Why I Raise My Children WITH God

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Friday, January 25, 2013


Texas Mother’s ‘Why I Raise My Children Without God’ Essay Stirs Controversy. 

After careful reading of your post, I feel compelled to respond. I want to commend you for sharing your views about “why you raise your children without God.” Obviously, you have given this a lot of thoughts and feel that is necessary to share your views so as to encourage others who feel like you do, but are perhaps afraid to share their thoughts openly.

I don’t think that you are an atheist at all. To the contrary, your writing indicates that you are a woman of profound convictions. You espouse faith in humanity’s ability to self-govern.

It is evident that your rejection of God is a by-product of negative experiences and events that seem to negate the existence of a Sovereign God. This does not make you an unbeliever; it simply makes you a seeker. It seems that you are seeking for God to reveal His divine attributes to you by taken control of an evil world. You want God’s love and mercy to be evident in the way humanity deals with one another and the way the world is administrated.

Your rejection of God is a rejection of the idealism and surrealism with which most Christians speak about God. You find the inconsistency between a good God and an evil world to be too vexing to warrant your trust. I sense that you reject the argument of blind faith in God, because the suffering you see is tangible.

Your writing suggests that you are still open to the idea of a God. However, you have very specific criteria for validating the authenticity of that deity. If I may, I want to address each criterion that you highlighted in your article:   

God is a bad parent and role model

You said “if God is our father, than he is not a good parent, [because]- good parents don’t allow their children to inflict harm on others. Why should God be blamed for what we do to each other? Does the fact that a mad man decides to kill 26 innocent individuals at an elementary school mean that He doesn’t care or doesn’t exist? To say that would be to deny the existence of evil in the world. It would be to absolve you and me of our responsibility to be our brothers and sisters keepers.

Allow me to remind you that from the very beginning, God created the world and gave it to us to administrate. We are the stewards of one another. Our decisions have consequences; but they do not negate the existence of God.

Fact is; most of us do not hold the CEO of a fortune 500 company responsible for every bad decision of a regular employee? If an employee lies about a co-worker and get that person fired, do we say that the CEO doesn’t exists or is a bad leader? We don’t do that precisely because we understand that individuals have to be held accountable for their individual decision and actions.

You said “good people don’t stand by and watch horrible acts committed against innocent men, women and children. They don’t condone violence and abuse.” What specifically do you want God to do when there is an act of violence and abuse against “innocent” men, women and children? Do you want Him to remove our free will and make us function like robots? How do you know that God doesn’t intervene in each case where there is violence and abuse? Can you discern when God is moving or not?

As a father of two children, I expect them to work out their differences and not hurt each other. When they don’t act responsibly towards each other, I do chastise them, just like God chastises every evil doer. I don’t try to run their lives so they don’t hurt each other. I give them the knowledge and wisdom to do what is right. I don’t think I’m a bad parent or role model whenever my children decide to act selfishly towards one another.

God is not logical

You said that God is not logical. An etymological study of the word logical demonstrates that it originates from the word logic with its root in the Greek λογική, logikē) that refers to both the study of modes of reasoning (which are valid, and which are fallacious and the use of valid reasoning). I certainly agree with you that God is not logical. A God cannot be logical because He does not use human reasoning. God said the same about himself in Isaiah 55:-8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  The finite cannot understand infinite wisdom and thoughts.

You and I may never understand why God allows some to die and some to live. We may never comprehend or accept the fact that evil is so prevalent in the world and the wicked does triumph over the righteous at times. I will never understand the tragedy of Newtown, 9-11, the horror of Oklahoma City, the Holocaust, Slavery, two World Wars, etc. But does that mean that God doesn’t exist because of these horrible events. I beg to defer because I see miracles happening every day.

A year ago my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the liver. Three doctors gave her a few months to live, but through faith and prayer, her cancer was miraculously cured.  I don’t comprehend why God saved me from a heart-attack 20 years ago. These events defy logic. They are miracles of a loving God.

Unlike many others, I won’t condescend to the hollow excuse that God wanted more angels every time an innocent person is taken away from us. What I will say is that, you cannot expect God’ sovereign protection to abound where people are ashamed to speak to Him. As a mother, can you effectively protect your children, if he doesn’t live with you or reject your motherly love? What I would say is that the absence of God is the presence of evil.  The death of the innocent children in Newtown is not a punishment from God, rather a reality check about the presence of evil in our world. Hence, we should look to God all the more instead of denying Him.

The goodness or existence of God is not predicated upon the absence of evil. We live in a fallen and sinful world. God made it clear what He expects from us. In Micah 6: 8, we read “[God] has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. In Isaiah 1:7 He admonishes to “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” In Jeremiah 22:3 we read; “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

With all these poignant examples and exhortations, I don’t think we can honestly say that God is a bad parent or role model. Indeed, “the question we should be asking is “why did we allow this to happen?” How can we fix this?” God expects us to treat each other with compliment instead of contempt. We have the ability to make this world a better place by the wisdom of God and His gratuitous love. “We should not abdicate these responsibilities to “God” just because a topic is tough or uncomfortable to address.” Well said!

 God is not fair.

God is not fair. He’s just. Fairness implies the Divine operating in a manner that is “consistent with rules, logic, or ethics of humanity. If God is to be the Sovereign ruler that He is, He cannot be consistent with human rules and logic. Human rules are limited and ephemeral. They cannot be universal in scope and perfect in application.

God only deals within the realm of the perfect. He answers prayers that are consistent with His Divine purpose and plan. He’s not whimsical or punitive as defined by the human laws. He’s just. Besides, we do not know which prayers God answers and which ones He doesn’t answer? The fact that a person prays and their situation changed doesn’t mean that God answered that prayer. The fact that a soccer player looks up to the heaven and crosses himself before a match that he ends up winning, does not mean that God answered that prayer. What that means is that the player believed that God is with him and mustered the confidence to use the fullness of his soccer skill to win. It is his faith that helped Him win, not his prayer. That is precisely what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

We can defeat evil and wickedness with our collective faith in the God who created us to do great things (Ephesians 2:10). So no matter the challenge, the evil, the adversity, we have to believe that we can overcome. We shouldn’t blame God while evil is running rampant. We can’t be upset when some prospers and others don’t. We should be determined and move forward with faith so we can do the impossible.

“Why are some babies born with heart defects, autism, missing limbs or conjoined to another baby?”  With so many chemicals released in the atmosphere and into our food, why not, the pharmaceutical industry inventing dangerous drugs with unknown side effects, we need to wonder no more. We need to do more to make all food organic and limit the level of carcinogens in them. FDA officials need to have more rigid guidelines that can prevent the pharmaceutical companies from releasing drugs that can cause birth defect and autism.

 God does not protect the innocent.

You say that God doesn’t protect the innocent. Can ask you who do you think is protecting you and your children from a cataclysmic event like an earthquake. Who is keeping an asteriod from obliterating the earth? Do you think the government is protecting your son from a flesh eating bacteria? It is not the FDA who is protecting my family from getting food poison every time we sit at the dinner table.

Every time my kids have a cold and I have to stay up and listen to how much they labor to breathe, I’m amaze and marvel at the awesomeness of God. My daughter was diagnosed with omphalocele at 4 months in the womb. The doctors did all they could to get my wife to abort her. They tried to convince us that she wouldn’t have a productive life. But as a man of faith, I prayed as I believe that “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28).” Today I have a healthy daughter on her way to college.

I know that not all stories have a happy ending like mine. But I’m convinced that God protects the innocent. It is not His job to keep our children safe, per se; that’s ours. It is our job to fight child predators. It is our job to fight for the defenseless.  That job comes with a warning by Jesus for those who would otherwise be derelict in their duties as guardians of the innocent in Matthew 18:10 and Mark 9:42.

God is not present.

The fact that you can sense God doesn’t mean He’s not present. God is a Spirit. You said that we cannot see, smell, touch or hear Him. Have you ever let your child to go away for a couple of days without you? Does it mean that you don’t exist because your children cannot see you face to face, smell you, touch your hands or hear your voice? Of course not! Your status as a parent does not change because of the distance that separates you from your child, nor is your existence negated by the same.

God is a very present help, especially in times of danger. We won’t be able to see Him with our eyes, smell Him with our noses, touch Him with our hands, or hear Him with our ears. If we only but use our spiritual eyes we will see Him move throughout our lives. We will see Him standing by our side when we are alone, holding us near His bosom when we are afraid.

After all, we are His eyes, His nose, His hands, and His hears. When we see the suffering of the poor, the pain of the broken hearted and do something to mitigate their suffering, we are being His eyes. It is by touching each other with our kindness, that the touch of God can be real. It is by hearing the cry of the oppressed and innocent victims of the world that His hears are activated. We are the key to everything God does on earth.

God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good

The whole Bible is about teaching us how to be good. God provides guidelines and principles to be better. In fact, He exhorts us all to be holy as He is holy. I’m interested to hear some of your suggestions about what more God can do to teach us to be good. 

Everything I tell my children about being responsible citizens of the world, I learned from God.  I teach them to take responsibility for doing what is right, not because they want to go to heaven, but because they are “God’s workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).”

God Teaches Narcissism

Should the fact that some children are abused and murdered keep a parent from helping a child to envision a great future? As an African American, for over two hundred years, we were told that we were not even human; yet in the midst of the despair and degradation that defined our reality, slaves were still exhorting their children to have the audacity to hope. It is because they were telling them that God had a plan for them, that slavery was defeated and the future has been made better for African Americans. This was not part of some fantasy, pie in the sky, narcissistic plan from God. It was real. Our forefathers felt every lash, mourn for every family member hanged on a tree. They wept for everyone who was sold and every family destroyed. But they persevere because they believed that God had a plan for them. Hence the Negro spirituals that extol the virtue of faith in the midst of despair for African Americans.

You may have the luxury not to teach your children about the plan that God has for them. You may not think it is necessary to teach them to hope when the future is bleak because of a God who destined them for greatness. That is your prerogative. But those who do are blind to the reality of evil around us. Nor are we in denial about the unfairness in this world. We just believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). If that sounds narcissistic, then so does a child thinking he can be whatever he wants to be when he grows up. Or a high school graduate going to college and expecting to have a better life than someone without a high school diploma

Raising our children without God doesn’t mean we are telling the truth. It simply means that we are keeping them in darkness and allowing our spiritual uncertainties to influence their impressionable minds. I don’t agree with you that we are no more special than the next creature. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). No other creature can reason and make choices like we do. We are special in every way. Our influence is only minuscule when we chose to use it at the micro level. We can go to the moon, inhabit planets, and create works of wonder. Nay, we are only as important as we think and believe. 

Conclusion

You close your commentary by saying that you understand why people need God, and that you do not want religion to go away. That’s a very hopeful statement. One that God can and will work with. My prayer is that someday you will understand why you need God. I pray that someday you will not strive for any religion; instead you will endeavor to have a good relationship with God.

Those of us who have already come to those conclusions, believe with utmost confidence that God exist and is infinitely in love with His children. Most of us don’t believe in God because the government says so. Neither do we try to force anyone to buy into our beliefs. Having experienced the love and mercy of the Almighty God, we are moved to share our faith so that others can have the same experience that we do. Some of us can get a bit overzealous in sharing our spiritual convictions. We should be careful not to alienate, castigate, or stigmatize anyone who has not pledged their allegiance to God. We should be open to diversity, love unconditionally, pray without ceasing, and minister with grace so that seekers and atheists will stop wondering about the reality of God, as they will see godly people working to bring God’s kingdom here on earth as it will be in heaven.

Thanks for an awesome article. God bless!


About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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