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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Free to Choose

"I want my child to be free to choose his own religion."

It's something I've heard parents say so often. Right before they announce that in order for that to happen they're going to keep their child in ignorance of what different religions teach and believe. Which is where their desire for their child's free choice disappears. 

There is no such thing as choice if you don't have all the information necessary to make a choice. 

And it's funny, but I find that the majority of people who talk this sort of nonsense are the same ones who make a huge fuss if they themselves are expected to make decisions without having access to all the knowledge they need. 

Is it really a free choice to leave your baby to cry it out if you've not been told of the psychological and physical dangers of the method?
Is it really a free choice to formula feed if you've only been given false information about its similarity to breast milk and received no support to do otherwise?
Is it really a free choice to vote for an MP who hasn't provided honest answers to questions on policy?
Is it really a free choice to eat what you're given at dinner simply because you've been told there is no other food in the house?

And that's what this comes down to - dishonesty and coercion and mistrust. If we want our children to grow up to freely choose their own religion or lack thereof, we have an obligation to allow them to meet and mix with members of all sorts of religions and none; to learn about beliefs that differ from our own; to trust that they will follow their own hearts and to allow them to do so. Depriving our children of information and experience is to make them ignorant, and we live in an age where ignorance is unforgivable, for there is no end of information at our fingertips.

I want my children to choose to follow Christ, as the hubby and I do, but I do not want to force that upon them. They will experience life in a Christian family, but in order for them to have the free choice, I will ensure they have ample opportunities to discover and explore the teachings and beliefs of other religions. 

When God created us, He gave us free will. It was a dangerous move. With that one decision, He enabled us to choose to live without Him. But He also ensured that all those who love Him do so through their own freedom. Love that is forced is not love.

Can we not trust and respect our children in the same way?

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