Putting Away Childish Things

This month, I will be posting a new essay series that is somewhat different from the ones I have written before. Rather than a series of numbered sequels, each one following the previous in a linear fashion, this new series will be more like a branching bush, with different essays all growing out of the same central idea. That idea, as expressed by the title of this post, is “putting away childish things”. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul says the following:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

—1 Corinthians 13:11

I think this is excellent moral advice, though I would employ it in a different context than the one Paul undoubtedly intended. I agree completely that human beings should seek to grow up and become mature, that we should act as adults and put away the childish things of our youth. And those childish things, I would argue, include religion, which is highly childish in the sense that it is strongly focused on wish fulfillment, on perceiving the cosmos as we would like it to be rather than as it is. In this series, there will be one post from each category on the site, each one focusing on one of the “childish things” religion provides us and arguing that it should be replaced with the wiser and more mature alternatives of freethought and humanism. Links to the posts in this series can be found below.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com The Ridger

    Looking forward to it!

  • Philip Thomas

    I also look forward to it.

    A lot of teenagers go through a phase in which they try to be as ‘adult’ as possible, abandoning the toys and pleasures of childhood for more advanced pastimes. Sometimes they sullk when taken to a fair or other thing they once enjoyed but now find beneath them.

    Fortunately, this phase generally passes by the time they are responsible adults, and they take pleasure once again in the childish world of play and fun, perhaps vicariously through their own chlildren.

  • SteveC

    Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
    become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child,
    the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

    Eh, so which is it?

  • Philip Thomas

    I’m sure you can work out a synthesis on your own!

  • http://dominicself.co.uk Dominic Self

    There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes

    Doctor Who

    I heartily agree with this :P

  • Bob Patterson

    Keep me posted on atheists intrests. I belong to the Kansas City
    Community of reason, American Atheists, FFRF and center for Inquiry.
    Thanks,
    Bob

  • Tomas S

    I was in a heavy metal Christian rock band years ago (which never did get around to playing out anywhere). Part of one of our songs went:

    The wisdom of Paul rings – “put away those childish things” – but don’t be to fast to put away everything – ‘cos those childish things can be used another day.

    At the time, I took issue with these words because it sounded like we were contradicting the Bible. It seems that even the Thumpies of Thumpers (the author of those words) saw fit to see things his own way. As I write this, I’m reminded that Jesus said – and the exact wording is not coming to me – that you have to think like a child to become a believer.

    I enjoy the irony of this new column name, but it’s interesting to consider whether the word “childish” has any meaning if some childish things are to be put aside and others (like playfullness) are to be held onto and cherished.

  • Sandra

    @Steve C. Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
    become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child,
    the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

    Eh, so which is it? This might refer to the time when people grow old, they become like children….the 2d childhood, when the child becomes the parent and the parent the child. At that time, an old person can let go a lot of stuff (peace/heaven) in preparation for leaving this plane of existence….physical death. Nothing converts a person like old age and sickness.


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