Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Biblical Teaching or Child Abuse?

Check out this post from Jean in Lancashire, England, in which she relates something her daughter said one morning:
    As usual first thing when she woke up today she said, "I am going to be a good girl today mummy," and I nodded and said, "OK." She was quiet for a while as if in deep thought then she said, "But mummy, everyday I try and I want to be a good girl, but I can't do it. I can't be a good girl." I didn't know what to say to her at this point so I asked her why she could not do it. "Because there is only one person who can ever help me to be good," she said.

    So not knowing where this was going and a little confused by what my daughter was saying, I asked her who it is who would help her to be a good girl, thinking maybe she was going to say me, she said - Jesus. Yes my four year old daughter told me that the only person who would ever help her to be a good girl was Jesus Christ, because she could not do it on her own. I have never told her this. I would have thought this is too deep for a four year old to understand. That she was a sinner, she could not control her sinful nature. She wanted to be good but she could not, instead she did things that where wrong no matter how she tried to be good. Her theology is far deeper than that of many preachers today. I mean she gets it. It is only by the finished work of Christ on the cross that we can be delivered from sin. The righteousness of God is imputed to us when we forsake our sins and believe, 2 Corinthians 5:21. It is Christ who works in us enabling us to do good when we are saved, otherwise all our good works are like filthy rugs before God. She sounded like Paul in Romans 7, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" And she understood the answer, that it is only through Christ that we can be delivered and freed from the bondage of sin. I was so amazed by God's power that I wanted to cry. I have never shared this with her, so how did she know? It can only be the work of the Holy Spirit. For a little girl to know that she can not be good on her own, that there is only one who can help her, that is Jesus is beyond my comprehension. When she said that all I said to her was that she was right. I did not say anything more as I was in shock and I did not want to ruin what the Lord was doing in her heart. I am not saying she got saved, she is only four. But one thing I know God is definitely working in my little girl's life. It encouraged me to pray for her even more. She is a wretched little girl, who knows she is a wretched sinner who needs only a good saviour to help her. Glory belongs to God!
That is exactly what every Christian parent should be praying for! But what does this sound like to unbelievers?

The world sees no need for a savior. Man is not seen as inherently evil, so any talk of original sin is foolish.

If you have the time, take a look at the hundreds of comments Jean's post generated. She is ridiculed. She is mocked. She is attacked by those who love darkness over the light (John 3:19). Here are just a few examples:
    "Jean, YOU are the wretched vile thing here. I weep for your children, you evil thing, you!!!"

    "I'll say this, and I won't be the last. This IS child abuse. I hope one day your little girl realizes she is a human being, deserving of love and respect, and overcomes your attempts to make her feel worthless. I hope someone in your area has the good sense to forward this to social services."

    "We do worship the god we create in our image. You are worshiping an evil god."

    "You are a brainwashed religious lunatic who shouldn't be allowed to look after a dog, let alone a human child. I am both outraged at you and infinitely sad for the little girl who is at the mercy of your wretched, stinking, evil religion."

    "This is the most flagrantly chilling admission of child abuse that I have ever read. A sick, twisted woman passing that concept onto an impressionable child. This is disgusting. Someone contact social services, that child needs a loving parent."

    "I hope you know that there is a discussion on Richard Dawkins' website about finding out who you are and reporting you to the child protection authorities."

    "I'm ashamed you call yourself Christian. You've completely disregarded Christ's lessons and have taken the worst out of the Bible and made it the rule of your life. You've decided you're going to hell and are going to drag your poor, innocent daughter with you. Well I can promise you that hell is where you're going unless you repent the evil you're doing, take control of your life and help fix in your daughter what you're trying so hard to destroy."

    "Child Protection Services has been notified of this blog. I am utterly horrified at your misconduct towards your daughter, and I feel nothing but contempt for you and your ilk!"
Oh, that we may all be convicted of just how wretched and vile we are. Unless we see the need for repentance, we will never see the need for a savior.

Please pray for Jean, her daughter, and the rest of her family. Pray also that the Gospel message gets through to someone because of this.

It seems representatives from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have paid Jean a visit. There is the possibility her daughter could be taken away. Pray it doesn't come to that.


Unknown said...

If the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children paid a visit they must have had probable cause to suspect abuse.

There is no need for prayer as this will very likely end in nothing. Here in the States it would appear that she was well within the law (I'm not sure about the UK) in raising her child such.

Why would atheists be up in arms about this? For the simple fact that this four-year-old has apparently been left no option to make up her mind concerning these issues now or in future.

If in five, ten or fifteen years time this young girl decides that she just doesn't believe all that she has been taught about religion then I would wager that her mother would be highly disappointed and possibly disown her for her sinful disregard of God.

I guess one could say that God trumps love as well. So long as an individual holds the same ideological doctrine there is room for love; if not you are a "sinner" and not worthy of love...God's or even parental.

I know exactly that I am painting with a broad brush here, but there are plenty of cases in which non-believers and even those de-converting to another religion have faced ostracism from their loved ones. What does this say about that love? That it is moot before the love of God. How petty is that?
There is absolutely nothing Humanist about this (and I do not speak of Secular Humanism). I speak of the so-called "inter-faith" dialogues amongst differing religions (that often do not even include non-believers). Such inter-faith endeavors are a facet of Humanism.

With this young girl in question it shows the blatant indoctrination that Jean is instilling and she's either lying or deluding herself to believe that her daughter learned everything from God without [Jean's] intervention.

We're talking about a four-year-old!

Jean is doing a disservice to herself and her daughter by not allowing for freedom of thought. By not allowing her little girl to make up her own mind about what she believes. And, yes I know, this is invariably against what most Christians and most other faithful feel about parenting. That's fine I suppose, but I personally feel that this indoctrination is anathema to bringing a child up in the world to be independent (whether she chooses to follow the gods of her parents or whether some other). It's anathema to having a diverse society and not some hive-mind mentality.

I feel I could go on and on, but I'll await your reply.

Unknown said...

And please don't throw scripture at me. I'll not return.

Gordan said...

"Why would atheists be up in arms about this? For the simple fact that this four-year-old has apparently been left no option to make up her mind concerning these issues now or in future."

That only begs the question: Why would atheists object to that, even if it's an accurate assesment?

The objection hinges on the idea that it's inherently better (morally) to let the child be a free-thinker, than it is to train the child in a particular manner.

The atheist has zero grounds for claiming that anything in particular is morally better than anything else. The whole concept of morality, and right and wrong, must be stolen from the theist's worldview in order for the atheist to use them: his own view gives no ground for such thinking.

The fact that so many atheists have risen up in something that looks like moral indignation over this case simply shows the hopeless internal contradictions that exist in their (non) belief system.

So, please rethink the propriety of complaining that we aren't raisin' 'em right when it's your worldview that destroys all basis for calling one thing right and another thing wrong. Until you can articulate a rational, atheistic foundation for making moral judgments that is more consistent and systematic than the bubbles in your glass of beer, none of us will be impressed with your bloviations.

Unknown said...

"The objection hinges on the idea that it's inherently better (morally) to let the child be a free-thinker, than it is to train the child in a particular manner."

Train? Teach, indoctrinate, etc. It's fine and within the laws of most civilized societies to do so. Most atheist parents would instill in their children the freedom to choose and to have self-esteem and a sense of worth without God. If said child chose to turn to faith I would wager that, yes, they would probably be disappointment but not outraged and having a feeling that they have spurned atheism and are unworthy of their love because of it.

"The whole concept of morality, and right and wrong, must be stolen from the theist's worldview in order for the atheist to use them: his own view gives no ground for such thinking."

I beg to differ. Morality based on religious scripture is barbaric, anachronistic and antiquated and in no way can be posited to precede secular thought.

I can't argue with those of faith on this, nor do I care because I know in their hearts that God is the beginining
and the end of EVERYTHING. It's a matter of faith (which I don't have) therefore morality comes from God (who I don't believe in). Where do I get my sense of right and wrong? From a cracker-jack box?

I know it's wrong to murder, yet thousands and thousands (probably millions) of people are killed and have been killed in the name of religion and God. Are people of faith totally ignoring the sense of right and wrong handed down from God?

Lee Shelton said...

Larro, Gordan is exactly right. You cannot make any moral or ethical judgment without borrowing from our worldview in which absolute truth and morality exist. As I asked on your blog, what standard are you using? Is it what's good for humanity? If so, who are you to determine what's good for the rest of us? Or is it simply what's good for Larro?

The reason you can't answer honestly is because you can't remain true to your atheistic/naturalistic worldview while discussing immaterial things like morality and ethics. To all atheists, we're just a collection of atoms, no different from a dog or a rock. Sure, we may not look or act the same, but that's just because our atoms are arranged differently. So, really, what's morality to a collection of atoms?

But since you've already abandoned your worldview and admitted that you do in fact believe in the immaterial, let's take a look at what you said: "The objection hinges on the idea that it's inherently better (morally) to let the child be a free-thinker, than it is to train the child in a particular manner." You don't have kids, do you? No loving parent could honestly believe that. If they did, they would fail to teach their children anything that was true. For example, teaching a kid that 2+2=4 would be "indoctrination" by your definition. Maybe the kid really believes that 2+2=5. Who are YOU to stand in his way of becoming a "free-thinker"?

Oh, but parenting involves much more than teaching simple arithmetic. If your child was wandering into oncoming traffic, would you allow him to think freely about the situation and make up his own mind, or would you run after him and grab him before he was hit by a truck?

What if you saw him hitting other kids? Would you just let him continue, or would you tell him to stop, that it's wrong to hit other kids?

Children must be taught the difference between right and wrong. The sad fact is that they don't have to be taught to do wrong. Even atheist parents find this out when their children first say the word "No."

Getting back to the post that started it all...

Jean is a mother who isn't just concerned about her daughter learning that 2+2=4. She's concerned about the destiny of her daughter's eternal soul. Now, if Jean believes in Heaven and Hell, salvation and judgment, she would be a bad parent if she didn't raise her daughter accordingly. Just as you would pull your own kid out of the path of an oncoming truck, she wants to see her child saved from eternal damnation.

I think you need to go back and read her post. The problem atheists have with it is that they think Jean was drilling into her daughter's head that she is a wretched, evil child. Jean specifically said she HADN'T done that. She was merely excited to see her daughter reach the conclusion that she couldn't be good without Jesus.

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