While enjoying a slab of pizza with my kids, we chatted about the events of the evening.
My son proceeded to tell me about his afternoon:
"When Grandma picked me up from school today, she told me that I couldn't watch any TV at her house".
"Oh, really? Why? You get into some trouble?" (uh-oh)
"No", he replied. "Grandma said that she wasn't watching TV to prove her love to God (read: fasting from television). She said that she wasn't going to permit me to watch any TV since it's her house and her rules."
"Oh, I see. What did you think of that?"
-- I think I even stopped eating my pizza for a moment.
"I respect what she's trying to do and all, but I don't agree with it".
"Really?" I was astonished. What a mature answer for an eight year old!
"Well son, I'm curious now. Would you be willing to stop watching TV to get closer to God?"
"Nope. I like TV too much."
"But what if someone told you that sometimes it takes that sort of devotion to please God?" I tried to pick my son's brain.
"I dunno. I just don't agree with that idea. I respect it, but . . . . I mean, I don't even know if the Bible is real or not. I mean, who was there to write about the first man if nobody was around but the first man? That just doesn't seem to make sense to me."
Wow! Honest . . . I didn't tell him any of that beforehand. I don't even know where he got that specific idea from-- except that I've encouraged him to question ideas and to decide for himself what he thinks of God. I didn't think that anything I said would have caused him to respond quite like that.
He still seems to believe in God. That's fine with me. But he seems willing to question ideas-- even if the ideas come from an "authoritative source". That to me is most important.
He's thinking on his own.
I don't mind if he becomes (or remains) theist. I just want him to learn to think for himself, regardless. Many theists are quite capable of doing this.
And for that reason alone (that he's learning to think for himself), I am proud of my son.
(And I'm proud of my daughter, too. She's learning how to read!)