Are children better off believing in some form of faith?

by FreedomFrog 40 Replies latest jw friends

  • daystar


    Frankly, lots of people have faith, but when that faith is born out of fear, I believe it is unhealthy and symptomatic of other unresolved issues in our lives.

    I agree wholeheartedly. For all practical purposes, I have little problems with people whose faith leads them in a very happy, productive and healthy manner. It's precisely when faith is born of fear that we have the problems stemming from religion that we do.

  • FreedomFrog

    I think you and AA are one of the nicest couples to ever grace this forum. I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch at the moment, sometimes life hits the fan and leaves a huge mess for us to deal with. All I can do is give you both a hug and tell you that if you can hang in there, it will get better.

    Actually, Scully, even though this is hard. Dave and I have "fun" with debates. (I ya honey?) Just only when we hit a senstive topic as to whether or not this will have an effect later on the kids.

    Have you ever thought that both you and Dave are giving your children the best of both worlds? You get to teach them the comforting power of ritual and faith, and Dave's example teaches them to have faith in themselves just as much as you teach them to have faith in something external.

    The problem is, Dave already feels exactly what he believes...I feel I'm still in the "catch-up" phase. I'm still tyring to learn what I really believe and don't. So, I don't want to "teach" something that I may feel totally different later. At this point I can't ever not feeling a "Higher Power" because of the security feeling it gives me. Believing that there is something more that may be out there gives me the power to live comfortably...a safe feeling. I want out children to feel safe.

    Growing up in the JWs, I believed (and most of us who grew up JW believed) that we had no control over anything, that whatever happened in life was at Jehovah's pleasure - "Jehovah willing" my dad would say when we'd talk about going somewhere other than camping for vacation, and then when we went camping anyways, we weren't supposed to be mad at Jehovah for squashing our hopes. Through all that, I never learned the value of having faith in myself... no matter what I did, if it wasn't what Jehovah wanted, my plans were meant to fall through. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. In the words of Homer Simpson, "If at first you don't succeed, why bother trying?" No wonder I went through my 20's in a state of depression!!

    I guess that's why I can't believe in the Christian God. What I believe is more with energy. Energy that we can tap into if need be. I do have trouble believing into the "All Powerful-All Knowing". I admit, my beliefs are more for comfort right now. And I want my kids to have that same comfort I enjoy. If Zach grows up in comfort knowing this is it...I'm cool with that. But my fears are that, even though he's logical like his daddy, he's also sooooooo emotional like me that this will effect him later.

    It wasn't until after we left the JWs that I learned how to have faith in myself. We've gone through a variety of crises and stresses, but it didn't affect me the same way they would have if we were still JWs who believed that whatever happened to us was Satan the Devil testing us, or Jehovah allowing us to be tested, and we just had to accept it. Now - being self reliant and having faith in our ability to do what is in our family's best interests - we just do whatever needs to be done to get where we want to be. Little by little, it does get better, and ten years down the road, you'll probably be right where you want to be and wonder how you managed to find the strength to get through everything you're going through now.
    I believe you need to have faith in yourself...but I believe that that faith sometimes needs a boost. And I believe that that's when we can tap into those energies to gain that faith in us. Does that make sense?

    You both have an excellent opportunity to show your children the positive things about both your belief systems. Why not run with it and see where it goes?

    Actually, it all started with me having a vision of Cougar as my "Power/Spirit/Guide" animal. I have been having "dreams" of cougar for several months now. Then after "prayer" again for a sign of what I need to do, wolfgirl posted a cougar (15 mins after my "prayer" in an "off-topic" situation) which to me was another sign. After looking up the "personality" of Cougar, I'm directed to be more assertive in my beliefs. I haven't done this because of the fear of teaching our kids "wrong". But, yes, I do agree, I need to be more vocal when it comes to my beliefs.

  • AlmostAtheist
    Frog and Dave, are you two having a "cyber-argument?"
    Hehehe, trying to start a "debate" here honey?

    Debate? Argue? ME?!?! C'mon... you know me better than that!

    Dave and I have "fun" with debates. (I ya honey?)

    Yes, absolutely! Whatever you say, just no more hitting! Please stop with the hitting!

    But being strictly honest about eternal love I figure, is a conversation best left when they are older. Say, when they're about sixty years old.

    Well said, and yes, agreed.

    I wouldn't be gravely disappointed if my kids grew up and became pagans or even Christians. I hope they choose a more agnostic/atheist path, since I believe it will make them have happier lives. But that's just my take on it. What I "hope" is largely immaterial to what will actually happen anyway.


  • FreedomFrog
    Yes, absolutely! Whatever you say, just no more hitting! Please stop with the hitting!

    *chases dave with a rolling pin*

    But being strictly honest about eternal love I figure, is a conversation best left when they are older. ; Say, when they're about sixty years old.

    Well said, and yes, agreed.

    I wouldn't be gravely disappointed if my kids grew up and became pagans or even Christians. I hope they choose a more agnostic/atheist path, since I believe it will make them have happier lives. But that's just my take on it. What I "hope" is largely immaterial to what will actually happen anyway.

    Yes, that's a nice concept, but when you're children start asking questions you are "forced" in to explaining what life is about and not about. I wasn't really prepared for this...rofl. So, you can't wait until they are 60yrs. They want answers. I also wouldn't be "gravely" disappointed as Dave so elegantly put it if they ended up becoming Atheist. Just, my "gut" feeling is that Zach (in particular because of his personality) won't have that "fulfilled" feeling if he goes this route. Anyway, that's IMHO.

  • blondie

    I don't think you should present any one idea as the "truth" but merely what led you to your decision.

    I personally believe that living in the present is important whether you believe in God or not. Our life is now, this moment, not some moment coming up.

    As to a being that assists us as individuals...whether we believe in God or not...what we have is our intelligence, our knowledge, and any wisdom that those 2 things might have produced; our experience and shared experiences with or from others.

    I think it is important to teach children how to observe, gather information, test it out, find wise people to consult, be able to reject what doesn't seem reasonable, be willing to accept responsibility, and of course realize that their ability to choose some things will be limited until they are older and on their own.

    AA taught me some simple things (trite though they may seem)

    One day at a time


    Keep it simple, stupid.

    Love, Blondie

  • MerryMagdalene

    There are some interesting assumptions or beliefs in this post that just kinda jumped out at me:

    You don’t have to believe in your son or your husband to know they exist. You have absolute certainty that requires no faith. Why invent a male deity and then by a leap of imagination and faith act as if he were real? The next thing is that you need other people, close to you, to believe as well.

    If enough people join you the god becomes more of a reality. Talking to him helps keep him alive - of course he will never reply. Everyone needs some illusions to get through life but the god one just doesn’t work for so many people nowadays.

    I cannot answer for anyone else who "believes" in God. But being someone who has a personal relationship with God/Goddess/Higher Power, I have to say that I do not believe I invented God any more than I invented anyone else with whom I have a relationship.

    But then again, we probably have different definitions of God based on personal experience. My God is not a invisible "male deity" seperate from everyone and everything else. And it is not God's existence in which I "believe" or have "faith" any more (or less) than I have faith in anyone else's existence. To me, God IS existance.

    Coming to know God--to see and hear and touch God--isn't always been easy for me nor doubt free. But none of my relationships are.

    But why should my having a relationship with someone with whom you don't have a relationship make it any less valid? Why should my being able to communicate with someone with whom you can't or don't communicate make that my illusion? Maybe the illusion of an imaginary relationship with a non-existant being is yours, not mine.

    As for prayer, I can tell you that God is not the only one with whom I have shared a two-way mental communication. I have also done so with a friend in the sight of 2 witnesses. (Long story.)

    I do not believe in an actual Santa Claus nor in the Tooth Fairy as I have no relationship with them. Perhaps they were invented by imaginative people who wanted to believe in something they had no real relationship with. And maybe that is what some people do with God as well. Or perhaps SC and the TF really exist but are not who we imagine or pretend they are. I don't know. I don't teach my daughter that they are real because they are not real to me and so that would be dishonest and confusing.

    I can only teach my daughter according to my own experience of things. There are a few personal "certainties" I can offer her, along with my reasons for them. But I cannot make my certainties her own. Nor will I hinder her from doubting and questioning and living her life on her own terms. I will always assure her of my absolute love, as Jgnat suggested, and share the world with her as I know it, and let the rest unfold and develop as it will. I hope that will not be perceived as "trickery."

    I will try to be honest about what I don't know and what I am not sure of also. And admit when I'm wrong, and apologize and make amends when I make mistakes...and whew...I never thought I'd be a parent having to deal with all this stuff...


  • LittleToe

    Try to remember that kids are not mini-adults, for all the fact that they have a knack for cutting through the crap. Applying your own adult reasoning to a situation is simply not fair - their minds don't work that way yet.

    Further, kids like the stability of black and white, and also like the illusion that everything is gonna be ok, even when it isn't.

    Parents are Super[wo]men, and God[ess] is usually there for when Parent isn't around. Why remove that security blanket before they're old enough to face alone the fears that the world presents?

    "Belief" allows them that, even if it's only Santa Claus. When they grow into adults and gain the ability to reason things out properly then inconsequential beliefs will just drop away, if your current tolerance persists.

    Be aware of the propensity for your own shattered past to affect your child's normal development, including all the fantasy/belief that they need/want.

  • trevor

    Merry magdalene

    That was an interesting post. Perhaps you missed the comment I made following my first post, so I have repeated it here.

    Well, first off, I don't believe in god as most do. I believe in a Higher Power...or energy-for lack of better words.

    Ah! FreedomFrog

    I agree with what you are saying and have belief in the life force myself. It is based on experience and awareness and requires no faith.

    It is the god of the bible that I find implausible.

  • lisaBObeesa

    I tell my children about the JWs, and how I was raised in a religion that was wrong. But that doesn't mean all religions are wrong. I actually tell my kids how to spot a cult.

    I tell them some people do not believe in God. I tell them that after much soul searching and thinking, I decided that I do believe in God, and I tell them why. I tell them that they don't have to believe it if they don't want to.

    I tell them nobody knows what happens when we die. Different people have different ideas, and we will all find out one day because that is the way the world is.

    And most importantly, I tell them the world is GOOD, so we don't need to fear. There is saddness sometimes, there is pain. But life is good.

    I tell them the world is GOOD. Life is GOOD. Children are GOOD. The SUNSHINE is good. The RAIN is good. I tell them they are SAFE, and there is nothing wrong with having questions. Life is full of questions. If God is there, he loves us and is teaching us. I tell them I believe that. And if God is not there, then we love eachother and learn on our own.

    Either way, life is an amazing gift, an amazing experience.

    And I ask them what THEY think.

  • MerryMagdalene

    Thanks trevor. I missed lots of stuff between beginning my rant and posting itIn the midst of it my daughter woke up. I got her back to sleep. I dozed off. I woke up...

    Such an interesting thread!


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