Sunday, February 8, 2009

Train Up a Child

I often wonder what to do about my kids. I want to teach them what I've now learned about the Bible. I want to teach them not to take the Bible so literally.

But at the same time, I do not want to forbid them the opportunity to believe in God if they want to do so. Nor do I want to forbid that they explore church. But, I want them to know up front what I know. I want church and the Bible to have the burden of proof in their minds, rather than they grow up believing in God, church, and Bible unquestioningly. I don't want them to assume that clergy and the Bible in particular are the ultimate authority on all things.

But being in the closet makes this very difficult. My mother and my mother-in-law both pump my oldest son with teachings about God. Yet, this only fills him with questions that I have trouble answering without giving away my non-belief. My daughter is very young -- that's primarily why I don't mention her as much as my son. But, she is going to a Christian based daycare. She gets bombarded, too.

I don't want to totally intervene and plainly tell them God is no different from Santa Clause. Who knows. One day, I may change my own mind about that. However, I don't want them to blindly obey a scripture text without knowing something about what archeology and history revel concerning any given scripture text.

Also, I know my son will start to leak my non-Christian views to my two "moms" and blow my cover should I start plainly sharing my views.

So, what should I do?

I feel like a coward sometimes by avoiding many of my son's questions. I feel selfish, too. I feel selfish for not telling my children what I think is best for them in a plain, outright fashion-- all because I don't want people to know that I've changed.

Yet, I also feel selfish for wanting to curb their developing faith in God. I want them to be their own persons and decide for themselves. But, I want them to posses the information that I have learned as they make their personal decisions about God.

Funny how the Bible says to train up a child and they will not depart from the path that you teach them. My mother did this with me; it didn't turn out so well thus far. And I secretly hope that fundamentalist Christianity doesn't work for my children, either.

So, what should I do as they grow up?

I suppose all I can do is teach my kids to think for themselves. Let them learn the Bible, but let them learn the faculties of reason and skepticism, too.

Otherwise, I 'm at a loss as to what to do.
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