I know you think you’re doing the right thing. I know you’re guilt-ridden if you don’t at least try and influence my children into attending your church’s vacation bible school. You may feel like it is your responsibility to ensure their salvation. I am sorry that your religion has placed that upon your shoulders. It isn’t fair to you. However, it isn’t fair to me to disregard the ways I am raising my children.
One of the very first verses my three-year-old memorized at church was “Fear the Lord.” I shouldn’t have to explain why this is psychologically damaging to a little impressionable child, but it is. When I heard those words come from my child’s mouth, I immediately wanted to throw up, and my blood boiled. I spent the next hour deprogramming him from those words. How dare anyone, any institution instill existential fear into the psyche of my child. The same thing was done to you. The same thing was done to our ancestors, the same thing was done to me.
Before I ever even had the choice I was taught there was a loving God that I should be afraid of. I was taught this loving God would send me to hell for eternity if I wasn’t saved. I learned I was broken, headed to hell because of original sin, and I needed saving. I cannot tell you how this led to addiction and co-dependency, although I will, in a future post.
You were taught this too. So I understand your concern because you still believe in this God that would do this. So I don’t begrudge you for trying.
But understand this:
My children will not learn of such existential theological beliefs until they are old enough to critically think about such beliefs. It would break my heart if my children were infected with fear, guilt, shame, or this idea that they are broken and need fixing. It would break my heart if they learned of Hell, Satan, or the rapture. Those concepts are completely inappropriate for little children. They are scared enough of the dark and spiders.
Also, it appears that there is a disconnect of your church to humanity. It is your way or it’s the wrong way. I see absolutely no love or compassion for others that are different from you. LGBTQ, Muslims, feminists, atheists, agnostics…etc. I have heard the rhetoric, these people are your enemies.
My children will not learn this type of division or elitism.
It also concerns me that your religion is in alliance to Trump and Liberty University. My children will not grow up equating Jesus to the immorality displayed in Donald Trump and his policies. I am teaching them to love all people, to fight for the poor, to raise the oppressed, to demand justice where it isn’t found, and to protect this environment from destruction. I am raising them to approach conflict with non-violence. I am raising them to treat women equally and to build bridges, not walls. I am raising them with the ideals that we should continue to fight to ensure health care for all Americans and to live our lives working to reduce suffering for all of God’s children.
I just don’t see any of those values present in Christianity anymore. I have watched the gradual decline of this religion my entire life morph into a version of Christ much different than my inherent compassion allows me to reconcile with. Recently, this different Jesus has been rising on your scene, and I cannot allow my children to be part of it.
I will not apologize for raising my children away from this religion. They will learn about Jesus. They will learn what he stood for, with the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 being our main tenet. You have nothing to worry about, friend. My children will be raised with values and roots that will someday flourish and bring forth fruit.
I do not see the fruit right now in your church. I do not see the fruit in supporting Trump, GOP policies, or praising someone like Donald Trump speaking at Liberty University about God, nonetheless. I am struggling to understand which God this is.
This isn’t my God. This isn’t my children’s God. So, thank you for the invitation, however, I respectfully but unapologetically decline.