Open Thread: Raising Your Children?

Open Thread: Raising Your Children? December 3, 2014
Just like this cake looks delicious but will turn you into a bear, these rules will not necessarily grow the kind of fruit the original author alleges.

Last night I encountered this list of how not to raise ‘Godly’ children on Facebook. It was actually on the wall of someone I know from a very mainstream church where that church does not teach this restrictive list or anything even remotely close to it, but she firmly believes it. She’s involved with the local homeschool group in my area, which is run by a woman that should be in jail right now for parenting failures of an extreme magnitude that originated with the type of thinking  this list is opposed to.After several fruitless hours trying to explain to the original poster how toxic this type of thinking is, the potential for child abuse, educational failure and future psychological problems, pointing her to Homeschoolers Anonymous stories of how this just doesn’t work and pointing out how controlling these rules are I gave up, and decided this would make a great Open Thread discussion for NLQ. Perhaps we could pull together enough rebuttals of this to create a page with reasons knocking all these extreme Evangelical Fundamentalist Quiverfull-esque Christian myths.

A good list to avoid doing!

Top 10 List: How to Help Your Child Permanently Leave the Church

Between 75% and 94% of children from Christian homes are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school. 99.5% of young adults between the age of 18 and 23 do not have a biblical worldview. What are the top ways that parents can keep this trend going?
We admit this is a rather negative and cynical list, and in some cases extreme. But believe it or not, this is the way that some children from church-going families are being raised.
The good news is that Jesus showed us how to do the very opposite of this top ten list!

10. Don’t develop a relationship with your children. Spend very little time with them. Take jobs that require travel and start hobbies and activities that allow you to take a break from your family. When you are with your children, stay busy with watching television, social networking… anything that keeps you from interacting with them. Don’t listen to your children or talk with them. Let your children solve their bothersome issues with their peers. Or half-listen to your children while you are doing other things. Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.

9. Send your children to be taught and trained by unbelievers. Don’t bother to correct errors that are being taught to your children. Assume that the trained professionals will teach safe, non-threatening curriculum that is required by the school system.

8. Make sure your child is taught relativism, macro evolution and unbiblical lifestyles as normal. After all, children need to make their own choices. It is normal to believe that we are all here by random chance. What did God have to do with that? Don’t be concerned with any promotion of promiscuous (safe) sex between members of the same sex or opposite sex.

7. Don’t teach your children scripture and biblical principles. Don’t worry about obeying scripture to teach to your children the Bible. Allow clergy to do the job once or twice per week. After all, you are not a trained expert. Let the experts do their job! Just be sure your children make a profession of faith.

6. Immerse your children in popular television, movies, social networking and music. Don’t limit or monitor what your children engage in. Make sure they have their own television, cell phone, computer and boom box. Occult? No problem. Alternative lifestyles? Whatever. Take your children to see all the popular movies and make sure you listen to all the popular music. Get all the cable channels and let them watch it as much as possible!

5. Normalize promiscuous sex and violence with your children. Buy your son popular video games that include sex and violence. Allow your son to kill as many bad guys as he wants to, and what’s the harm with a little fantasy sex? Encourage your daughter to watch television and movies with lots of teen romance and sex. Buy her romance novels. Children need to have fun and take out their frustrations with media; after all it’s only “pretend.”

4. Allow your children to go alone wherever they want and with whomever they want. Don’t keep your children under your protection and don’t monitor what they are doing. Make sure your children are with unbelievers all day long so they can be “salt and light.” Forget about the fact that Jesus was always with His adult disciples when they were “salt and light.” The fact that He sent them out in twos with other Christian adults for protection is irrelevant. Your children should be able to choose their own friends; they will be a positive influence.

3. Make sure your children go off to the best secular college and sow their wild oats. You want to make sure your children can make lots of money so don’t worry about what your teens are being taught. Co-ed dorms are acceptable; your teens need to sow their wild oats. Just make sure no one gets pregnant, and make sure they keep their grades up.

2. Rather than involving your family in a ministry, be a spectator at church. Drop your children off at all the entertaining programs. Don’t worry about ministering to others in need; that’s the job of the pastors and ministers.

1. Don’t enthusiastically discuss the Lord with your family. Also don’t pray with and for your children. When you talk with your children, teach them about things that almost everyone is really interested in; sports, television, movie stars, athletes, movies, secular music, buying new things, and having fun. Help your children to see that thinking about God is for Sunday mornings; the rest of the week is for doing what really matters.
In doing the above, you will have ensured that your children have been fully discipled by the world (80 to 100 hours per week), and the minimal time that they have spent at church (1 to 5 hours per week) will make little difference. As statistics show, they will likely join the crowd of those permanently departing the church.

So much so wrong!

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  • Nea

    Forcing your kids into gender- and church- mandated roles and emotions instead of attending to their individual needs and wants doesn’t count as “listening.” Beating them for normal childhood behavior isn’t “interaction.” Giving them orders for instant obedience isn’t “talking” to them. And expecting their older siblings to put in the work of raising them isn’t having a “relationship” with them.

    And that’s just the first bullet point.

    Lying to them about evolution, sex, and other people’s lifestyles is only going to make them wonder if your precious belief system is also a lie when they find out not just reality but that your beliefs made you lie.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    As I’ve said before, my dad taught math and science – he’s a rational guy, and knows that there is ever increasing scientific provable evidence that the Earth is not young but very VERY very old, along with so much more data based on science like evolution of not just animals and plants but human beings. My parents are why I believe that it’s quite possible to be Christian and believe what science continues to prove. But no one is perfect, not even parents regardless of whatever approach to raising their kids they take. Just because you keep your kids sheltered and control every move they make with a lot of “churching” thrown in does not mean that they will stay with the church or never find some way to escape your clutches so they can go out and find some trouble to get into. The more you keep from them and the things that you make sure that they will never learn about from you, the more likely it is that when they do learn of these things (and a great many of them will learn about these forbidden or secret topics that you’ve gone to great lengths to hide – come hell or high water) they will lose their trust in you and your cherished close relationship (that’s really only close because you’ve got them dragging you around like the proverbial ball and chain) will become something they feel they have to put as much real physical distance between by running far and fast from all things that are connected to you.

    But hey, if a parent thinks that they are magically different and they couldn’t possibly have that happen to them with their perfect selves and perfect parenting of perfect children who will become perfect adults with fabulously perfect lives….not only do I feel sorry for them but I also know that they’re lying – especially to themselves.

  • STH

    It seems like the root fallacy here is that children are made of clay and you can choose to mold them into whatever you want them to be. If they aren’t taught that there are other belief systems, they’ll never question what you teach them. If they aren’t taught about “alternative lifestyles,” they’ll never grow up to be gay. The problem is that no matter what you do, you can’t control every single person, every note of music, every minute of TV that they’re exposed to. And even if you could, children aren’t that malleable–they have their own personalities from day one and can’t be shaped in this way. When you raise children, your personality and perspectives interact with theirs and you shape each other; it’s not like putting data into a computer and getting the predicted output out. It’s much more complex than that.

  • Saraquill

    Perhaps if the list writer’s church treated its young members as people instead of potential bragging rights, operated a soup kitchen, or did more tangible services in the community beyond “convert or else.”

  • Mel

    First, it takes an extremely talented writer to write an entirely reversed document well. I can’t do it. Neither can the author of this piece. I kept getting lost – and I have lots of documentation of being absurdly literate.

    Second, raising children is too complicated to give promises. Anyone who does is offering you snake oil. Bluntly, I have no skin in the game in this one yet – I’m childless. But (as one of those educational professionals maligned in the post) I’ve realized that children make choices about their lives. Teenagers certainly do and young adults are fully active in their own lives. That realization that is a bit terrifying, really, but also deeply freeing.

    Lastly, if macro-evoution is enough to shatter a young adult’s faith, the parents/clegy have been horriflyingly remiss in passing on both religious educations and secular subject knowledge. Seriously. The vast majority of Catholic, Orthodox and many established Protestant religions have managed to integrate evolution into theology without crumpling into a wailing mass. Get with the program.

  • Trollface McGee

    And one day… your kids will be grown, they’ll realise they haven’t had a good education, they’ll start reading, meeting people, realising they’ve been lied to… that’s going to keep them in the church, eh?

  • Rachel

    According to this, my parents did everything right, but guess what? I
    and my two siblings still ended up leaving the church! Let’s
    deconstruct this list, shall we?

    10. My mom worked part time as
    an ICU nurse. She would only work one overnight shift a week so that
    she could spend all of our waking hours with us. My dad worked full
    time, but we always ate dinner together and we never watched TV. I have
    fond memories of my mom reading aloud to us and my dad playing
    “monster” and pretending to chase us through the house. Then we’d turn
    it around and chase him back! In a nutshell, we were a very close-knit
    family and my parents dedicated as much time to us as they could.

    My mom homeschooled us for all but three years, and those three were
    spent attending a small Christian school (a ministry of the church we
    attended). We had Bible class, and all of our other subjects were
    through a Christian lens, even math and science!

    8. We were
    taught Creationism (even visited the Creation Science museum twice) and
    read through several Answers in Genesis publications as a family. At 14
    my sister and I attended a Purity Ball with our father.

    7. Bible study and prayer every night before bed.

    We barely watched TV, my mom approved our book selections, only
    listened to Christian music, and computer activities were monitored.

    See above. My family was pretty strict about sex (I didn’t even know
    what homosexuality was until I was about 15), violence, and swearing.

    We only hung out with fellow Christian homeschoolers or at least peers
    from our church, and our parents always wanted to know where we were at
    all times.

    3. The seeds for my break from Christianity were sewn
    long before I started college. By the time I graduated high school, I
    was already so scarred by my experiences with a lifetime of Christian
    education that I refused to go to Bible college. I opted instead to go
    to a local community college for my first two years. I lived with my
    parents and my choice was saving us thousands of dollars, so they really
    couldn’t complain. It did break my mom’s heart though that I wouldn’t
    even consider a Christian college.

    2. We were actively encouraged to participate, especially in the music ministry.

    1. Nightly Bible study with the family, theological discussions, and frequent Bible verse memorization challenges.

    result? All three of us are Atheists or at least Agnostic, my sister
    and I are both lesbians (horror of horrors), and our brother struggles
    with substance abuse. Great track record from a fundamentalist
    standpoint, no?

  • Antoinette Herrera

    For a moment, I thought this was Betty Bowers. Only, America’s Best Christian is actually funny. This is just…blergh.

  • Astrin Ymris

    The actual research shows that she’s pretty much 100% wrong.

    “…At the same time that the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown, the
    Landscape Survey also revealed that the unaffiliated have one of the
    lowest retention rates of any of the major religious groups, with most
    people who were raised unaffiliated now belonging to one religion or

    In other words, if you want your kids to be fundgelical as adults you SHOULD do everything on this list, while supporting active lovebombing programs in college towns.

  • Melody

    And they will question things sooner or later, because so much of the rethoric or examples are based on lies. What stood out for me was also this totally ridiculous and extreme fear of the occult which was a big part of my childhood, and now I’ve just started my first Harry Potter fan fic 🙂

    There has been this satiric article about J.K. Rowling being a satanist which ended up being believed for real in my circles so when I saw my first glimpse of a harry potter movie I was a bit worried only to realize it was just fun for kids and not horribly dark and occult etc. Rowling herself identifies as christian but that bit was always conveniently unmentioned when her books were pretty severly condemmed.

  • True, about the unaffiliated. It is likely that a young adult will leave church a while, testing which things they learned growing up are needed, and which are not.
    But many who leave church return. If not to their parents’ church, they go to another church again. And leaving the institutionalized church is not the same as leaving God, anyway.
    And those who do actually leave, with a plan to never return, are most likely not just bored with church/ not understanding it/ not used to it. They probably saw a lot of what their parents call church – and seen something they hate about it. More church could not have solved that.

  • There are a few ideas in the above piece that is quite good advice, actually. But certainly not all of it. One thing which others will find minor seems to be at the heart of the problem with their approach: “Jesus was always with His adult disciples when they were “salt and light.” ” – claimed by this writer.

    Firstly, Jesus probably had mostly teenage disciples – not adults. The standard practice for rabbis were to have teenage disciples, so unless stated otherwise, we should start with that assumption. (We have good reason to believe Peter was not that young.)

    Also, Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs, without him, while he was alive. (Jesus had many more than 12 disciples – Luke 10:1 – and those disciples certainly included females – Luke 8:2-3.) He also prepared them for a time he would not be with them, in person.

    Why is that important? While the whole idea of this list is to protect children and keep them completely away from other ideas, Jesus was willing to take young people who have been exposed to other ideas, teach them, and then leave and send them back into a world that don’t have the same ideas they have.

    The list makers: “Young people cannot distinguish between good and bad if they know both. Keep your children away from other ideas. Teach them only one thing, so they will know nothing else, and follow nothing else.”

    Jesus: “My young people can distinguish between good and bad if they know both. I went to to young people who know many ideas and many ways, and showed them Christ-like ways. They saw, in their hearts, how My Way is better.* Then they chose, among all the ways they know, to follow Me, and teach My Way to others.”

    To use the words of Peter Enns, God is not a helicopter parent. And if we disciple children the way Jesus did, we probably won’t be either.


    * Note: If I assert that the way of Jesus is better, I am not pitching unbelievers against those who profess Christ. Christ certainly do not approve of all things those who claim to follow Him do. (Mat. 7:21, for example) And unbelievers also do things, sometimes, which is in accordance with what Jesus taught and lived.

  • Astrin Ymris

    True that! For some reason, True Christians™ don’t connect the dots between their belief in forcible indoctrination of their youth and the known fact that adults from “Christianity naive” parts of the world are a lot more amenable to conversion than countries with centuries of Christian domination in their pasts.

  • BlueVibe

    This is slightly out of context, but my mother once said, “Once they can read, you can’t control what they know.” Which is pretty much right. You don’t get to guarantee your kids will turn out a certain way. Influence, yes; assure, no.

  • Amarad

    I can’t resist a challenge. Keep in mind the central thesis (that these are the things causing kids to leave their parents faith) as we count down the top hits Point By Point with Casey Casum… I mean, NLQ. Let’s do this!

    10 – This is three different things cramed into one big assumption. Making it sloppy strawman right off the bat. This is going to be bad isn’t it?

    10.1 – Hobbies or interests outside of your kids are bad.

    **Refute: Having hobbies or interests beyond a creepy cult-like devotion to your children is healthy. It offers opportunities for you *and* your kids to have fun together or apart, to interact with other people and socialize.

    Your kids will eventually be grown. What are you going to do then? What does your life consist of when the kids are gone?

    10.2 – Taking a break is bad.

    **Refute: Taking a break is healthy. Raising kids is hard work. No one is superhuman, no one should have to pretend to be a superhuman or not ask for help when they need it. It is this cult-like attitude that prevents many a parent (IMO) from reaching out or admitting when they’re overwhelmed.

    10.3 – A job or career that requires you to travel occasionally are bad. Traveling is bad.

    **Refute: Sometimes your chosen career path doesn’t give you much choice about travel. Food has to get on the table, rent has to be paid, someone has to do those jobs. Shall we expect those people to never fall in love and have kids?

    Traveling with kids, when they’re old enough, can be a great chance for kids to see more of the world then their immediate home of residence.

    10.4 – Any one of these things *directly cause* parents to neglect and ignore their children.

    **Refute: Having hobbies or interests does not mean neglect or ignore them. There is no evidence presented that shows correlation or causation tying 10.1-10.3 to 10.4.

    9 – This is just a “public schools are trying to corrupt are kids!” Strawman.

    No one is depriving you of your right to teach your children what you, personally, believe. I’m free to criticize them and point out the problems, especially when you
    publish them out in the world/internet. But you can still teach your own kids according to your beliefs, regardless of how I may disagree about them.

    However not everyone shares your particular flavor of Christianity or religion, which is why you cannot push your agenda in the schools. Think of it as neutral ground where religions have to stop outside the classroom. However neutral ground doesn’t mean it’s *actively against you*. You are not being persecuted for
    being asked to respect the myriad variety of religions when on neutral ground.

    You can still push your beliefs at home. Just. Not. At. School.

    8 – This is just an extension of point 9 and just as much of a strawman. The implication is that in not being able to push your beliefs on everyone, everywhere, 24/7, is leading to kids becoming unchristian.

    Again. You can’t preach it *in the schools*, and you can’t suppress real science or history based on your religion. Not. Everyone. Agrees with you. Even inside of
    Protestant Christianity. Nor can you erase the other kids in the school who may or may not have been raised in a different worldview.

    7 – AGAIN. See point 8 and 9. NO ONE is stopping you from teaching *your* kids according to your beliefs. Regardless of how I may disagree.

    6 – More so then Item 10, this is a confusing list of things and implied moral judgment. I’m going to break it down as best I can.

    **Big refute: Making sure your kid doesn’t access material that’s not age-appropriate is part of being a responsible parent, regardless of your faith.

    6.1 – Access to television, movies, social networks, cable and music is bad, particularly when it constitutes ‘immersion’.

    **Refute: Besides the Big Refute. The subtle implication is that ‘Unchristian’ families (and children that become unchristian) allow too much access to any of the above. Immersion is not defined, so I have no idea what is thought to be ‘too much’ in the author’s opinion, so no means to refute this.

    6.2 – A child having their own TV/Cellphone/computer/radio is bad.

    **Refute: On top of my big refute, this one also implies a negative judgment toward parents who can afford/do provide any of these items. That in having the money (through hard work or smart savings) the parents themselves are too worldly or part of the perceived problem. And that these objects are somehow inherently evil.

    A little kid probably doesn’t need any of these (the inclusion of boomboxes shows the age of this list or the author). But as they grow older, having an old computer for them to do homework on? That’s a huge advantage to them in learning.

    Having their own cell phone is often both useful for the parent (gives them the means to contact their child anywhere OR for the kid to contact them in an emergency) and an early opportunity for them to learn responsibility.

    6.3 – Assumption. Interest in popular music, movies or any of the above is bad and will lead them to become unchristian.

    **Refute: This is where the strawman nature becomes evident. It goes back to earlier points, that the idea of the world ‘outside’, the ‘other’, is inherently evil and out to get the reader. Teaching your kids how to use, interact and consume mass-media in a responsible manner has nothing to do with faith. It’s being a good parent.

    6.4 – Assumption 2. Your child viewing popular movies and music, or having access to any of the above, may lead to the Occult or “Alternative lifestyles”.

    **Refute: Right smack in the middle of a discussion about mass-media consumption, the Occult pops up. All I can ask is… Huh? Did I enter a Chick Track all of a sudden?

    Throwing in ‘occult’ without definition is serves only as a scare tactic, especially since we know nothing of the original author. The inclusion is incredibly suspicious, given that certain evangelicals define it as loosely as ‘anything they don’t like’ and often lists of “the Occult” include all non-christian religions + Mormons and Catholics.

    This is where the ‘secular-world-as-evil’ paranoia is at it’s most explicit. Again, no
    evidence, no correlation or causation presented. It also implies ‘Alternative Lifestyles’ (which I’m guessing to mean ‘glbt’) are on the same moral judgment level as ‘the occult’. Even though many christian denominations disagree about alternative lifestyles being “sinful”. Which we will come back to in my wrap-up.

    5 – This is just a further extension of the mish-mash of #6. A strawman argument with paranoia, and the judgment that unchristian folk let their kids consume all the mass-media they want.

    This isn’t about the pros and cons of age appropriate material. This is about all video games promoting violence, romance novels promoting ‘promiscuous sex’. Without providing any evidence of causation or even correlation between any of these OR tying them into central thesis that these are the causes of leaving their parents faith.

    However it does bring up one interesting point. “Children need to have fun.” Yes, yes they do. See # 10

    4 – Oh dear sweet flying spaghetti monster. There’s a lot of fear mongering here. Where do I even start?

    4.1 – “Allow your children to go alone wherever they want and with whomever they want.”

    ***Refute: It’s just good parenting to know where your kids are and who their friends are. Get to know them and their parents! Become friends with them. Yes, this does mean making friends with people who don’t agree with you on everything in the world. But you can (in theory) also show your kid through example how to interact with people not of your specific churchfaith.

    Letting them make their own friends without hovering does not mean you’re ignoring them. And ultimately, kids need to learn how to socialize on their own, recognize the good and bad, probably make a mistake or two.

    4.2 – “Don’t keep your children under your protection and don’t monitor what they are doing.”

    **Refute: There’s a middle ground between ‘keep the kids locked in the basement and never let them see other people’ and ‘ignore them’ that gets lost in these hay-bales of strawman.

    4.3 – The big assumption: The only reason you (Erring Christian Parent!) might let your kids around non-believers is so your kids can witness to them.

    **Refute: There’s the explicit judgment here that if YOU, christian parent, allow your kids around non-believers or have non-believer friends, you are risking their immortal souls. This plays into the outside-as-evil paranoia again.
    If you are not isolating your kid 24/7 from outside influences, they
    will leave the faith.

    That’s not healthy. They need to learn how to interact with people who *don’t agree* with them. If your faith and beliefs are so fragile, so delicate, that going outside to play kickball with the other neighborhood kids is going to bring it
    crashing down… maybe the arguments you’re presenting aren’t that good?

    3 – My red pen has long since gone dry. Trying to maintain coherency.

    3.1 – Secular college’s are all bad, the only reason to go to them is lots of sex.

    ***Refute: ‘Secular’ college (aka properly accredited colleges), like public schools, are places of learning. Besides a higher education that may give them a career down the road, to expand their knowledge on a subject that interests them. They also provide a chance for kids to get out on their own a little bit (dip a toe into adulthood) in a more controlled manner.

    They’re also going to encounter people of other races, world views, cultures and religions. See all my prior points about the need for kids to know how to interact and socialize.

    3.2 – Having the money to afford secular college is bad.

    ***Refute: Through this entire list,there’s also been a thread of implied hatred/explicit jealousy toward families who aren’t dog-food-eating-poor, who have *any* kind of money or who have saved to give their kids anything. Did Debi Perl write this? Nancy Campbell?

    3.4 – Co-ed Dorms are bad, the only reason anyone goes to a co-ed dorm is lots of sex.

    ***Refute: Co-ed dorms just mean men and women are in the same building together. They do not share rooms together. Is that not OK? Do I need to go to a separate grocery store from men?

    Co-ed dorms exist because the secular world has been (very slowly) getting away from the idea that every man is a rampaging beast with no control over his trouser snake. That men and women can be friends and interact with each other on a daily basis as equals.

    2 – This is just point 7 again, with different phrasing.

    1 – This is just point 7 and 2, but with the anti-mass media of 6 and 5 added in too! AND with a jab at families who aren’t dog-chow level of poor. WE HAVE ACHIEVED COMBO BREAKER!

    7, 2 and 1 are all not-so-subtle jab at parents who aren’t (in the opinion of the writer) being sufficiently obvious with their faith. Emphasis on “obvious”. This is
    holier then tho judgment of the worst sort, the “Keeping Up with The Jonneses” of church involvement. Mandatory 5 prayers a day at the town square or street corner, chop chop!

    Ignoring of course, that real life happens. If both parents have to work, especially if one or the other has to work more then 40+ hours a week or hold down multiple jobs to make ends meet, then they don’t have time to get involved in lots of church activities/programs. Food has to get to the table, rent has to be paid.

    But in the judgment of the author, if you are spending ‘too much time’ on ensuring the ‘material’ needs of you and your family, you are part of the problem.

    Further confusing these three points is the subtle implication here that the *adults* have already left the faith in the opinion of the author. There’s no evidence presented that “christian parents” (talk about a broad group!) aren’t involved in their kids beliefs, that they only discuss it on Sundays, that they *aren’t* praying or discussing their god with enthusiasm. Nor is any any correlation/causation toward the central thesis presented.

    Children of some of the most extreme of extreme faithful (Nathan and Fred Phelps jr, of the Westboro Baptist clan, for example) have left their faith, despite having been wrapped up in it 24/7. And before the author tries to say that the Phelps aren’t Christian, I would like to refer the author to the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    *****OK, wrap up!*****

    Really this entire thing comes down to ‘exposing your child to the outside world’ is going to lead to them becoming unchristian. It’s bald-face paranoia that the outside world is responsible for any given hypothetical child leaving their particular flavor of faith. Rather then parents or religious leaders not providing very good arguments or reasoning for their beliefs, or that their particular brand of faith might be hateful, laced with hypocrisy and abuse. It abdicates any responsibility from church leaders or parents for the content they preach.

    It also erases all those children who simply found their own faith when they grew up.

    No evidence is ever presented to show either correlation or causation between any of these points and the original point – kids growing up and leaving the faith.

    Eventually your little darling is going to grow up. They have to learn responsibility, how to talk to their friends, and interact with the rest of the world without mom/dad holding their hand. You literally can’t do it forever, because your kid will likely outlive you. You do eventually have to give them responsibility and trust so they can learn to make those decisions. They may make mistakes, but that’s how you learn.

    Again. No-one is stopping Christian parents from passing their judgments on to their kids. But if your not providing your kids with the backing and reasoning behind your judgments and beliefs, give them the chance to think critically by their own accord about all the information, let them ask questions of you or a expert, then they’re not really learning. If you do not give them the chance for discussion now, eventually someone else is going to force them to question. Be it on a large philosophical point or a small interpretation of scripture.

    Try as you might, you can’t erase the rest of the world, the myriad other people who have different beliefs in small or large departure from yours. Because opinions are like butts. We all have one, all 6.5 billion of us. You cannot keep your child in a isolated bubble forever.

    Which is the only thing this list advocates. To isolate and be afraid. Be very afraid.

    There’s also been a secondary thread of explicit hatred/implicit jealousy toward families who aren’t dog-food-eating-poor. That the author is angry toward the parents in their church who can afford to provide “secular luxuries”. Be it having money for a hobby, to travel, or having a cell phone for their child.

    The author feels those people are unworthy and unchristian for not living in sackcloth and ashes. Or at least pretending to do so for the sake of the True Believer here, who is exceedingly bitter because they don’t have and can’t afford those things. There’s also not so subtle attempts to guilt parents who can afford any of these things (through hard work or smart savings) as being themselves too worldly and part of the perceived problem.

    OK, analysis done. I can’t hold back my sarcasm anymore.

    Whoever wrote this list, writes the way I imagine a thousand drunken monkeys would write thesis papers. Throwing every thought that pops into their head onto paper in a stream of consciousness, breaking it into random paragraphs and numbering it with no evidence provided. I would give a student an I for incomplete and tell them to stop sniffing glue before writing.

  • Mrs. Sunshine

    Great reply. Parents cannot control their children into a relationship with Christ.

  • It’s only way it’s impossible to be a Christian and believe what science is proving is to insist that the only way to read the first few chapters of Genesis is as reported history and science, which frankly is imposing categories on an ancient text that the original readers would not have recognized.

  • katiehippie

    “Between 75% and 94% of children from Christian homes are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school. 99.5% of young adults between the age of 18 and 23 do not have a biblical worldview. ”

    All I can say is WOO HOO!

  • STH

    I’m not very optimistic that it would work, but you could counter this sort of thinking by asking the person what they loved to do when they were small–drawing, baseball, climbing trees, whatever–and asked them who taught them to like that. Chances are they weren’t taught to like it at all; rather it something that they came to on their own. That is, they already had a personality and preferences, even as young children, that determined what they were drawn to and naturally enjoyed. Then ask them what hobbies their parents pushed them toward that they never liked–piano lessons was a big one in my generation. By the logic of the Facebook post, their parents should have been able to push them into liking certain things, but that obviously rarely works (I’ve known many who viewed those piano lessons as torture and vowed never to go near a piano again, while there were a few who took to it naturally and loved it). How many boys were pushed into playing sports because it was the “manly” thing to do and they hated every minute of it? How many girls were trained to be “little ladies”, despised it, and rebelled against it in any way they could (like me)?

    Children can’t be shaped like clay.

  • *dropped-jaw, wordless disbelief of utter and absolute respect*