you have said, however, I find myself agreeing with a lot that you have to say. I have experienced the people who have told me to "stop thinking so much" and "just believe." Quite frankly, I find it a troubling "trend" in the church in America. If God is Omniscient and Omnipresent and created this amazing world, does He really intend for us to "blindly" follow Him and stop thinking?? How insulting.I personally am telling my children all the time to ask questions. I tell them that they should never just believe something because someone they like (or even love) said it. I tell them to think for themselves. I believe that God intends for us to question and seek out answers. By the way, in response to your "Superstition and science do not go well together" statement, I would encourage you to investigate how many early scientists (that have contributed to our wealth of knowledge today) were Christians. Begin with Copernicus and his theory that the world was NOT the center of the universe. Anyway, I digress, my point is that, you are right, our children have minds and they should USE them. If I believe I am teaching them about a God who cannot stand the test of "intelligent questioning" then I should re-evaluate what I am teaching. Too many of us are afraid to question our own beliefs. Really, when it comes right down to it, we are ALL taking a leap of faith. I have faith that there is a loving God who created this world and actually entered into it through the person of His son Jesus Christ and shed His blood to cover the patheticness of my sin. You have faith that there is NO God and that all of this world got here somehow by accident. Muslims have faith that there will be many virgins awaiting them after they press that button and blow themselves up. I guess we just have to choose which faith we will have. But, when it comes to my children, I will teach them what I believe. They will also know that there are many people out there who believe differently from their mother and father ( and most of them because they were taught from an early age to do so. ) I will also teach them to question, and reason and think for themselves. Ultimately, I think they will come to their own conclusion that God is real and He loves them. BUT, I cannot make them come to that conclusion. Have you ever heard of Classical education? Look it up. It is the only method of education that truly teaches children to think and reason for themselves. Thank you for your posts and this discussion that is SO absolutely necessary!God Bless.

To me here is the HUGE part...his response!!! Riichard J. Collins says:
Christy,If every parent thought like you do, we would have no problems. You obviously have a lot of insight into the issue and have adopted a course that is fair to your children and still allows you to guide them as you feel your parental duties dictate. This is exactly the balance we hope to see. Thank you for posting and please continue to share your thoughts.

Christy G. Cook says:
I'm very pleased to find you think I am balanced. However, I don't look at myself as "unique" in my perspective. I believe there are many parents out there who are thinking just like me. There is the "vocal" minority who fear the discussion and just lash out in defensive, angry rebuttal. Then there is the majority who are happily, peacefully enjoying their freedom to train their children in an intelligent manner. I hope you will find this in your "pursuit of the discussion."

Great Job Christy!
Here is the link for the thread : http://www.amazon.com/tag/parenting/forum/ref=cm_cd_pg_oldest?%5Fencoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx20C498EK5JY4S&cdPage=1&cdSort=newest&cdThread=Tx2CZZFKFXLZ0XM


Dalene said...

Wonderful thoughts!

Marci said...

Yeah Christy!! I am glad you took the time to put some intelligence into the discussion. You represented us crazy Christian homeschoolers very well!! Thank YOU!!!

Kipplyn said...

Great job Christy! Bo says so too! I am blessed to have friends in all of you!

Kipplyn said...

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