As much as I wanted to lay out for her the intricacies of the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the teleological argument, the historical argument, and a whole range of other evidence that points to the existence of God, I knew that my 5 year old, brilliant as she is, would not be able to comprehend them.
So what should I do to 1. combat this challenge she has received to her fledgling faith and 2. strengthen her faith?
The first thing I did was to address the absurdity of the claim that God doesn’t exist. The exchange went as follows:
Daughter: My friend told me that God doesn’t exist.
Me: That’s silly, that’s like me saying that since I didn’t catch God in a glass jar he must not exist.
The purpose of this exchange was to, quite simply, make the assertion that “God doesn’t exist” appear as absurd as it actually is. Universal negatives require omniscience and I have yet to meet an atheist who meets that criteria so it is safe to dismiss that notion outright.
This also helps to teach my daughter that all propositional truth claims require evidence and sound reason in order to be properly substantiated.
Me: Why does your friend think that God doesn’t exist?
Daughter: I dunno.
Me: Probably because his father told him.
I want my daughter to learn how to follow ideas back to their source. In this case its a pretty safe bet that the source of her friend’s belief is his parents. Just like the source of my daughter’s beliefs are her parents. I won’t/can’t provide the reason her friend’s parents’ disbelieve in the existence of God, but I want to whet my daughter’s appetite and let her know that her trust in us is not without warrant.
So I finished our short conversation with.
Me: How do you know that God exists?
Daughter: I dunno, how?
Me: You know God exists because you trust your mommy and daddy. And how do you suppose we know that God exists?
Me: We’ve examined the evidence and arguments from both sides and have found the evidence for God’s existence to be overwhelming.
Like I mentioned above, I’d really like to go into the specifics on the plethora of evidence and reason we have to believe that God exists and, more specifically, that Jesus is the promised messiah. Instead I planted a seed. I intend to water it as she grows, but for now I only want to accomplish two things:
- Introduce her to apologetics, the need to defend her faith
- Provide her with a basic answer/reason/foundation for her fledgling faith