We have a generation so tunneled into their own myopic view of a pleasurable life that they can’t make heads or tails of what they believe in. Many can’t see if there are any benefits of the character traits of their own worldview for others. I’m thankful that in the Western world we allow different beliefs to exist and mix, and sharpen and challenge each other. But I don’t think we do honest critical analysis to see which ones work and which ones are inferior—simply producing self-centered fatalistic people who don’t care about anyone else.
Recently I heard a call-in show where the caller hinted that Christians who encourage their children to follow God at a young age are close to being “child abusers” for not giving their child his or her own freedom to make a choice about faith.
This whole notion of it being “abuse” to push your beliefs on or influence your child about what you, as a parent, believe is total hog wash. An atheist ought to raise his kids as the best atheist he can if this is what he is convinced is the right way. If this is what, through all of his life experience, he finds to be the most meaningful and strategically “healthy worldview,” he should pass it along to his children.
Instead, it should go more along the lines of: parents or guardians are “abusers” if they are not convinced of life values and have nothing important to pass on to their children. Amoralists may say it is a form of elitism and pride to influence the faith of our children—that we should all walk in a wishy-washy moral equivalence to really have a healthy culture. However, having children undirected and void of values by well-meaning, open-minded parents who give them no backbone or foundational values is more abusive than parents who are convinced there are certain values that are better than others.
Honestly, who walks through everyday life purposefully and deliberately having no values, beliefs and convictions of what is right and wrong? Who are those who go around seeking to follow a worldview that “doesn’t work”? Or, people who could say: “I want to follow something that hurts others, and opens up gateways of bondage and injustice to my friends. This is the worldview that I see as healthy.” Or, “I have lived thirty five years and there is nothing I value, I haven’t learned anything about life, nothing works, everyone is selfish and it doesn’t matter how we live our lives.” If this is the worldview that some parents have in raising their children, I would call that child abuse.
So, if the atheist is truly convinced that he is right, let him push his convictions on his children. In fact, if he is convinced that he is right, he is irresponsible to not push his convictions on his children. If he is not training them, through the lessons he learned as an atheist as to why being an atheist is far better than being a Christian, then he is neglecting his role as a leader and parent. Also, if a neo-Nazi is convinced that his worldview is the best out of all those out there and he doesn’t try to influence his children to become neo-Nazis, then he really doesn’t believe in being a Nazi.
That is why Christians should live with conviction and certainty in their faith. If they are convinced that this is truly the way of life—handed down to them by God—then they are not abusing their children, but performing their parental duty to those who live under their care and are loved by them. They should raise their children to think on their own, but to also be influenced by the experience gained from others. Critical analysis should be part of everyone’s life. But it is a responsible parent who takes the convictions of their own life and passes them on to their children for them to also live them out.