OK, as promised, here is the rebuttal piece I told aquatic I would post as well.
I begin any conversation on the question of god with the realization that we cannot convince men or women of the existence or the non-existence of god. Lets be honest with ourselves on that point, at least. So, what is the value of the discussion then? Ultimately, it it may be little more than a deep need to remind ourselves of what we believe in. And it might be an opportunity to encourage those who see things this way-and discourage those who do not. We would do well to remember that there are really smart people who believe in god, just as there are some real dumb ones. And vice versa. And as C.S. Lewis reminds us-whether we are atheists or true believers-there will be times when we doubt our beliefs, whichever camp you may fall into.
One experiences god. You can tell me about what love is, or what it feels like-but it defies the acid test. This is the mystery of faith. Our level of understanding is constantly changing. The fact that we did not understand basic concepts in physics until just a few years ago does not mean that these laws were not present before our understanding. And yet, many understood-perhaps intuitively-that there were physical laws at work in the universe before we had the ability to define them. I suppose that for most of you, this is the sense of god that we can work with-even if your faith is difficult to nail down. Not to avail yourselves of the power of something we do not completely understand is silly. We avail ourselves of much we do not understand. For instance, explain electricity. If you are an electrical engineer by chance, then explain the neuroscience behind smell. Even in our respective ares of expertise, there remains much we cannot define completely.
So, with that being said, here are the reasons to choose to raise your children with god:
God is the ultimate parent and role model.
He teaches us to sacrifice for our children. He teaches us not to exasperate them and to lead them up in wisdom and truth. He teaches that we are responsible for them-not the government, or anyone else, for that matter. He teaches that there are boundaries that survive our constantly changing values.
What of God and Logic?
Having heard of innumerable lives that have been changed by the power of faith and the unseen, I have no doubt that the author of logic refuses to be stuffed into a box. If one considers for a moment the possibility that an author of all creation exists-do we really think that we can understand this with logical certainty? try explaining quantum physics to your average grade school student, and you might begin to get a grasp of what such a task would entail. Do tragic things happen which we do not understand? Without question. But this does not logically eliminate the existence of god. Nowhere has god promised you a bed of roses, and there is much that we cannot understand.
It is important that children learn how to pray, and not how to simply ask for what they think they want.
Prayers and petitions are often misunderstood. How often is it that your pray, asking only for what we want? How often is it that we come to god only when we find ourselves in a crack? Why do certain prayers seem to be answered while others do not? These are just some of the questions which defy our answers. It may be that they are answered (or not), but just in ways that we cannot comprehend. What may look like a yes may actually be a no. What we think we are entitled to in physical and spiritual matters should not be the center of your petitions! You have been given a model for prayer. There is not a metric that you can use to measure results we deem "correct", even when you encounter the most painful or tragic events.
God is present with the innocent as well as the not-so-innocent.
Depending on where your faith lines up, belief does not equate to "happy ever after". many who believe suffer tremendously. This is perhaps the best litmus test for true faith-courage in the face of sometimes horrific events and things. Faith demonstrates an ability to remain resolved in the face of circumstances you do not understand. Read the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. great men and women stand in the gap. The question we might ask is this-how do you shape up?
God is everywhere.
Look around you! The rising of the sun is a reminder that you do not have to live in darkness. We are not required to live in fear. If you seek god, then you will find him. He is in the sunset, in the smiles of children in the love of committed spouses. he is the healing around tragic losses. When you do not see him, it is often because you do not really want to. it has been said by some that god is a gentleman-he only comes when invited. Perhaps there is a greater truth behind this.
God gives you a path for a life of spiritual peace if you are willing to work for it.
I have yet to meet a faith-matured person who was not peaceful. I know plenty of christians whose lives are activist-centered and are quite militant. I know plenty of humanists whose internal lives mirror the external chaos around them. but when you live a life of "imitation"-defined as truly seeking to bear out love and service-it is said that you will find peace.
God teaches anything but narcissism.
It is not all about us. God has a plan, and it is a plan of love and service. it may not be a plan that includes riches or fame, or a path that we picked out ourselves. But if you submit to it, God lays out opportunities at your feet that always bring more fulfillment than what you would find when you are out there "finding yourself" and chasing down the shiny things of the world.
When you raise kids without god, you harm them. Things unseen are real. Your love of your child is real. Pain is real. A lack of justice is real. The solution is a deep and abiding faith. But nobody can sell you on this. Just as the alcoholic must "hit rock-bottom", most of you will get to the place where you feel the need to "know god". Where you feel that you need god in your life to be complete. There are many stories out there on how people get to this point. Perhaps they will inspire you if you are not quite ready for god yet. Fear not, for he is patient!
Realize of course that neither these words nor the words of the previous post are mine. The first post was one that I agreed with, as mentioned in the very first sentence, while the second was the rebuttal, which I find to be as full of holes as a sieve.
I know many good people who are committed christians, of a variety of different flavors, just as I know many who don the mantle of christianity like a coat-to be put on and taken off as needed or necessary. I can also say that I know many people of a variety of faiths who are the same way, so this is not common solely to the christians. No, my issues are not, and never have been, with people of faith. My issues arise from the fact that the main monotheistic religions actively promote lies in order to gain and maintain power over others. The bible is full of lies and the christian church not only knows that, but actively maintains that fact. While individual christians can be some of the nicest (and at times the most terrifying!) people out there, the Church is not, and has never been, concerned with the welfare of others. It is an organization which was created solely to hold secular power and for materialistic wealth, all while loudly proclaiming the exact opposite.
That is my opinion.
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