I weighed in on a discussion online with a mom, who was choosing to raise her daughter without the influence of the church. She, along with her husband, had been hurt by religion and chose to reject that path for their family. They were basically good people, she said, and could adequately teach their child right from wrong or how to be good. But can they? I’m not saying that this couple isn’t nice. I’m sure they are nice law-abiding people, but are they good?
As I read the comments from others about this topic, many admitted also to being good and that they didn’t need God or the church and were going to let their children grow up and choose a faith on their own…or not. Their reasons were that they had been hurt by religion and, as a result, had either chosen no faith at all or had chosen something like agnosticism. Many encouraged this young mother to keep her daughter away from the church and choose, instead, another community, like a mom’s group of some kind, say one that meets at a park regularly.
I know that this is the way of contemporary society and I think it’s sad. There are countless people who have been hurt by religion, I was one of them. My parents used religion to discipline, invoke fear, and squelch self-expression. Too, I once worked for a Christian company and was betrayed by the same people who said that they “loved” me. But, you know what? I now know that that is NOT who God is.
For me, God is loving and forgiving prone to jealousy, yes, but always has my best interest in mind. This doesn’t mean that I will not face hardships or that people I love will not face hardships, like death, addiction, divorce, betrayal, but it does mean that God is there waiting for me, always, to come to Him, abide with Him, and seek comfort in His care. It’s not an easy relationship, and it’s confusing, and it’s often not what I want, but it’s reliable and steady.
I think I’m a good person. I volunteer, I give to charity, I tithe, I obey the laws, but that’s probably a few hours out of my week. What about the rest of the time? The rest of the time I have, on occasions, been spiteful and mean to the people close to me. I have rejected those who needed my friendship. I’ve succumbed to road rage. I have lusted and have wanted to leave a loving environment to “find myself,” I mean, come on people, are we really THAT good. No, we’re not and we can’t possible teach another how to be good, especially a young, impressionable child.
The BEST that we can do is to teach a child in the ways of his Creator, to teach him or her about His church and its people, and pray for forgiveness for the rest. Without that, what do we have to offer our children…really?