My wife and I have a seven year old, and we also have a hard time talking about God. We are very vague with answers. For instance when he asked what happens to people when they die, we told him that nobody really knows but that I think that if there is a God, he loves us and he will take care of us. Truth be known, I have a hard time with alot of things I read in the bible and everytime I see a disabled child, I have a hard time believing in God. I teach him that alot of people think the bible is from God, and that it may or may not be. The one thing I never want to do is teach my son the black and white thinking I was raised in. The fact is, We just dont know and nobody does! A book that you may or may not want to read is "jehovah Unmasked". It will change your whole concept of God. I just want him to enjoy life now without worrying about the big A or what happens after people dies. The only thing anyone knows for sure is the immediate NOW
I feel uncomforatable when my children ask about God....
I still have not reached that final hurdle of what the heck to believe .
That hurdle has been created in the mind and then believed in by the ego. Find out if it's really true or not - do you have to believe in something? Find out what happens when all belief drops away. To honestly admit not to know what god is and what to believe is a step in the right direction, but don't think that you have to believe in anything.
i think it's point blank wrong to teach belief in a god to children, and especially wrong to teach them that any one belief is actually true... across the board i think it is just so wrong to pass on a faith based decision we make as adults on to kids and teach it to them as if it's a fact (like jw's and most religions teach what they teach as fact, when it is not) - i guess i find the whole notion of gods and religions to be destructive for mankind on a whole, and if a kid wants to know about god, i think teach them all the things that different people believe and tell them how none of them know it for sure anymore than anyone knows anything they believe but can't provie, and that it's a personal thing that some people chose to believe in for whatever reason.
i think giving information to make one ask questions is far more importantant than trying to give answers.
I like JWdaughter's take on the issue. There is nothing wrong with telling your children that you are not so sure on the issue because you have found out that you may have been taught things that were not correct about God. The real issue is that you need to figure out what to believe before you can be definative as to what to tell them. Don't let their curiosity rush you into that decision as you want to make sure you have made the right decision. They can wait a few more years if that is what it takes. By then, the older one might be old enough to be told your story and understand why you took your time.
I will second the call not to let what some zealots have done turn you off to the probabilities concerning God. I know that many of those who make the argument for athieism sound so high minded and educated, but remember they may still be wrong. The way many of them talk down about those who believe puts them on the same level as religious zealots in my opinion and makes them just as unbelievable as the religious zealots I can do without.
Just take your time and examine the evidenc for yourself with a mind open to all possibilities. That way you will have the best chance to make a reasonably informed decision on whether there is a God and what are the more accurate teachngs concerning him if you conclude there is.
I wish you the best.
I also like JWDaughter's take on it.
Admit ignorance, offer a best guess opinion making it clear that it is such, but keep it as simple as possible. One thing that is sure is that if the explanation isn't detailed enough they will ask!
dh:Wb - I haven't seen you around for a while. How's it hanging?
I'm with the majority who say there's nothing wrong with admitting to your children that there are some things you too would like to know. Ask them what they think the answers are! Children say the weirdest, stupidest, most insightful, hilarious and depressing things!
God bless 'em.
Questions seem to ask for answers, but often they are better answered by further questions. E.g. Why do we ask about God, or death?
Children who learn to question their questions (and they are usually very good at it) are unlikely to get caught into shallow answers as most of us unfortunately were. Plus, it's fun.
I'm in agreement with "Poppers" above on the belief thing. I think we all need to just lose that word completely. The problem with the word belief is the direction of movement. It is flowing from you toward the thing believed in. It's like you are throwing rocks at the thing you say you believe in. I like the term "currently convinced of" or "I am currently a percentage convinced" because these terms indicate that you are merely the receiver of the information and are not projecting out anything at the thing in question. The second one is especially appropriate because only a fool would say that of all the things they believe in, they are believed in 100%, or all the same percentage. Some things we have more evidence for than others. Unfortunately, we have no direct evidence of God. We have evidence of stuff he MAY have built, but that does not justify being 100% convinced of God. There's too many explanations that leave God out for that to be the case. The only thing that belongs in the 100% column, unfortunately is, Descartes' "I think therefore I am." Everything else in the universe has less than 100% likelihood of existing. I know that I exist because I am thinking, but I don't know that I am not dreaming, or that I am not in the Matrix or that I am not under some spell from some demon. There are a few other things that may be 100%. Mostly it's in the area of math. According to Descartes, even in a dream, 2+2=4. So you can add some mathematical facts to your 100% convinced column because they are provable. All inductive reasoning should be right at 50% believable, so you should have no strong opinions about things that are "proven" by inductive reasoning. Most religious arguments are based solely on inductive reasoning, and when they are not, they are based on questionable premises. Even if you see and talk to God, that is still not 100% proof that God exists, because, you could be hallucinating. If someone else claims to see God or be from God, the chances are even less and your percentage of being convinced should drop dramatically. Doesn't that make sense? So, when Jesus claimed to be God's son, or God, should you put 100% of your belief in that? No. Even with a ton of evidence, that should only bring you up to maybe 75% convinced. Even if you were there and you saw him lifeted up into the clouds, that should only take you to 99% convinced, leaving room for hallucinations amd dreams etc. What effect should that have on your life? Humble, it should make you humble. You should not feel your religious convictions are the right one and others' are wrong. You wouldn't kill anybody for their beliefs, you wouldn't tell anybody that they will burn in hell if they don't accept some stupid gift and proclaim Jesus as their personal lord and savior. You would be extremely skeptical of everything you hear, and not be black and white about what you are convinced about but you would assign percentages of belief to each thing so that with each thing that you believe in, you simultaneously admit that you might be wrong. Anything else is just arrogance. remember, if God exists, He made it impossible to prove that he exists, and what would that tell you about God and what would it tell you about your world and life to know that you can't even prove your own mother exists. That makes you yourself a god and creator of your life. You begin to take responsibility for what happens in it, because you are the center of the universe and everything else is subbordinate. God made it that way by making it impossible to prove anything else. Not that you should ignore other beings. For even if they are imagined, they affect you. You must care for your children, husbands, wives etc. I would love to hear responses. Shawn
It makes it very difficult when you yourself don't know what to believe. It would be simple for me to answer their questions if they were my kids, but they are yours. All I can say is think twice before you start selling them on the GOD, Santa Claus, toothfairy, etc. Instead of saying I don't know, why not say "well, there are two different schools of thought on wether there is a god or not. Let's look into it together."
PS. I hope you don't give too much weight to the emotional 'born agin' advice. These dear folks are long on emotional faith and short on common sense.
I know exactly how you feel im just going through it now with my 8 year old just this last few months she has been going to sunday school and learning aout God and Jesus and the spirit and how to treat people, this has been great as this has helped her with some understanding of who God is. She still asks questions and i give her a straight to the point answer with out being to elaborate and she is happy with it.
. Born into the JW's and never knowing anything else really ruined all religion for me. It's probably only been the last 5 years that I don't get scared when a bad storm rolls over the horizon ... or when I hear of natural disasters catching my breath.
I too used to feel that way to thinking is this the end or that i had done something wrong.
I don't belong to any religion either and i don't think i ever will. I grew up as a JW and thats done it for me.
Just keep it simple and the kids work it out for themselves, but make sure you do answer their questions.