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Monday, November 28, 2005

My only positive memories of being affiliated with a church was when I was in the 6th grade. I was in bell choir and I got to leave school early on Wednesdays for practice. When we were done, we raided the cookie and hot chocolate supply in the church's pantry. I always liked the music around the holidays too.

Other than that, church seemed like a generational thing that I couldn't relate to. Then at the influential age of 16, I met Father in Chief. He was rational, logical, skeptical, sexy. He believed things were founded in science not theology. And I really liked him. So that was that.

The last time God had any kind of presence in my life was when Toddler in Chief was born with his assortment of anatomical abnormalities. People weren't sure how to respond to our email birth announcement that did NOT proclaim mom and baby were doing great. There were plenty of well-meaning replies, but some were not helpful: "God has his reasons." Or, "It's all part of God's plan." Or, "God would never give you anything you can't handle." I especially hate that last one. Do only people who can't handle a sick kid get a healthy one??

If God is so powerful and loving, why are kids born with life-shortening diseases? Mostly, people seem to fall back on God and religion when life has no real explanation. My kid will learn that his defects are a random genetic blooper and that science is the best chance for saving his life, not prayer.

Permalink | Should you raise your child religious? | Comments (6)


This idea of people falling back on God and religion when life has no real explaination is exactly true. It seems as humans or a society (not sure which is the *real* reason) we all NEED to have solution or a probable cause for something we can't explain. So, we fall back on another unknown, faith.

And as far as all those comments with TIC was born--people feel compelled to say something. Though, as with you, all those comments weren't exactly comforting (at least to me). I think it is hard to just say, "I am so sorry. I wish there is something I could say to help (or make this a better situation)." Which is *really* the truth. All the other stuff, makes you feel even worse (or at least makes me feel worse).

Posted by: bethany | Nov 28, 2005 3:38:16 PM

It just seems to me that people use religon as a crutch. It's what they turn to when things are tough, and that is really the whole point. It allows us to accept the bad parts of life easier.

Child: "What happens when grandma dies?"
Parent: "She goes to heaven."
Child: "What's heaven?"
Parent: "It's this beautiful place where people go when they die. It's filled with all of their friends and relatives, who are waiting with open arms. All the disease and pain are gone, and what's left is the real person and their spirit. But this only happens if you're a good person while here on Earth. No lies. So are you going to be a good little girl so you can meet up with Grandma in heaven?
Child: "Yes, I am, I promise.

Sounds much better then: "She'll be buried in the ground and eventually nothing but bones will be left."

The point is, we use religon as a way to help us through the hard times. Religon allows us to accept the hardships, faults, and bad things in life.

Posted by: Jon | Nov 28, 2005 8:08:17 PM

My wife and I just joined a church and it is the first one in over 20 years that I felt comfortable with. I was comfortable because of the people and not necessarily what they were preaching.

I wanted to join for both my son, who is 4, and myself. My mother went every day and hated it, so she never pushed me to attend other than the major holidays. While in college, I noticed that some of the more grounded people were those that actively practiced some form of religion. I have always wanted to know more about God and his word and thought that joing one with bible study would be a good start.

I want my son to grow up in the church the same reason we learn algebra in school. We don't necessarily need it in our adult life, but it may come in handy some day (I'm still waiting). I think it would be a good thing to learn what the bibile says and as an adult, my son can make his own decision about God, but at least he will know his word.

Posted by: Ed Bacchus | Nov 29, 2005 2:34:05 PM

Only people who have not truly understood and studied the word of God can say that religion is only something to fall back on when there is something unknown in our world. When you truly believe in God and His word, you will understand that God is not an author of confusion nor does He want us to feel pain or suffering; it is the presence of sin that makes it so. God does have His reasons as to why He unshields us from certain hurt and pain and anguish. We all have trials we go through to test our faith in Him and our love for Him, since we are human and prone to sin and do things that are not pleasing to God. When your child was born with birth defects, that was your trial to see how much closer you would become with God, but instead it SEEMS you chose to turn your back to Him because you SEEM to want to feel resentment towards Him. It is not God who made your baby be born with his defects, you can look to Satan for that.

When that person told you that God doesn't put you through more than you can handle, that is true. Mentally, financially, emotionally, and physically, you may be a much better mother for caring for your child than I or someone else that had a healthy baby could, so you should take that as a high compliment and praise, not something of which to be scorned or ridiculed. Actually, I want to share with you that my daughter was born sick, VERY sick, and it was something that I wouldn't have been able to handle because I was a single teen mom with not much financial support to be able to save her life. The illness she was born with would have put her to death a lot sooner than your son, and God saw fit that I was in the right place (15 minutes away from the hospital with the one machine that could save her life, only about 5 machines in the whole country that could do it) with the right kind of financial help (my mom's Medicaid, which paid the over $10,000 hospital bill) to be able to save my baby's life and cure her completely of the illness she had. Even then, I wasn't able to be by my daughter's side the way I wanted to be, but God sent a message through my aunt telling me to be vigilant in my strength to keep my grades up and to get physically ready for when my daughter was released from the hospital. So the messages from your family and friends were God trying to steady you and your faith to help you be a better mom. Even I saw that, and I was young!

Also, if you have never heard of stories of children surviving life-threatening or life-shortening diseases or defects, I encourage you to do more research, because they are out there. All people that are born have a purpose, whether it be a long term purpose or a shorter one. If you don't turn to God for His support, love, and guidance, you may find that you will be on the short end of the stick in life, because He is still in the miracle-working business. I have seen so many stories of children who have overcome birth defects that doctors said they wouldn't. The stories of the parents tell a lot about why the children have survived the way they did: because of their hope, their positive spirits, their unconditional love, and the courage it took to be great parents in spite of such overwhelming odds. That kind of parenting is of God, period.

Finally, you said that science will be the reason why your son's life will be saved, not prayer. How do you think scientists are able to produce such cures and medicine for all that ails humans? Because there are people out there that prayed for a cure or miracle to happen for the people in their lives who were born sick or with defects. All answers come from God, we don't do it on our own, please believe that. We are nothing without God, it is God that breathes the breath of life in our bodies day to day, so why do you think He isn't responsible for all the cures that have been provided to humans through science? I am looking forward to hearing back from you regarding my response, Mother in Chief, I think it is?

Posted by: Ganail | Nov 29, 2005 3:09:09 PM

I'm a Christ follower who was born and bred in the Bible belt. My faith was sorta' mine ... but mostly something I soaked up by osmosis from my parents. As a child, I would watch the cranky people in the choir, listen to the deacons trash people that were a little different, and hear people gossip about the sins of others (interesting - because they were being sinful in their discussions of sin!?). I used to DREAD the thought of going to heaven because I remember hearing that we would be worshiping God all the time - and if it was going to be like MY church, well that sounded a lot more like HELL TO ME! ha!

It wasn't until college that I allowed myself to doubt and search. It was only then that I discovered God and my purpose on this planet. It had to be my very own. Ironically enough, my search pulled me into scripture and back to the basics of the faith under which I was raised, however without all the religion.

In crisis, people have this huge need to help in some way, and make the pain go away. They just can't allow themselves to let the person grieve. They'd be much better off just giving you a casserole! Food is healing and it keeps everyone's mouth shut.

I miscarried with my first child. I heard it all, "God must have a plan." "You can always have more kids." "At least you don't already have a child, or it would be REALLY painful." I just stopped answering the phone. I figured it would be rude to say, "Hello, thank you for calling. If you plan to say something that will rip out my heart then please hang up now!"

I don't believe God brought my baby's life to an end. We're simply imperfect. Could've been a genetic defect, the mass product of all the junk we put in our bodies ... who the heck knows? I do believe God could have saved my baby. I certainly prayed for that. I don't know the why's or why not's. I know that He promised me that He'll be there with me while I deal with it.

Now, does that make God a crutch for me? Heck no. I don't follow Him for me. I don't look at my Christianity as a perk. I believe in God and the sacrifice of His son. In accepting that, I also chose to dedicate my life to serving Him. I'm doing it for Him. It's all about Him. Sometimes my life is going to suck - He talks about that in the 'ole B-I-B-L-E. Promising that He'll be with me, beside me, doesn't make the pain go away ... doesn't mean I'll have less pain than anyone else. That's just a part of the journey. Some days are blessings, and some days ... not so much.

Granted, a lot of religious people DO base their faith on what they can get out of it. I actually don't think you get much out of Christianity on this planet. I'll get the "goods" once I leave, but down here it's a commitment. I don't have to do anything to earn my Father's love (I'm sure someone out there is freaking out because it sounds like I'm basing my faith on works - don't want to open a theological can of worms!). However, if I truly believe the sacrifice that I have accepted, then I will show it by giving my life.

That's my experience. I've come a long way. I used to also think that if God allowed something to happen to you that it was a "compliment" from Him. That's not God's heart. I think that sort of talk takes away the reality that He hurts when we hurt. I'm sure someone will disagree with me. That's what keeps our blogs interesting, I guess.

Hang in there on your journey. Make it your own.

Posted by: Christine | Nov 29, 2005 5:31:26 PM

I will raise my son in the love of God, and the knowledge that he is never alone. I will tell him that, as much as I love him, and as much as I'd like to be the perfect father, I am an imperfect man. Sometime, somehow - as do all fathers - I will fail him.

In such times it is a blessing to know that his eternal Father will never forget, never judge, never condemn, but will always love and forgive.

I will teach him that science is a tangible way for us to discover God's wisdom and purpose; an invitation from God to explore His creation and better understand the gift we've been given. I will also tell him that science and faith are complementary, and that when a conflict arises, the problem lies neither with faith nor science, but within ourselves.

I will teach him to be ever thankful and ever joyful for the life and blessings God has given, and to live his life in celebration and honor of God's grace.

I will teach him that we are all fallen, regardless of our beliefs, and that religion is imperfect as we are imperfect. Only God is perfect.

I will teach him that Christ is all, and Christ is love, and thus should he live his life.

I will teach him that faith is not a crutch, but a foundation.

If nothing else, and above all, I will teach him that Christ is his one constant comfort in life and death. That his salvation is not his responsibility, and that the price has been paid.

Posted by: Jared | Nov 30, 2005 12:43:56 PM

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