Monday, April 05, 2010
I mentioned in the comments section of a recent post that the "outcomes" a belief produces has become very important to me. If a belief is consistently producing bad outcomes, it probably isn't worth having. Exclusivism, it seems to me, produces a lot of bad outcomes.
I believe exclusivism has particularly nasty effects in parenting. I heard the conversations of two parents this week whose children were "no longer following the Lord". The fear, the panic, the angst. Each were mentioning ways that they are "working" on their children. Getting them books, sending them audio sermons, letting the son/daughter know that the church is praying for them.
In some cases, the relationship completely breaks down between the child and parent. The parent does not know how to deal with their child leaving the faith. So they pester, or sulk, or criticize. Soon the son or daughter quits calling because there seems to be no getting around that topic.
I read this in blogs all the time. One woman who left her faith shared part of a text conversation she had with her mother. In it, the mother tells the daughter that she still "considers her part of the fold". The daughter once again repeats that she has left that faith. The mother replies that it hurts her when the daughter says that.
I think that reaction, like much of religion, is about control.
My wife and I were discussing this on our way home from church and, as usual, our daughter was tuned in to our conversation.
"It sounds like their acceptance of their children is very conditional," Kathryn piped in with a touch of questioning concern in her voice.
After I pulled into our driveway, I turned and tried to allay her fears.
"Sweetheart, whether you become Taoist or Atheist, Buddhist or Baptist; none of that will ever affect how much I support and love you! You can choose what you want, and I will back you."
My daughter smiled from ear to ear, then threw her arms around me. "I love you Daddy!"
She was happy because she knew she was FREE!
My children mean more to me than any religion - every day of the week and twice on Sunday!
Posted by Andrew at 5:31 PM