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Why I Raise My Children Without God

Posted by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:47 AM
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Why I Raise My Children Without God

When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.

 

     For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.

 

     One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale—not unlike the one we tell children about Santa—to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.

 

     And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.

 

     Here are a few of the reasons why I am raising my children without God.

 

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.

 

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.” Translate: We don’t understand, so we will not think about it or deal with the issue. Take for example the senseless tragedy in Newtown. 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 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.

 

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?

 

     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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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.

 

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?

 

    When we raise kids without God, we tell them the truth—we are no more special than the next creature. We are just a very, very small part of a big, big machine–whether that machine is nature or society–the influence we have is minuscule. The realization of our insignificance gives us a true sense of humbleness.

 

     I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we—along with the children we love so much—will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.

 

     I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:47 AM
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Replies (1-9):
4GuardianAngels
by New Member on Jul. 20, 2013 at 8:56 AM
God does step in to help us, it's called the Holy Spirit. God does not want to force anyone to love Him, that's why we have free will. Otherwise God could of just made robots.

To truly understand God their is homework. We can never truly 100% understand God but the simple questions you ask are available to be answered. People who pray to win soccer games are bad examples of Christians. God does not even answer those prayers unless winning the soccer match has elements of "righteousness" in it. Meaning something worth advancing heaven. God is not a genie. A child dying is sad but if that child has something that will advance heaven then He will take her. He will provide parents comfort. It's hard for you to understand because you are seeking only logical answers. Just like how children grow into being mature, Christians grow into being Mature Christians. These Mature Christians don't pray for soccer game winning.

God is always with us because Jesus gave us a Holy Spirit. Biblical Parenting is not based off God, it's based on the life of Jesus and God Commandments.

God is not a theory based around fear of death it's actually not the fear of death. God has already been proven to be real and notated how much you hope, nothing can change that.



Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jul. 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Quoting 4GuardianAngels:

God has already been proven to be real

What do you mean by "proven"?   What are the standards you use in general life (say, for example, when considering a proof offered by a vacuum salesman that his vacuum works better than brand K), to decide whether an offered proof is valid or not?

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jul. 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM
Quoting 4GuardianAngels:
Quoting Clairwil:

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.

God is always with us because Jesus gave us a Holy Spirit.

Can your children touch the Holy Spirit with their fingers?

Can your children see the Holy Spirit with their eyes?

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jul. 20, 2013 at 9:36 AM
Quoting 4GuardianAngels:
Quoting Clairwil:

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.

God does not want to force anyone to love Him, that's why we have free will. Otherwise God could of just made robots.

Free will is one of the biggest topics in philosophy, because it is tied in with so many other deep questions, such as 'mind versus brain', 'determinism, predestination and the nature of time and causality' and 'what it means to be a moral actor who can justly be held responsible for their actions'.   It is obviously useful in law to be able to distinguish between a man who shot his wife because he was angry with her for burning his lunch again, and a man who shot his wife because of a hypnotic suggestion, or because his children were hostage, or because a chip in his brain place there by the evil Dr. Doom was controlling the movements of his body.  Or a man who shot his wife after having had a brain injury, and thinking she was an attacking wolf, or a paper target at a fun fair.  Or because it had damaged his IQ so much that he was just pulling the trigger because he liked the pretty bang-bang sounds.

But does it really exist?  Or is it mostly an illusion, that we find useful for pragmatic purposes?   In the same way we think about the objects around us as being 'solid', even though physicists tell us that they are more than 99% empty and less than 1% actual physical matter?  Before we get onto the religious context, let's start with what modern science can tell us.


Libet, Benjamin (2002). “Do We Have Free Will?” in Kane, ed., (2002), 551–564

Libet conducted experiments designed to determine the timing of conscious willings or decisions to act in relation to brain activity associated with the physical initiation of behavior.  The studies provide strong evidence that actions are already underway shortly before the agent wills to do it.  As a result, we do not consciously initiate our actions.  (Though we may be able to later veto them, before carrying them out.)


Wegner, Daniel (2002). "The Illusion of Conscious Will." Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

That human actions are ever initiated by their own conscious willings is simply a deeply-entrenched illusion.  He goes onto explain why our cognitive systems generates this illusion.


We can accept what science tells us, and still hold criminals to account for their actions.  The pragmatic justification for making use of the concept, and making use of legal trials and punishments, is unaltered by the neurological details of what is going on in the physical brain.  In the same way, the actual nature of matter makes no difference to a juggler, just as long as the balls are caught by his hands, rather than passing through them.

Interestingly, when we look at the ancient Greek philosophers, before there were Christians intent on having a reason to think their God just, they didn't find a mechanistic universe view to be a great stumbling block. (LINK) - most were content to accept that if a deity had predetermined that a criminal should do something bad and then get caught, the right thing was still to punish that criminal, even though he couldn't have avoided that pre-determined fate.

Here's Sam Harris talking about it:


According to the Bible, it was possible to have free will before evil existed, or was known about, because Adam and Eve didn't start off knowing about it.

Genesis 3:3-6

King James Version (KJV)

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

either that, or He originally created them without free will.  Either way, if it is valuable to God that evil exist in order that we can use free will to choose not to pick evil, then it must have always been His intention that Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  Or, to put it another, way he knew in advance that she would likely do it, and decided to go ahead and create her anyway, rather than someone with a slightly less gullible or curious personality.  In the same way a dog owner who puts an untrained puppy next to a steak intended for his own lunch shouldn't be surprised when the puppy eats it, despite being told not to.  Before Eve knew what right and wrong were, how could she know that it was wrong to disobey God?

By the way, the iconography of the Garden of Eden: the tree, the snake, the eating of the fruit, can all be traced back to earlier religions in the region that ancient Judaism stemmed off from.


Common scene found on seals from the twenty-third and twenty-second centuries BC: a seated male figure (identified by his head-dress of horns as a god) facing a female worshiper.  The date palm and snake between them may merely be symbolic of fertility.


However, for the sake of argument, let's take it at face value.  Let's assume that God is benevolent, and that He created a universe with a species of sentient creatures in it (humans), that he wanted to be able to exercise a free choice between doing good and doing evil, because only by being morally responsible for their own actions could the greatest good be achieved in the long run.  (We don't need to specify the precise mechanic of why that is.  If it helps visualise the situation, assume that people enjoy more the rewards they feel they have deserved, and so the souls that reach heaven will enjoy heaven more if they know their entry was deservedly granted based upon their freely choosen actions in life.)

From that premise, what sort of universe would we predict He would create?  What sort of features ought it to have?

  • We'd expect low child mortality, so the vast majority of people got a chance to make choices
  • We'd expect a vast majority of people in the world to agree on which actions are good and which are evil
  • We'd expect people to be equally capable of rational thought and anticipating the consequences of their actions, rather than those who are already suffering from disease and poverty having a larger than average chance of physiological changes taking place in the brain (such as depression) that impair their decision making ability and strength of will.
  • We'd expect people to have an equal chance of developing empathy, rather than some (such as certain types of autistic people) having to work much harder.  Similarly, we wouldn't expect psychopathy, or other mental conditions affecting moral decision making, to exist.

you can continue the exercise (there are many other predictions one can make), but even based upon that small sample, it is clear that our current universe is far from what would be expected from a benevolent creator who values our making free choices between good and evil.  It is, on the other hand, what would be expected from naturalistic evolution that isn't interested in giving people an even break.

When it comes down to it, God valuing our free will so much that he inflicts natural evils such as spider wasps and meteors, is just another made up story, with no more basis or predictive power than any of the other suggested defences.   It is an excuse.  And a poor excuse, at that.

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jul. 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM
Quoting 4GuardianAngels:

God is not a genie. A child dying is sad but if that child has something that will advance heaven then He will take her. He will provide parents comfort. It's hard for you to understand because you are seeking only logical answers.

Either:

  • (A) God does not exist

or:

  • (B) God does exist, AND good and evil are arbitrary thing that God can define however He chooses

or:

  • (C) God does exist, AND good and evil are defined independently of God, AND God is a being that is less than 100% Good

or:

  • (D) God does exist, AND good and evil are defined independently of God, AND God is 100% Good


We can split (D) up further:


Premise: We observe happening around us acts that appear to us to be gratuitously evil

Premise: Any being that was 100% good would prevent all acts that were actually gratuitously evil, if able to do so

Either:

  • (E) God isn't powerful enough to do so

or

  • (F) The acts that appear to us to be gratuitously evil are actually good

or

  • (G) It is not the case that [ God does exist, AND good and evil are defined independently of God, AND God is 100% Good ]



Which option are you picking?

glorytojehovah
by on Sep. 22, 2013 at 12:29 PM

God is 100% good, He is 100% capable of overcoming evil and He does so at His will. However, He is not a liar and has given this world over to the rule of Satan for a little while, and then God will overcome evil for good and it will be no more.

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Sep. 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Quoting glorytojehovah:

God [...] has given this world over to the rule of Satan for a little while

Why would God do such a terrible thing as that?

What does that mean anyway, for the world to be ruled over by Satan?  Does Satan set the laws of physics?  Does Satan use miracles (or magic, or supernatural physical effects, or whatever the correct term is) to make physical changes in the world?  Can Satan make a particular singer more talented, or persuade millions of listeners that the singer is talented if, in fact, they are not?

glorytojehovah
by on Sep. 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Long story, but for brevity's sake, this world is under a curse from the original sin of mankind. This world has been taken over by evil. God is still soverign and has ultimate authority, but satan has usurped God's authority through tricks and lies. The wickedness done by man gives him his power. When people reject God over satan then he has power. God doesn't give him the power, although he does allow him to operate because of free will. You and I have the choice to serve which master we choose. Satan for evil or God for good. In this life we have trials and sorrows because of the curse. When Jesus returns to defeat satan and put him in chains, the curse of the law will be finally over. For those of us who believe in what Jesus did at the cross, we have already been delivered from the curse and have passed from death to life and so we enjoy God's blessing. We still have to live in this world and see the ravages of sin and the curse, but our hope is in the future when it is finally over. God warned us of the limitations of our minds. His ways are much higher than ours. I mean who am I to question the one who commands the winds to obey Him. He who tells the sea where to go and who loves us all so much that He is longsuffering toward us so that all come to full repentence and turn to Him.

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting glorytojehovah:

God [...] has given this world over to the rule of Satan for a little while

Why would God do such a terrible thing as that?

What does that mean anyway, for the world to be ruled over by Satan?  Does Satan set the laws of physics?  Does Satan use miracles (or magic, or supernatural physical effects, or whatever the correct term is) to make physical changes in the world?  Can Satan make a particular singer more talented, or persuade millions of listeners that the singer is talented if, in fact, they are not?


Clairwil
by Group Owner on Sep. 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM

You seem to be saying that it isn't God, who has given control of the world over to a different supernatural being (Satan) on a temporary basis.

But, rather, it is humans who have given control of the world over to evil, by freely choosing to do evil.

Where, then, does the supernatural being, Satan, come into it?   What is Satan doing, if all the chosing and doing of evil is down to humans?  Would evil not exist if Satan didn't exist?  Could humans not choose evil, if Satan didn't exist?

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