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Why I’m Raising My Kids in the Church

admin October 23, 2015

This isn’t my usual MO around here…I don’t discuss religion too much.

I know it’s controversial.  I’ve had people who’ve followed me and enjoyed my health posts for weeks or months, run across a religious-themed post and immediately unfollow me because they just couldn’t get their health information from someone who also spoke on religion.

The popular view of religion right now is that it’s basically just brainwashing for people who are too stupid to realize it is a bunch of magical fairy tales about a man in the sky.  (And this type of rhetoric comes from people who claim to be ‘tolerant.’  It isn’t tolerant if you only support or defend viewpoints you like or agree with.)

I have spent over a year reading everything I can about this anti-religion view.  I have examined the problems with faith.  It has been uncomfortable, at times, to challenge assertions, or to even go to church when I could see so many issues coming to light.

But I kept looking.  I kept searching.  And I’ve affirmed that yes, — I do want to raise my children in the church.

Why I’m Raising My Kids in the Church

Between religious and non-religious people (as a very broad group) there are differences that go far beyond just what they believe about God.

I’ve noted characteristics of each group that seem to be true.  Again, I’m painting with a very broad brush here and not speaking about any individuals.

Those who don’t believe:

  • Tend to view alcohol as fun and even getting drunk as fun/good
  • Tend to view sex as permissible any time, anywhere, with anyone as long as it’s consentual
  • Tend to swear and view swearing as “just words” and even allow their children to swear
  • Tend to be a bit abrasive when challenged, “take me or leave me, but I’m right”
  • Tend to be more accepting of minority/marginalized groups

Those who believe:

  • Tend to teach self-respect through modesty, avoiding promiscuity, swearing, and getting drunk
  • Tend to create community that serves those in need (within the church and outside it)
  • Tend to be generous and loving towards most
  • Tend, in some cases, towards legalism (“Bible thumping”) about specific beliefs

I see clear good and bad in both groups.

The non-believers often tend to be more accepting of others, and do not necessarily judge people for the choices they make or what they do (unless it’s religion).  Their version of morality often leads to a more open mind on a variety of subjects, and more open exploration of a wide variety of topics.  But.  They also tend to engage in a lot more drinking, swearing, and sex outside marriage.  I also see a very abrasive way of speaking that is common, as well as a whole lot of intellectual superiority.

The believers tend to be very accepting of other believers, and certain communities are truly accepting of all.  They avoid, as much as possible, being drunk and promiscuity (some swear, some don’t, but most try not to swear in front of children).  They create lots of charitable programs, donating food, time, and a whole lot more to people in need all over the world, and in their own communities.  There are groups who engage in legalism, turning people away from their churches when the women wear pants (really), or if they drink alcohol, or get divorced, or….  You get the picture.

Look, there are problems with religion.  Well, more accurately, there are problems with people who are religious.  Because, guess what, they’re flawed.  They mess up.  They ignore God’s word and create legalistic systems that are filled with people who don’t love others, who gossip, who drive away the masses from churches because people don’t want to show up to be judged and pushed aside.  I’m calling those churches out, right now…it’s not okay.

But, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  We don’t walk away from religion because of a few flawed people who screwed it up.  There is good and bad in every belief system, and people who do both in every community or group.  That doesn’t make the whole group bad; it makes the actions of the few, wrong.

Why I'm Raising My Kids in the Church

Change From the Inside Out

But when it comes down to it, I’ve found more good than bad in the church.  I’ve seen Jesus inspire people to be more loving, kinder, more generous.  I’ve seen people try to accept others for who they are (even if they have annoying personality quirks) because that is what Jesus would do.  I’ve seen people work together to help those in need, locally and internationally.

I generally agree with not getting drunk, saving sex for marriage, not swearing.  I find people who live like I do, in the church — more than in other places.  I find people who will affirm what my family believes and surround my children with a community of people who believe what we believe, in the church.

Now — I’m lucky.  I’ve found a great church, where we belong.  Where I’ve never seen drama or issues.  Where I know if we ask for help, plenty will step up (and they will actually want to help, it’s not begrudgingly).  This is a church where they speak against legalism.  Where they practice being accepting of others.  Where they hold a firm line on gospel truths, but they don’t cast people out for being sinners.  (And, many of them live like us in other ways — big families, natural births, full-term breastfeeding, natural remedies, real food, and so on — many see these as God’s design as we do.)

I want my family to be surrounded by this loving, giving community, who believe what we believe.

Where there’s need for change, because there is, we’ll call it out, and we’ll change it from the inside.  People who are “playing church” and are engaged in unBiblical practices will have to answer for that.  I’m not afraid to say something, if it’s serious (like abusing little boys).  It does the church no good to hide the wrong to protect itself — that will destroy it.

But at any rate, whatever change is needed (no system is perfect), I’d rather be in the church than outside of it.  I’d rather be inspired by Jesus, and who He was, and what He taught.  I’d rather love people, serve people, and help people.  I’d rather my children be surrounded by Godly adults who are gentle with them, who love them, and who teach them the values that we’re working to teach them.

Intellectual Superiority

A final, quick note.  Choosing not to believe in God does not make you intellectually superior.  It does not make you more intelligent.  It does not mean that you ask more questions, or have a better understanding of “science.”

Too many people see a profession of faith and immediately write the person off as stupid, brainwashed, unable to engage in critical thinking.  That is a mistake.  There are many, many intelligent people in the church.  (And not-so-intelligent people everywhere.  Intelligence doesn’t make you a good or bad person, either.)

If your reaction to this post is to write me and my family off, I ask you why?  We believe differently than you do.  We aren’t telling you that you have to believe what we do.  But it isn’t blind.  It’s a careful choice.

Surround yourself with the community that makes the most sense to you.  I choose the church.

Are you raising your kids in the church?  Why or why not?

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13 Comments

  1. I agree with you on so many points in this article, however when you put the word science in quotes, you do the same thing to those of us in the scientific community that you claim the popular view of religion does to believers. It belittles and that is not loving or generous. I saw this and wanted to stop reading, whether or not you accept popular scientific findings as fact it is science not “science”. As a Catholic I’m consistently disappointed by my church, as a Christian I am disappointed by other’s and their actions. I choose to raise my child in the church for the same reasons you do. I would never belittle you for your career passions, please do not belittle mine.

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  2. Thanks for the article. I raised my girls in church and am very, very glad of it. More than that, I am glad that I had a relationship with God that gave me the wisdom, grace and love to raise them well as a single Mom. My focus was always on the long term results of my actions as a Mother, not just the immediate results. I see my girls grown now, and am so grateful that I followed that ‘still small voice’ that guided me as I raised them. And I am grateful for the church family that filled their hearts with faith, hope and love. They have grown to be such wonderful, giving, loving adults. They both saved (and are continuing to save) sex for marriage. My oldest is married with two boys of her own now. She is a school teacher, and my youngest daughter is a graphic designer.
    As I have written in a comment here before. I was also a nature girl and raised them as naturally as I could using a lot of the methods that you use.
    Blessings!

    Reply

  3. I like that you spoke on this topic. I live in a super liberal city and it’s nice to hear how another family is also choosing the church.

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  4. Thank you, Kate, for sharing your thoughts. I enjoy your health posts and don’t usually pay much attention to religious elements – to each his own.

    I found it interesting that you actually researched the “anti-religion view” and examined problems with faith. However, your article is confusing two concepts: being a believer and being part of a religion. One can choose whether to be a part of a religion or not (and your reasons for being part of one mostly make sense, – I especially appreciate the sense of community and share morality that often comes with religious groups).

    However, (perhaps unfortunately), being part of a religion usually requires you to be a believer. I am not sure to what extent that is a choice. I tried to be part of a religion once, and I created sophisticated (I thought then) philosophical arguments for there being a God, or the possibility of one, etc. However, that never made me a “believer.”

    I do not believe that getting drunk is in any way good (or fun), or that any consentual sex is permissible, or that swearwords should be used liberally or in front of children. However, I don’t see how any of the above would lead me to believe in a God.

    Your article outlines why you chose to be part of a religion, – and once again, these are all good reasons. However, I don’t see how believing in God is a choice for you. Just like not believing in one was not a choice for me.

    I claim no intellectual superiority – I’ve followed you long enough for that. And thank you for trying, – but I still don’t understand how an intelligent person like you can believe the “magical fairy tales about a man in the sky”. To admit a possibility that they may, somehow, in some way, be true – maybe, but to actually believe – that’s different.

    Hope you don’t see this as intolerant.

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    • I think the fact that we are here is evidence for a Creator. If you want to know if there is a God, I would suggest researching Intelligent Design.

      Reply

    • Hello Katya. I enjoyed reading your comment and was just curious of your response to a question I have. You stated a difference between admitting a “possibility that they may, somehow, in some way, be true” and “believing.” My question is: In your opinion, what do you think makes the difference in believing ‘there is a possibility’ to full ‘belief’ and faith development?

      Thank you and hope you are doing well 🙂

      Reply

  5. If I am blessed with children I will be raising them according to the Old Gods, not the new. I have no problem with your views, you have made an informed decision as have I.

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  6. I would love to have a church community. But I don’t accept many common church doctrines (eternal hell, condemnation of homosexuality, etc). I see biblical evidence for universal salvation and find the evidence for condemnation of homosexuality to be scant.

    I would probably do well in a liberal church. And I wany to try one. Yet I don’t want my children being taught how to think and feel. And I attended a traditional church for 20 years and I know that this is the case (mostly unintentional I admit). But there is so much implied guilt.

    Also it kind of makes me furious how theologians have known for years that many of Paul’s epistles were not written by him but in his name (yet the bible has not been changed to reflect this knowledge nor is it openly talked about). Worse, 1 Timothy which contains some exceedingly sexist exhortations is one of the epistles not written by Paul, and the part where women are told not to speak in church in a geniune Pauline epistle (Corinthians I believe) is a textual ADDITION (& well known by bi local scholars to be one!!!). & yet it isn’t taken out! And unlike the women caught in adultery there is no side note explaining it is was a scribal addition!!

    Anyway. I only mention these things because I assume you must have read them due to your research. I generally believe if people are happy in their faith there is no reason to mention them! Mind you it is a strike for femininism.

    Anyway, I suppose a very liberal church might work for our family. I will have to try it out. Thank you for your article. You have inspired me to look into some of the mainline denominations in my neighbourhood. 🙂

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  7. Why is “tend to be more accepting of minority /marginalized people “listed under non-believers as though it is a bad thing.It is interesting that you only pointed out negatives for non-believers and only positives for believers. This is a perfect example of why people are moving away from churches. Most people are not anti-religious they are anti-holier than thou. I’m a believer and i tend to avoid Bible Thumpers because most often i find the ones who beat their Bible the most also tend to be the ones who read it the least. I have a Biblical studies degree and it is disgusting how few actually understand what is written.

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  8. Hi Kate,

    I’ve only recently starting reading your blog but you’ve already won me over! Your passion for health and clean living is contagious.

    That being said, this piece is really confusing. I’m not really sure I understand your position from reading this. You’ve made the church sound like a social club instead of a meeting of believers, as if the decision to go to church is one to be made in terms of how it benefits us. If you believe Jesus is the Christ and has truly saved you, then you go to church primarily to glorify Him and secondly to grow in understand of Him through His Word. The other things, conservative values and such, are just a byproduct and shouldn’t be the reason we’re choosing to raise our children in the church.

    Anyway, I understand you don’t have an easy task engaging people from all sorts of different backgrounds. You’re doing a great job but I would love to hear more about your personal convictions whenever you get the chance to write about them.

    All the best!

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  9. I won’t be raising my children in the church BUT Iam a spiritual person and hope they will be too. I’ve always loved learning about religion it’s one of my favourite subjects. It’s in our nature to believe in something greater than ourselves it’s what makes us human and can make us better people. I want my kids to believe in something, anything they want. I’ll tell about Jesus, Buddah & The Angels. I believe in Jesus I just have a different view on who he was. As a parent I will also teach them about karma & to be kind & generous.
    I respect religion even though I question it so much.
    Your church sounds great. I don’t see how anyone can critisize you for raising your children in a loving, positive environment. ☺

    Reply

  10. I haven’t been to church since I was a kid, but I am rethinking things now that I have a family. I like your point about how a church can teach you to be more charitable. I want my kids to grow up to be kind to others, so this is something I’ll have to think about more.

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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