Teach Your Children? Well…

I mentioned Douglas Wilson’s reply to Christopher Hitchens the other day. A friend pointed out this reply from another Hitchens, Peter. His retort, while not evangelical, is nonetheless convincing. Further, he points out his brother’s worst chapter:

There is one chapter in this book whose implications are sinister. It is Chapter 16, which attempts to suggest that religion is child abuse.

On the basis of such arguments, matched by similar urgings from Professor Richard Dawkins, I can see a movement growing to outlaw the teaching of faith to children.

Some may dismiss this idea as preposterous, but why should it be? Already the courts intrude regularly into family life and decisions. Already homeschooling, for instance, has come under incredible scrutiny. It’s only natural that a family’s religious teaching could be determined to be negative. It only remains to be tried.

Imagine, for instance, that an atheist father resents his ex-wife’s conversion to Christianity. In an effort to ensure equal treatment under the law, he sues to restrain her from teaching the child Christian tenets. No Sunday school, no vacation Bible school, no church. What would a court say to such a father? What scientists (other than Dawkins, et. al.) would emerge with extensive studies of the harm that religious teaching does to children?

It’s not so far-fetched as it sounded, is it?


5 thoughts on “Teach Your Children? Well…”

  1. Scary thought. Sadly, you are not far-fetched in your analogy. While I don’t agree with all points of cultural or religious relativism, there is something to say about allowing everyone to have their own opinions on matters of personal beliefs and practices. Maybe we should be thankful that our practicing Catholic and Protestant children can sit next to practicing Muslim and Jewish children in school and it be okay that each abide by their respect faiths.

  2. This actually would not surprise me at all. Things such as this are happening every day in other countries around the world. Christians are persecuted, jailed, tortured and killed for meeting with other Christians or owning a Bible. I don’t think it is a question of if it will happen here, but when. I can’t even really imagine what that would be like, but something about that is attractive. I mean, wasn’t it Jesus who said BLESSED are those who suffer for my name’s sake? How doe we really suffer today? When our car breaks down and we have to get it fixed so we can go to work so we can pay the mortgage on our $200,000 house? That just doesn’t seem like suffering to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want the government to control my life and i don’t want to suffer! And I think we should fight to keep things like this from happening. I think we should fight hard with the faith that God can and will save us from such circumstances. And I pray that if He doesn’t He will grant us the grace to still trust Him, to know that even in those desperate circumstances He is still on His throne, to not be one who falls away when our illusions of security and privilege comfort and right are destroyed. Thanks for your post bro. Always enjoy the way your brain works.

  3. Leviathan’s reach is long. There are recent cases in Germany where children were forcibly removed from their parents and home directly because they were home schooled. We need to always remember the antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the woman. The state is neither irreligious nor neutral. It is in outright rebellion against the King.

    Shane, your post was right in line with our family reading tonight. We were in 1Timothy 6. Paul admonishes Timothy with these words, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”

    Kind of throws a wet blanket on our materialist party, doesn’t it? This is right before Paul states that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

  4. Jamie, provocative post as always. It’s definitely scary to consider the government intruding into home and family life. However, one thing that bothers me almost more (and could be an even bigger, more immediate threat) is that many young parents seem to believe imposing their religious beliefs on their children is wrong. The reasoning goes something like…shouldn’t it be up to the child to make his or her own decision without the heavy-handed influence of parents? I’ve heard several parents sit and wonder about the fact that if a child grows up in a Muslim home, they’ll likely be Muslim; if a child grows up in a Christian home, they’ll probably be Christian. To some eyes, it seems to be so circumstantial.

    This is an argument that brings up a lot of interesting points, most of which are better discussed face-to-face than in the blogosphere.

  5. Thanks for the comments, all.

    Michelle, what actually prompted this post was a sidebar in Newsweek about the growth of Buddhism. The report mentioned a girl who became a Buddhist thanks to a friend’s influence, at TWELVE. Her parents, nominal Christians, I believe, now take her to Buddhist camp for precisely the reasons you mention: it’s up to her.

    This is a reprehensible abdication of parental responsibility, especially in light of Scripture. It arises, partially, from the conflation of Christianity and Western deification of the individual. Sad.

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