Every parent wants their child to follow their faith whether atheist, Christian, Buddhist,Hindu, Judaism, Muslim, or all lesser known faiths. .
Faith is a belief in unproved ideas or stories. That they are unproved means they vary. Here is one man’s story in response to a post of mine on Facebook.
Theism is a belief that a god that nobody knows what it looks like or it’s sex somehow after spending for ever and ever and ever quite happy with it’s own company decide it was lonely and wanted some distraction and decide to make the world and put beings on it, who it condemned to poverty disease and war, simply because it knew in advance how they would use their ” free will” to condemn themselves and oh what fun, since then ” god” has never been bored.
His post was in response to a post making fun of atheism. My only quarrel with atheism is that it is usually either/or thinking. Either there is a God or Gods or there not. Such thinking is limiting, and sees religion as all bad; this creates divisiveness. Emotional fitness seeks “yes/and” thinking as a better way most of the time. Yes, atheists might be right and one or many religions might be right.
He is one who has turned from religion, but his post speaks to his faith and that is what guides his behavior. His post sparked this post. Had I responded with a Facebook post, it would have been about my faith. Here is how I might have responded:
We are all guided by the beliefs we hold most strongly and have the most faith in. Here are mine as opposed to yours.
I do not know how the world came to be, but I do not believe nothing came from nothing.
I know a spirit of love is part of creation. So I place my faith in a loving creator who like most parents wants a child to become all he or she can be. A wise creator and parent can only do so much to accomplish that and spends much time watching and hoping.
I believe one of the Creator’s greatest gifts is making space for growth and development not just as individuals, but as a species.
We are doing that and the world is better for many than it was even a hundred years ago. But some cling to tribal or national or personal ways and many of those do evil trying to spread those ways or accrue wealth and power.
Perhaps, the Creator still monitors our progress, likes the direction with are moving of progress and is still hopeful; perhaps, not. Perhaps, the Creator either no longer cares or is just watching us destroy ourselves.
The Torah which I see as full of cautionary tales, says some must be destroyed to allow others to survive and that the Creator stays active in that decision. Miracles are exceptions to the expected and I see miracles. They are one of the foundations of my faith. Torah also says even when very few follow the path of righteousness the world will be saved. The primary path of righteousness is not linked to one faith; all with wisdom agree that path is treating others as you want to be treated.
I believe our job as individuals is to grow and to as the Judiasm says, “Repair the Universe.” I am grateful the Creator is patient and forgiving.
What I have just written is the way I have dealt with the main problems people face in creating their faith. That is also fairly close to my parent’s beliefs, My father was an atheist and my mother would be called hopefully spiritual. Neither was happy when I became a religious observer, but their love went on.
Most of those I know who no longer practice their parents’ religion complain about three things.
- The beliefs are not practiced by those who hold them. This was the reason I started doubting Christianity.
- The beliefs seem at odds with reality, particularly science.
- Suffering was not adequately explained. Also a major part of my need to turn to religion.
Each of these needs to be addressed for a child’s faith to mirror its parent’s faith. Moreover, no matter how wise or loving the parents, children often go another way. My parents were more than loving and very wise. So here are some quick tips, but only quick tips for this is a topic that must be explored in-depth.
Tip one: As always, you must model the behavior you seek from your children. Many surround their children with those of similar belief. If you do that make sure those people model the behavior also. The ones I met at the church I joined as a teen in the long run did not seem very Christian.
Tip two: Did the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God create the world in six days? Scientific minds agree our time is limited to our world. Six days in our world are most likely a drop of sand in the universe’s hour glass. Despite the popularity of Steven Hawkin’s views, many reputable phycisists believe in a Creator. Read their thoughts. Here’s one: Gerald Schroeder. He is a physicist and holds a double PhD.
Tip three: As suffering is personal and the first thing we all ask is “Why me?”, our faith must provide an acceptable answer to “Why.” When bad things happen most of us feel punished for being stupid, careless, foolish or sinful. The power of this personalizing is reflected in almost every religious practice whether human sacrifice, selling of indulgences, or acts of contrition.
My personal belief about bad things accepts that some are the result of personal carelessness or foolishness. And yes, some might be punishment for sins, but what helps me accept suffering is looking for a lesson. Sometimes the lesson is a personal one; often the lesson is acceptance that bad things happen whether one is good or bad and often despite all efforts to being a victim of bad. Sometimes I find comfort in randomness. The Jewish God promised the survival of the Jewish people, not of individuals.
Tip four: Teach you children to be law-abiding to an extent. Example? Red lights. The younger the child, the more abiding by a red light is necessary and “Because it is the law.”
By the age of ten or so, going against the red light can be a matter of “This law is not always reasonable, you need to know when it is okay to break it.”
A teen can be drawn into deeper conversations beginning perhaps with looking at the Noahide laws, revolutions, and protests of unfair laws. Good discussions for dinner time or family meetings.
This WordPress prompt about breaking a law, lead to a discussion of when people broke laws. You might find reading some of the blog posts interesting to think about.
Tip five: Expose yourself and your children to other faiths including atheism. All organized religions promote the Golden rule. Point that out, but also point out that it means for some applying that rule only their family, their country, or their religion. Even those religions approving child sacrifice were doing so in the hope that of earning special favor. Expose and discuss the good and bad of each.
Tip six: If you are observant in one or another religion, fight its bad theology. If you are an atheist, do not reject the good religion offers.If you are observant in a particular religion, root out bad theology. Example: The idea that a loving Creator says to kill those of other faiths or to force conversion.
Tip seven: More may be needed. All of this is much easier said than done. So do the best you can and make sure you have lots of support.When you have tried the above and it has not worked, more is needed. The more might be more study on your part, more support, or in some situations therapy for you or a child you love.
Following my Emotional Fitness Training blog provides support and provides information about human development, mental distress and illness, counseling, and therapy.
All the handouts and poster coaches for used in a blog post are being posted at the store so you can download them for free .
As I am a Jill of All and have family life, some things take longer than others to get posted. If a poster isn’t up yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- Atheism (en.wikipedia.org)
- Winning the Gotcha Wars (wikihow.com)
- Age and Stage Information (healthychild.org)
- When Good Kids Do Bad Things (amazon.org)
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.