People tend to follow the herd. They will repeat sound bytes they have heard without much thought. If it sounds good or it is popular to say they repeat it and live out the idea. One of the most thoughtless and unquestioned ideas I’ve heard since I was a boy is: “I’m a Christian but I’m going to let my children decide for themselves.” Has anyone thought about this?
On the surface it makes sense. Recognizing that children are their own persons and need the free will to decide which religion they will follow. This seems intuitive. But the fact is, you couldn’t choose for them even if you dared try. They are going to do what suits them no matter what you think anyway. So from this point of view it is ridiculous to think you could make them believe and stupider to even try given its futility. So the sound byte, “I’m a (fill in the blank) but I’m going to let my children decide for themselves.” is just lofty, high-minded bloviating
But the issue is about guidance. We guide our children in every area of life, so why would we cut them adrift in the area of religion? We send them to school against their will, we have them do chores whether they like it or not. Parents tell their children what is right and wrong without consideration that this might be obtrusive. But why when it comes to religion do we think it morally superior to neglect them. What happens when you die is more important than anything. Religion will deeply affect how they live. It will affect their own children’s future. Mental health and relationships will hinge on a strong foundation formed from religious convictions. Could we consider ourselves good parents and neglect them in this regard?
The first issue is really about you, the parent. What do you believe? What have you done to ensure you are guiding yourself in the truth? You need to do your homework on this issue of choosing a religion. Did you pick your religion because it was your parent’s religion? Did you just follow the pack because it was your cultures religion? Did you become an atheist because it suited your perceived creative freewill? Have you really made an objective decision based on fact?
First, you must determine if what you believe is true. Not just an argument but stepping back and re-evaluating your decision with all the religious options on the table. The book, The Venerators, can help you figure this out. Once you have done the work and determined who you believe (Jesus, Mohamed, Siddhartha Gautama) based on fact, it is important to pass this conviction to your children. This should be your first priority.
Once you have done the work, you should live it and pass it on to your children. This gives them an understanding of why we live, how to live and answers the question of what happens when we die. This should be passed to them through your words and lifestyle, guided by your beliefs.
You can say you adhere to such-and-such religion but this will fall on deaf ears if your life doesn’t conform to this belief. They will see what you really believe. They will notice if your life matches your religion. It will either substantiate or negate what you say. Either way your lifestyle will make an eternal impact on your children. We must recognize it is our responsibility and to neglect this is the worst form of child abuse. This is the most egregious maltreatment, because it will potentially ruin them, but not just them; their spouse, children, and community for many generations. The consequences ripple through time well after we are gone; they are eternal.
Remember your hopes of what the truth is will not form the reality of your experience after death. Picking a preferred religion is foolish. You need to guide your children in truth since they will die and if misguided potentially miss Heaven. It is critical that you do an analysis based on reason leading you to faith.
Some, in a hate for religion, have become atheists and put their children at great risk. Others have chosen a religion of preference neglecting to search the facts carefully. Can you so whimsically chose a religion or philosophy and potentially damn your children? Would you put them at risk by living in hypocrisy not adhering to the religion you chose? Any of these combination are potentially deadly for your children.
Do your homework carefully in choosing your religion. Adhere to that religion without hypocrisy and lead your children giving them the basis for your belief. Then accept that your children, when older, will make up their own mind.
A good tool in your pursuit is The Venerators. You can purchase The Venerators @ http://www.amazon.com/The-Venerators-Chose-Your-Superhero/dp/0615783120