Kids Without God

Kids Without God

Nov 20
Kids Without God

Today I became aware of a website called KidsWithoutGod.com — it’s a humanist site that strives to help kids learn how to be “good” people without God.

On the surface, it seems harmless enough.  It teaches many principles that we would consider “good.”  It just does so without any reference to God.  As I’ve written in other articles, there is a movement to prove that one can still be moral and good without a religion.  There is a need to refute the idea that atheists are immoral.

They have begun placing ads in buses in the D.C. area that say “I’m getting a bit too old for imaginary friends.”  While I find this highly offensive, I can at least understand the thought behind it.  If someone doesn’t believe in God, then it would seem silly to seek a relationship with Him — it would be like having an imaginary friend or praying to Santa Claus.

I try to respect the thoughts and ideas of others as best I can.  I try to be open-minded, even when I think someone is being stupid, or even belligerent.  But what I read today went beyond what I can “tolerate.”

There is a teen section on the website.  One of the pages is titled “How do I talk to my parents about God?”  Sounds innocent enough, right?  The following has been copied and pasted directly from the webpage without any edits (I even left their emphasis):

You are in a difficult situation, but there are thousands of other teenagers in similar situations, so you are not alone. First, be safe and avoid making things difficult for yourself.  Second, very religious parents are also very afraid. They are afraid of hell, afraid of what others at church might think, afraid that their children will be punished by god. When people are afraid, they don’t act rationally.  If you choose to talk with your parents, remember they are afraid for you and for themselves. Being confrontational, argumentative or angry, will only make them more afraid.

When exploring new ideas and finding interesting answers, you have a strong urge to talk and share your thoughts with others, especially people you are close to. In an ideal world, you would be able to talk to your parents about anything, but that doesn’t work very well when your parents are locked into a narrow religiosity. Depending on how religious they are, their response could cause you problems while you are living at home.

Consider that you may not need to talk with them about what you think. It is actually none of their business. No one can control what you do in your own head. You may have to bite your tongue a lot, but it may be worth it if it saves you a lot of grief. When you get out of your parents’ house, you will be much freer to express yourself. For now, you can share your ideas with other freethinking friends at school or other places where it is safer to be yourself.

Religion thrives on thought control. By expressing an idea in an unsafe environment, you give your parents an opportunity to try and control what you think. If you keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself, you can still maintain a relationship without harming yourself.

If you feel that you have to come out to your parents.

First, you choose the time and place, do not start such an important conversation in the kitchen while mom or dad is doing something else. Choose a time and place and let them know in advance. “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about something important, but I want to do it privately, just you and me.”

Second, only talk to one parent at a time. Fearful religious parents will feed off of one another’s fear and soon you will be overwhelmed and feel like they are ganging up on you. Choose the parent you want to talk to, then make a date with them. Ask them to meet you at a coffee shop or in the Student Union. Semipublic places often help everyone keep control of their emotions.

Third, plan on an hour or more. Turn your phone off. Ask them to turn their phone off.

Fourth, keep it simple the first time you talk. Have three or four key ideas you want to express and stick with those. Begin by thanking your parent for teaching you how to think for yourself. Let them know that you love them and know that what you may say could be upsetting. Do not criticize their religion, just express your own ideas.  You can expect that they will say things like, “You are just going through a phase, you will come back to Jesus someday. I questioned when I was your age, but I came back.”  Keep cool and just agree with them, “Yes, it may just be a phase, but it is my life and I have to find out what is right for me.”

The main thing to keep in mind is that you are a growing and independent person with a mind of your own.You have a right to develop your own view of the world.  Just as important, do not try to convince your parents that you are right or they are wrong. Trying to win them over to your way of thinking almost never works, it only makes them more convinced that they are right.”

http://kidswithoutgod.com/teens/ask/how-do-i-talk-to-my-parents-about-go/

Note the ideas embedded within this explanation.  It is appalling!!  But I’m going to argue that this also reflects how these same people view God and how their reached their atheism.  The “answers” given in this article are a reflection of their view of God.

First is the idea that you cannot trust your parents.  You cannot confide in them.  You cannot talk to them about this.  They cannot be trusted.  In fact, you probably love them more than they love you because you can listen to them without judging, but they won’t be able to do the same for you.

Second, is the idea that Christians are full of fear and that fear is the primary motivator of religion.  Scared people are irrational.  Christians are scared and are therefore irrational and unsafe, even to their own children.  I don’t know that I have the words to express my outrage and torment at this concept.  Christ should bring the exact opposite reaction from people — He didn’t call us to fear, but to peace.  However, given the way Christians talk about the election, politics, the economy, etc. you’d think that we were afraid of everything.

Christians should be the most positive people on the planet.  Instead, I know several who are terrified of God.  They live like His finger is on the smite button and He’s just looking for an excuse to push it.

We must be BOLD about our faith, about the GOODNESS of our God, and how BLESSED we are to be lavished in His love!  Anything else is beneath us and our God.  Any other speech is unworthy of Him.  God is good.  All the time.  Whether we see it or understand it is irrelevant.

God.  Is.  Good.

But apparently we’ve given people reason to think otherwise.  We have led people to believe that God rules from fear and frightens people into submission.

If I had children, I would not want them to follow God because I am afraid for their souls or because they should fear God.  I would want them to follow God the same way I want to share my favorite things in life with them — because I have found joy in those things and I would want my children to have that same joy!!  I have found indescribable JOY in God and I want everyone to have it, too.

Lastly, the writer of the article says that “religion thrives on thought control.”  I agree with him, but for entirely different reasons.  I try to control my thoughts and bring them into subjection to my King.  I want Him to be superior to every thought I have, even if those thoughts are sometimes opposed to Him.  I try to live by controlling my thoughts and so I exercise “thought control.”

However, the claim that God controls people’s thoughts, or thrives on controlling people is to completely misunderstood the point of Christianity.  It is a fundamental flaw in reasoning.  The exact opposite is taught by Christianity — that God gives us absolute freedom to choose whatever we want, including the freedom to chose a life apart from Him.  He doesn’t force or coerce anyone into following Him.  God wants love.

Fear drives away love.  And Love drives away fear.

LOVE your God.  LOVE your children.  LOVE your church.

And LIVE it in such a way that nobody can ever doubt it or claim that you are afraid of anything.

“If my God is with me, whom then shall I fear?  Whom then shall I fear?”

 

3 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this Chris. I’m going to write about it too, because I think it’s that important. Once I have, I’ll come back here and put a link with a comment.

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