THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Raising Kids without God
By Adam Davis
A large part of our society continues to put forth elegant and concerted efforts to convince the world that God is simply not necessary. In many respects, the "God is dead" argument has been put on the back burner in lieu of a more subtle argument in favor of "tolerance," where those who believe in God are "tolerated" until they can be enlightened to adopting at least a secular world view.
One popular argument put forth by the secular world is: God is not necessary for human beings to live together in harmony with each other and nature. Countless studies and statistics are put forth showing, for instance, that non-religious households have advantages over those who are religious, from child development to personal happiness and that societies with low religious participation have better outcomes than those who are more religious. The conclusion is then asserted that people are fully capable of developing and living within a moral and ethical framework that maximizes the well-being of all and that God is best left out.
Before examining the nuances of the secular claims and their application, we are well-served to first examine the key issue at the heart of this discussion — that of morality itself.
No person in their right mind would agree that abducting or injuring a child for fun is permissible, or that not warning a person of an imminent danger to their life when it could have easily been done is acceptable. We can therefore establish things are either absolutely right or absolutely wrong at all times. And, if they are right or wrong at all times, then they must have always been right or always been wrong. For instance, we cannot say it was acceptable in the past for the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust. We can fairly say, then, that a moral law exists. There are certain rights and wrongs that are always and universally so.
Moreover, if we maintain the reality of a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver. Not only that, but for a law to be effective it must be adjudicated. There must be a judge and the judge must know all the facts. And, naturally, there must be consequences for not observing the moral law. Therefore, the moral law giver and the judge, by necessity, must be transcendent.
We can therefore conclude that God is the only possible option of a moral law giver and judge. If morality exists, then God must exist. For ethics to be effective, morality must be in effect to undergird it. Thus, while the secular world would like to believe that morality is independent of God and people can invent and live in their own ethical systems, the truth is that without God there is no morality. Without God there can be no absolute right or wrong. Without God, all things are simply a matter of societal preference.
Secular thinkers will proffer studies and research, and draw conclusions such as: "Godless" homes produce children with good morals and ethics who grow up to be "successful." What is in fact occurring (besides correlation and causation being often confused in the research) in these homes is the children are simply being taught the preferences of the parents. But from the child the big question always comes: "Why?" Sooner or later kids want to know and deserve an answer to "why," and the secular answer can only come from the standpoint of the self, since without God there is nothing but the self.
After all, why should we have empathy toward others? From the secular view it can only be for some form of ultimate self-gratification or personal gain and not because every human life has inherent dignity. Why should we not steal? From the secular view it can only be to avoid jail or career stoppages and not because it is wrong to take from another. Why should we not kill? From the secular view it can only be to avoid the punishment associated with taking a life, not because the taking of a life is wrong in itself.
The howls of objection come far and wide from the secular camp. They claim to love and care about their fellow man. They claim man can create a higher standard and live by it. Despite all evidence to the contrary they claim these ideals. But the question they can never answer is that which lies at the root of human existence: "Why?" To this, the Christian has a coherent and relevant answer. The secularist can only offer circular reasoning that lands squarely back on the selfish desires and preferences of any given person. The harder the secularist throws the moral boomerang, the harder it keeps coming back to them.
So, are children better off in homes with no belief in God? The answer lies in one's response to the following: are children better off in homes that do not believe in true objective morality and the source of it? Are they better off being raised to treat others well simply because it makes the most practical sense for themselves? Are they better off being raised to know nothing of transcendent purpose and meaning in life? Those who grow up in Godless homes and go on to lead "normal," "productive" lives do so in spite of the lack of Godly parental direction, instead of because of it.
Does raising a child in a God believing home provide any guarantees? From a Christian worldview, we know that God knows the hearts of everyone (Jeremiah 17:10) so the answer is unequivocally "yes." The Bible provides us with God's moral laws, the history of redemptive revelation and even instructions on child-rearing (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15 just to name a few). And most importantly, the Christian faith offers the one thing that nothing else can: eternity with the moral law giver — their creator God Almighty (John 3:16).
Image: Lance Gregorchuck's Great Without Religion from AtheistParents.org
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Family-Life | Theological-Beliefs
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