Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Explaining Religion

My son's newest revelation: Jesus has a telescope!

This is always a tough subject for parents because it's hard for adults to understand and come to terms with whatever religion they choose. How are kids supposed to get it?

My son tells the sitter to lie to me and say he took a nap.(Little stinker!) She says she can't tell lies and he shouldn't either because Jesus knows when we lie.

My son's reply? “Jesus is dead." (O.K. he knows the story of Jesus dying on the cross. Where do we go now with this explanation?)

The babysitter says. "Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but she explains Jesus is still watching over us from heaven." To which he replies, “Jesus can't see us if he's up in heaven.” She says, “Jesus can see everything.”

He ponders that thought and replies, “Does Jesus have a telescope?”
Yes, Jesus has a telescope. That explanation will have to do for now!

How do you explain religion to your kids? How do you balance forcing your religion on them and letting them make their own choices? Let me know by posting a comment.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

8 comments:

of the mind, for the mind said...

I think Jesus set the example: explain spiritual things by analogies from what the person already understands quite well.

A fly has millions of eyes, so does God. Air is everywhere on earth, so is the Spirit.

Henry Ford could explain the Model T, but the Model T could not explain Henry Ford.

The universe is so large because God is infinite Himself.

God can hear all the prayers of all people, and simultaneously answer all them. Working moms understand this completely. It's called "multi-tasking".

You can tell I'm not too good at this.

;^)

james3v1 said...

Some sage advice I got from an older man many years ago:

our children learn first and foremost from what we do, and not what we say. If I pray as if Jesus is really listening, and my children see that I believe He listens, they will learn that Jesus is real.

This goes for what we do and what we don't do, as well. If I tell my children that Jesus sees them even though they cant see Jesus, what happens if they find out later that I've told them about someone else who sees them but they can't see, but who *doesn't* exist (you know, like "he sees you when you're sleeping...he knows when you're awake").

After that, we let Jesus speak for Himself in the Word He's left.

Anonymous said...

I am going to be burned at the stake if I publish my name. This is the first time I have ever posted on a blog 'undercover'. I have 2 children. I take them to Sunday school every week at a fantastic Evangelical Free Church. They are members of the youth group. I attend major services when they perform in the choir. I have supported every study they have taken in order to understand Jesus and Christianity. But I am not a Christian. I was told I was born a Christian. I was raised and told I was a Christian. I studied Christianity and eventually in college many other religions. I no longer believe I am a Christian. When my children are older and ready to discuss my religious beliefs I will discuss with them. In the meantime, I believe in the foundation of good. And for the most part teaching your children to believe in the eternal love of Jesus is good. I don't believe that my children are as likely to make bad choices when the love of Jesus is in their heart. I bless my children in their journey towards their own individual spirituality. You asked for comments.............

Anonymous said...

Just tell them the truth. Tell them there is no god.

of the mind, for the mind said...

Taking kids to church, when you are an atheist, seems as hypocritical as church goers who like to sing hymns and go on mission trips, but never showed anyone how to experience spiritual rebirth, or transformation on the path of light.

I wonder about "using" as church as a babysitter or morality booster. I think that is insincere, like telling kids about the N. Pole chap, then admitting later we lied to them.

pathfinder37 said...

Telling children, or anyone for that matter, there "is no god" is rather presumptuous, isn't it?

Then: there is no gravity, for though I am aware of its effects, I cannot see it, hear it, taste it, or touch it.

Thus: gravity is a fairy tale.

Some logic. But it's convenient to deny God if you want to do anything, with no morals, and no expectation of a judgement or eternal destination, reincarnation, or other metaphysical justice.

Karma is real. Who or whatever set that up, I want to be friends with. The path is thus born like an arrow in the sky.

Anonymous said...

You are right. I am a hypocrite. I just use the church for babysitting. I am a completely insincere person for choosing a spiritual path for myself but not choosing it for my children. I will let them know when they are older of what a horrible parent I was for offering them the opportunity to be exposed to the Church. "Of the mind, for the mind" has got my number. I sure miss your type from my church days.

Ahmie said...

We are Unitarian Universalists partially for this very reason. My husband and I were both raised unchurched. He is an Atheist (or at least claims to be, I say he's an Agnostic in denial... anyway how can he be an Atheist married to a goddess like me? [grin]). I am basically metaspiritual - I find spiritual truths EVERWHERE and love synthezising and comparing them. Our children have 6 godparents, including a Christian, a Catholic, a Pagan, a Buddhist, an Atheist, and a life-long UU - these are people my husband and I specifically trust to share their spirituality honestly and with an open heart with our children without trying to convert them, that is what we view the job of godparents to be.

Unitarian Universalist Sunday School and other Religious Education generally offers a very broad foundation of exploration, primarily based upon Judeo-Christianity but with an open mind and encouragement to explore other faiths (I know our youth groups have taken trips to mosques as well as I think a Hindu temple that is about 10mi away - my kids are too young to go on such trips yet). We focus more on helping children find a moral compass within themselves based upon compassion and a love for social justice instead of an external invisible being whose existence is debated (even within our own congregation - there's a large percentage of Atheists and Secular Humanists in our church).

I do believe there is value in having experienced people help my children in their faith explorations, just as I feel there is value in them having experienced people help them explore other topics for which we don't have an expert in residence like car repair, higher maths, music composition, etc. We are social creatures and have a tendancy to specialize in specific aspects of human existance - sharing that with the younger generation is a blessing that grows with increased encounters.

 
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