Friday, January 18, 2013

My opinions on a tough subject

     The other day I saw a link on Facebook that lead to a CNN iReport where a blogger explains Why they raise their children without God.  I was intrigued by this since I am the complete opposite type of parent and I wanted to know why this person made the choices they did.  So, I clicked on the link and what I read truly, truly broke my heart.  Not only was my heart breaking for the children I don't know, but it also broke because this way of life is more and more prevalent and goes against everything that I believe.  I want everyone to know and have a personal relationship with the Lord. I want all people to know that there is comfort and joy and peace that comes from knowing that there is someone there who loves and cares for you even when you feel alone. ( Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the Lord  and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.)

     I am definitely not a person who knows the bible cover to cover and I am certainly not a perfect Christian.  I am a sinner and I fall short EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  But I know that there is a Savior there who will come and help me up, dust me off and love me anyways.  His unconditional love for me makes me strive harder all of the time to be the best person I can be.  It makes me want to love others the way He loves me.  I know that I will not always do it right, because I am human and I am flawed, but giving up is not an option.  Regardless, I really wanted to just touch on some of the points this person made and why I feel the complete opposite.   

God is a bad parent and role model.
     If God is our father, then he is not a good parent. Good parents don’t allow their children to inflict harm on others. Good people don’t stand by and watch horrible acts committed against innocent men, women and children. They don’t condone violence and abuse. “He has given us free will,” you say? Our children have free will, but we still step in and guide them.

**While I think I understand the point of view the writer is coming from, I see it in a very different light.  I agree that as parents we are to step in and guide our children in the right direction.  We are to teach them the proper ways to love and respect others and it is our job to instill good morals and have good ground rules for them.  However, those children grow up and they get a mind of their own.  They will make decisions based on their lives, their upbringing, the mental capacity and so on.  Even a human parent can't stop their adult child from making every bad decision.  They have free will just as their parents do and not much can be controlled after a certain age.  We have to let them out into the world and hope that we did a good job at raising them.  I find this to be equally true with God.  He has set the guidelines.  He has put rules and guidelines in place for us.  He tells us what to expect, how to love one another, how to have a relationship with him and much more.  But, it is up to us to follow those rules and accept the gift of salvation that He is offering.  He is not a genie in the sky who is going to swoop in and over-rule free will.  If He did, there would be no use for free will in the first place. The guidance we need is all right there before us.  It is plainly written so that we can understand it.  We just need to follow and trust that what He says is true.  

God is not logical.
     How many times have you heard, “Why did God allow this to happen?” And this: “It’s not for us to understand.” Translate: We don’t understand, so we will not think about it or deal with the issue. Take for example the senseless tragedy in Newtown. Rather than address the problem of guns in America, we defer responsibility to God. He had a reason. He wanted more angels. Only he knows why. We write poems saying that we told God to leave our schools. Now he’s making us pay the price. If there is a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves his children, does it make sense that he would allow murders, child abuse, wars, brutal beatings, torture and millions of heinous acts to be committed throughout the history of mankind? Doesn’t this go against everything Christ taught us in the New Testament?
The question we should be asking is this: “Why did we allow this to happen?” How can we fix this? No imaginary person is going to give us the answers or tell us why. Only we have the ability to be logical and to problem solve, and we should not abdicate these responsibilities to “God” just because a topic is tough or uncomfortable to address

**I personally don't think that God is saying that things happen and it is not for us to understand.  I just think that we have a limited capability to understand and we can't always see the bigger picture.  And quite frankly, I think that Satan will use any amount of evil that he can to draw people away from God.  He doesn't want people to trust in God.  He doesn't want people to earn salvation and he uses devastation, loss, hate, and any horrible thing he can to make people question God and question His truth.  The sinful nature of humans causes people to do horrible things to each other.  I wish none of these things ever happened and that things all went wonderfully and smoothly all of the time.  But honestly, if things were always smooth, easy and simple when would we ever need to lean on God?  When would we ever have the opportunity to feel His wonderful, comforting arms around us?  It's easy to say you trust God when things are easy and going according to your "plans".  Walking the walk and showing the world your true faith is a real testament in the midst of adversity and trials.  I wish we didn't have trials and suffering.  I wish we were all living in that perfect Garden like God had originally planned, but sadly, human sin(and Satan) ruined it for us.  Thankfully, we have a loving father who sent his son in the flesh to pay the price for our sins and salvation guarantees a wonderful, perfect eternity for those who choose Him

God is not fair.
     If God is fair, then why does he answer the silly prayers of some while allowing other, serious requests, to go unanswered? I have known people who pray that they can find money to buy new furniture. (Answered.) I have known people who pray to God to help them win a soccer match. (Answered.) Why are the prayers of parents with dying children not answered?

     If God is fair, then why are some babies born with heart defects, autism, missing limbs or conjoined to another baby? Clearly, all men are not created equally. Why is a good man beaten senseless on the street while an evil man finds great wealth taking advantage of others? This is not fair. A game maker who allows luck to rule mankind’s existence has not created a fair game.

**I find this part of the article very confusing to be honest.  It seems like the writer is implying that they don't believe in a God, yet they feel that there is a God who is only answering silly prayers and not the ones that are important.  Nevertheless, God will never allow a prayer to go unanswered.  He will always answer.  The answer will either be yes, no or wait.  We don't always get the answer we want because we don't always understand(again going back to our limited capabilities) what God is doing behind the scenes.  Sometimes, the answer "wait" is the hardest one of all.  We live in a microwave society.  We think that if we say a prayer that we will somehow get this instant response and immediately know what to do.  Well, sometimes the answer will be yes, but it could be years down the road.  If we look at the story of Abraham, we will see that he was a righteous and faithful servant.  He trusted God and he prayed for a son.  He had to wait over 85 years to get his "yes".  Unfortunately, he and his wife Sarah, decided to try and get that "yes" quicker and used a surrogate.  That did not end well and there are long lasting consequences for not allowing that "yes" to be in God's time.  
Secondly, God is not fair.  God is a just God.  He doesn't do what we may think of as fair.  He has a set of standards and we are expected to live by them.  Just as a loving father or respected judge would be, God does the right thing.  He doesn't do what makes us feel good or gives us the warm fuzzies.  Those who manipulate, steal and use others for financial or some other kind of gain will have to answer to God for those choices one day.  I don't want to be that person when their day of judgment comes.  I am caring for a special needs niece and we have been for many years.  I look at her and I don't understand why she has to have special needs.  It doesn't seem "fair".  Quite frankly, it isn't fair.  But, we live in a fallen world. Also, a cousin of mine is struggling with infertility while we watch others who don't seem to deserve children or need children conceive.  It is hard and we just don't get it.  But, she once told me that infertility is just one card in the hand that she was dealt.  She had spent so much time focusing on that one card that she forgot to be thankful for all of the other wonderful cards she held.  That has stuck with me for a long time.  Humans are selfish and many times are very comfortable parked in a puddle of self pity.  We need to look beyond the bad, the unfair and the ugly.  We should be focusing on the wonderful things in our lives.  The blessings can't be forgotten.  Life isn't always fair but our short existence here in this unfair life yields so many amazing opportunities and experiences.  It can also lead to a wonderful relationship with our Creator that will one day get us to the only perfect place.....Heaven.

God does not protect the innocent.
     He does not keep our children safe. As a society, we stand up and speak for those who cannot. We protect our little ones as much as possible. When a child is kidnapped, we work together to find the child. We do not tolerate abuse and neglect. Why can’t God, with all his powers of omnipotence, protect the innocent?

**There are so many things that I could say about this section.  As a society, we are the biggest danger to those who cannot speak.  We are killing innocent unborn children by the minute, and mostly for the selfish reasons of that mother who is using her God-given free will.  We may work as a community to search for a lost toddler or we may step in when we see neglect or abuse, but too many people sit by silently while millions of babies are being senselessly murdered every year.  If God stepped in and protected the innocent every time then there would be many unhappy women who had their free will interfered with when they went to dispose of their children.   Sure, we can tell ourselves that we are protecting women by giving abortion as a safe option when there are medical issues or they have been raped or were a victim of incest, but studies have shown that only about 1% of abortions are due to these reasons(Study Link Here).  I think that before we ask God why He isn't protecting the innocent, we should be looking at ourselves and wondering how we got so far off course.  When did human life become so disposable?

God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good
     A child should make moral choices for the right reasons. Telling him that he must behave because God is watching means that his morality will be externally focused rather than internally structured. It’s like telling a child to behave or Santa won’t bring presents. When we take God out of the picture, we place responsibility of doing the right thing onto the shoulders of our children. No, they won’t go to heaven or rule their own planets when they die, but they can sleep better at night. They will make their family proud. They will feel better about who they are. They will be decent people.

**For our family, we do not tell our children to behave because God is watching them.  We do not threaten them with eternal damnation for sins committed and we do not bribe them with the idea of heaven or owning planets.  We are very clear of the standards that are expected of them.  We want them to love and respect everyone regardless of our differences, because Jesus loved everyone and we want to be in His likeness.  We want them to be good stewards of their time and their treasures.  We want them to volunteer, show the love of Jesus and be able to make a difference in this world.  They know that they are responsible for their lives and with the help of a loving heavenly father we can get through anything.  I am not sure what the right reasons are for good moral choices, but as long as I see others with good morals(no matter how they obtained them) I think that they deserve praise and they deserve to feel good about themselves.

God Teaches Narcissism
     “God has a plan for you.” Telling kids there is a big guy in the sky who has a special path for them makes children narcissistic; it makes them think the world is at their disposal and that, no matter what happens, it doesn’t really matter because God is in control. That gives kids a sense of false security and creates selfishness. “No matter what I do, God loves me and forgives me. He knows my purpose. I am special.” The irony is that, while we tell this story to our kids, other children are abused and murdered, starved and neglected. All part of God’s plan, right?

    When we raise kids without God, we tell them the truth—we are no more special than the next creature. We are just a very, very small part of a big, big machine–whether that machine is nature or society–the influence we have is minuscule. The realization of our insignificance gives us a true sense of humbleness.

**I actually find this to be the other way around.  I think that when we raise children to think that they have the ability to figure everything out and that there is nothing out there with the ability to see the big picture, we are giving them a false sense of importance.  We are human.  We make mistakes and we aren't always able to see around the corner.  Everyone has heard the saying "hindsight is 20/20".  Well, that came about because humans aren't able to do it right all of the time.  We don't always have the answer or the foresight to see what may result from our selfish decisions.  God can always see what our decisions will bring us.  If we trust in Him and follow Him he will NEVER steer us wrong.  We just need to trust Him, be patient, and listen for the answers He is trying to give us.  Abuse, murder, neglect, torture....none of these things are God's plan.  That is the horrible result of a simple human's bad decision.  It is the result of a decision not made prayerfully.  
I do not need to raise my children without a relationship with God to make sure they understand we are just a speck in this big world.  Everyone should be aware of the fact that their lives are tiny in the grand scheme of things.  However, we have the power to influence many and we should be taking this ability very seriously.

I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

This is the paragraph that really stuck with me long after I finished reading this article.  The fact that atheists want believers to tuck their beliefs away in a little box and only pull it out in the privacy of their own homes is sad.  While I hear many atheists say they are fine with other religions and they are open to letting their children make their own choices, I don't know if that is completely true.  How can they really make a choice when you want to live in a world completely free of religion?  How can they make a choice when speaking of one's religion is taboo?  We made the choice to send our children to a Christian school so they could get the education we think they deserve, yet those who believe only in science get to sit in a "free" public school and allow the taxpayers to pay for the education of their choice.  How is there freedom in that?  How is there diversity in a setting that is catering only to freedom FROM religion?  We pay the taxes for children to go to a school where religion is not allowed and then pay private tuition to pay for an education of our choosing.  If atheists/agnostics/etc want to have a school where they are free from religion then they should be willing to pay for that education because that is a personal choice and the taxpayers should not have to fund those personal educational preferences.
I hope that I said everything clearly and I portrayed my feelings well on this subject.  I can only pray that hardened hearts may be softened and that maybe I can be a light on a sensitive subject.  I have had the opportunity to learn about so many different types of people and it has been amazing to see the differences and the way that people's minds work.  I hope that one day I get the opportunity to see everyone in heaven with me because they all have a relationship with God.  After all, it is all about the relationship and not about any one "religion".

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