Tag Archives: parenting

Apologetics for kindergarteners

My daughter came home from school the other week and while talking with my wife about her day she mentioned that one of the boys in her class told them that God doesn’t exist.

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?
Daughter: How?
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
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Why libertarians should be opposed to same-sex marriage

During a discussion on same-sex marriage with one of my more liberal friends, I mentioned not wanting the state to encourage self-destructive behavior like homosexuality. My friend asked why I, a libertarian, would want the government to interfere in people’s lives.

Unfortunately this is actually a common libertarian position. So in an attempt to persuade my fellow libertraians, let me outline why I believe all libertarians ought to be opposed to same-sex marriage.

Libertarians believe in limited government. Same sex marriage greatly expands the role of government in peoples’ lives. Ergo, I am opposed to same-sex marriage because it would necessarily entail an expansion of the government just like it has in every country that has embraced same-sex marriage.

Here’s a great article about the effects of normalizing aberrant sexual practices weakens the institution of marriage.

Weakening marriage means the state needs to grow to take on the roles the parents once filled. Today that means the state becomes the husband (provider/protector/teacher) in the lives of millions of single-parent homes (which are predominantly female).

When we make sex out to be a private pleasure divorced from any public good (like the production and care and raising of children) then we end up with fewer children (because they are seen as a nuisance) and fewer marriages which provide the most stable environment for the raising of children.

And you know what’s great about properly functioning marriages? The state doesn’t need to interfere with them, so it doesn’t need to grow in order to provide anyone with an imagined “right”.

The family is the fundamental building block of society. And for that reason, all libertarians should be opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

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Wounding children

I got into a discussion a while back about the legitimacy of corporal punishment. Liberal parents are fond of labeling any form of punishment child abuse1.

Corporal punishment aside, lets look at the notion of child abuse a bit more.

Let’s say a couple has casual sex, sex outside of marriage, sex outside of a framework that is designed to facilitate the life that could result. If a life were to come about under such circumstances, I believe the couple has committed an act of child abuse by not providing a suitable environment for this newly created life.

Now the parents of this new life could decide to terminate this life. This inconvenience. This parasite. And this would be their last and final act of child abuse as far as this tiny, but no less viable, life is concerned.

But lets say they aren’t as heartless as so many millions of parents are each year. Let’s say they have actually have a bit of moral fiber in their being and decide to care for the life they have created.

If the couple does not decide to start rectifying the unsuitable environment for the new life they have created, meaning they get married and start working on building as much of a home as they can in 9 months, then they are further abusing the child by depriving it of it’s natural right to a family (which means, at minimum, a mother and father who are committed to each other and the new life they have made).

Being in a single parent home (mostly the mother) is the #1 indicating factor of childhood poverty. So when a couple decides to not create a suitable environment for the life they both participated in making, why don’t we call that what it is? It’s child abuse.

When it comes to what is commonly understood to be child abuse, that is the inappropriate application of physical pain, studies have overwhelmingly shown that the greatest threat to the well being of a child is not their biological father. It’s their mother’s live-in boyfriend.

So if people are serious about ending child abuse, why isn’t there more focus on alleviating the situations and factors that lead up to the cases commonly understood to be child abuse (like the mother who stabs her children to death in a gas station bathroom, or the mother who drowns her children in a bathtub, or the mother who shakes her child to death so she can play farmville)? Why don’t we stand up for all abused children?

Sometimes the worst abuse is the kind that leaves no visible marks at all.

  1. That discussion led to this post on the sovereign status of parents over their children. []
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Contracting out parenting

Parenting is a time-intensive activity. And in today’s fast-paced world where we are always plugged-in and always on the go, many parents are tempted to abdicate their responsibility to train their children up properly to someone else.

Whether it is the school system, a group of peers, or a piece of technology like the TV or game console; Contracting out our parental responsibilities is wrong.

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The goal of parenting

What is the goal of parenthood?

Before we explore what it is, let’s dispel some myths of what it is not.

The goal of parenthood is not to…

  • make kids feel good about themselves
  • relive our childhood
  • fix parents mistakes
  • keep them from pain

While some of these things are otherwise good goals, they are accidental to the true goal of parenting.

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.

Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
-Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Simply put, the goal of parenting is to produce disciples.

Disciples of what? Disciples of our lives.

I often hear secular parents (and non-parents) talk about how it is wrong in their opinions to indoctrinate children with our beliefs, especially religious beliefs. I always find this interesting because, in saying this they are actually asserting a competing worldview (most often relativism) that they think is superior to what they see as an out dated set of beliefs handed down to us by mere sheep herders. The irony is that even though such people claim that indoctrinating a child is wrong, that is exactly what they are doing.

The question is not whether we indoctrinate our children. Or teach and train them as Scripture says. The question is what we believe is the ultimate goal in life and that will determine what we deem as critically important to teach them. And what our children will learn from will not only be the words we use but the lives we, ourselves, lead.

For us, as Christian parents, the finish line is when our children leave the nest. The test of our craftsmanship will be the quality of lives they lead. Will they lead happy and fulfilled lives (happy as defined in the classical sense)? Will they build great things (including a family and a career)? Or will they crash and burn in pursuit of sensual pleasure? Yes, children have their own free will and some may rebel and go down in flames in spite of the very best upbringing. However Proverbs tells us that, as a rule, children trained properly are not likely to stray far from the path they learn in their youth.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6

So we plan for them to leave the nest, and our goal is to equip them well to fly and not fall.

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On abstinence-only education

It is often repeated on late-night talk shows that abstinence-only education is a failed pipe-dream and that the more responsible thing to do is teach kids how to have “safe-sex”. This line has been repeated so often that many people take it as an unquestioned fact.

But is it really?

Preliminary studies have shown that abstinence-only education actually does work.

It’s not the entire answer, however. A more complete answer would include 1.) strengthening our cultural view of marriage (as opposed to trashing it in almost every area of pop culture) 2.) de-sexualizing our children and 3.) combating the myth that “kids are going to do it anyway”.

The fact is that producing kids who don’t feel the need to jump into the sack with someone the minute they hit puberty is not a last cause. It just takes a few more good parents and a recognition that we are not merely animals controlled by our desires.

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