Viewpoint from Rev Chris Tinker 01/06/2018
Rev Chris Tinker
Rector, St Nicholas' Church, Bradwell
as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
I often hear parents say that they don’t want to force any belief on their children, but for them to choose for themselves as they grow up. It’s a really great sentiment, wanting our children to be open-minded and to explore the world for themselves. But there’s always two things that strike me
The first is that, in order to choose for themselves, our children need to be able to discover things for themselves in the first place. We can’t expect them to choose food for themselves without ever exposing them to a choice of food, or to choose a book for themselves without giving them some books to choose from. It’s the same with belief, we can say that we want them to choose God for themselves, but if we never give them the opportunity to find out about Him, they are in no position to make an informed choice
But secondly, usually with other choices, we make sure that we are informed first. With food, we check what is and isn’t edible, we give them a choice of foods that we would approve of, and have checked out for ourselves. With books, or tv programmes, or activities, we usually give some thought to them before expecting our children to choose
It always seems slightly strange to me that parents should want their children to choose what to believe about God, without thinking about it themselves. After all, if God doesn’t exist, why would we want our children to believe in a fantasy? But if He does exist, why wouldn’t we want our children to know as much as possible about Him and what He is like? And wouldn’t we want to know the truth for ourselves?
How carefully have you checked things out? Are you as sure as you can be?
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