A recent essay written by a Texas mother outlining why she raises her children without God, and published on CNN’s iReport, has stirred much controversy in regard to why some parents choose not to teach their children in the ways of the Bible.
On Monday of this week, CNN posted an article written by Deborah Mitchell entitled “Why I Raise My Children Without God.” In the essay, Mitchell outlines her reasons for disbelief, or dislike, of God, which drive her to keep Christianity away from her children. Among her reasons included her belief that God is a bad parent, that He does not teach children to be good, and that He rather teaches people to narcissistic.
Mitchell began by explaining that she once told her children about Heaven, but has since stopped because she does not believe in its existence. She stated that she is glad that she and other parents are raising their children to be atheists.
“We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever,” Mitchell said.
In providing her reasons as to why she desires to raise her children without God, Mitchell explained that she feels God should stop people from committing evil.
“Good parents don’t allow their children to inflict harm on others. Good people don’t stand by and watch horrible acts committed against innocent men, women and children,” she said. “‘He has given us free will,’ you say? Our children have free will, but we still step in and guide them.”
She continued by outlining that she believes God is not logical because of all the evil that exists in the world.
“If there is a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves His children, does it make sense that he would allow murders, child abuse, wars, brutal beatings, torture and millions of heinous acts to be committed throughout the history of mankind?” Mitchell asks.
Mitchell adds that she finds it wrong that humans have to step in to protect the innocent because God does not do the work Himself.
“He does not keep our children safe,” she stated. “As a society, we stand up and speak for those who cannot. We protect our little ones as much as possible. When a child is kidnapped, we work together to find the child. We do not tolerate abuse and neglect. Why can’t God, with all his powers of omnipotence, protect the innocent?”
In her sixth point, Mitchell explains that she believes people should want to be moral for the right reasons, not because of a fear of the consequences.
“Telling him that he must behave because God is watching means that his morality will be externally focused rather than internally structured,” she said. “A child should make moral choices for the right reasons.”
Mitchell concludes her last point by stating that she takes issue with the statement that “God has a wonderful plan for your life,” because it makes life seem to be all about oneself.
“That gives kids a sense of false security and creates selfishness,” she said. “When we raise kids without God, we tell them the truth — we are no more special than the next creature. … The realization of our insignificance gives us a true sense of humbleness.”
In the end, Mitchell stated that she does not want religion to go away, but that she believes it is a personal issue that should be kept out of the public square, such as in schools and the government.
CNN states that Mitchell’s essay generated 650,000 page views, the second highest for its iReport outlet, and that there was both agreement and disagreement about the discussion.
“I, too, don’t believe in a particular God who will save me even if I do wrong things, but I do believe in myself,” one commenter wrote. “There is an inner voice which tells me not to lie, not to harm others.”
“This mom asks some very good questions!” wrote another. “And sadly, those who ought to be able to give us answers, often only do more to destroy faith than build it. I have been helped to find the answers to her very logical questions, and was astounded to find they are right there in the Bible, where you would expect them to be.”
“If we were programmed to automatically worship God, we would be robots! No need for free will,” wrote Sammy in response to Mitchell’s dissatisfaction with why God allows people to make bad choices. “Imagine your children were all robots that automatically did everything you commanded, no questions asked. How gratifying would that be? Now imagine they obeyed you because they love and appreciate you, agree with you and want to please you?”
“Yes, we do have free will. If you step in and stop your child from doing something, they do not have free will,” a fourth added. “When your child is 35, will you jump in to stop every fight, [or] make them wear their bicycle helmet?”
“What you mix is so many ‘make God in my own image’ religions rather than religions that realize it is the other way around,” he continued, addressing a number of Mitchell’s points, such as the use of God for personal gain. “That is why you are right to question many of the ridiculous things you mention, but wrong to assume they come from God. The clearest way to know what God thinks is from the Bible.”