Thank you for the support and well wishes. I still can't go into the situation, but I do appreciate the time and ideas people have given me. It will still be a while before I get this all figured out. I really don't want to give up this blog. It's been a life-line for me for the last year or so. It's been very rewarding to hear people say that I give them hope for secularism in this country or raising secular children. But, as I said in a prior post, if it hurts my family, then I will stop. There's nothing more precious to me than my family. For right now, it's going to be impersonal, but hopefully still interesting reading.
This letter caught my interest. It was in a Seattle newspaper. It's a question and answer piece will Billy Graham.
Pray for daughter who doesn't believe
By DR. BILLY GRAHAM
DEAR DR. GRAHAM:
Our 17-year-old daughter says she doesn't believe in God anymore, and now she
even refuses to go to church with us. When we try to talk with her about it we
just end up in an argument. What can we do? -- Mrs. S.McD.
How do you get to be the parent of a 17 year old and not know how to parent? Of course, my answer would be that this young woman needs to be allowed to start making choices on her own. But, I suspect the good doctor's response will be different.
DEAR MRS. S.McD.: The most important thing you can do is to pray for her --
because only God can overcome her spiritual resistance and draw her back to
Himself. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws
him" (John 6:44).
He's talking about this young woman as if she's a rebellious teen. What evidence does he have for this? And, what good does praying for her do? If I were a theist parent, then I would imagine sitting her down for a deep chat about her reasons for doing this would be a primary goal.
But you also can let her know you that love her, despite your differences -- and
by doing so, you'll be showing her that God loves her also.
How big of them. Gee...I guess it's better than saying "Take her out back and make her hold a Bible in her out-stretched hands for two hours." That you'd have to tell someone to let their children know they love them is kind of bizarre.
Don't let your discussions degenerate into arguments; this will only make
her more determined to keep her position. In other words, don't let this become
a test of wills between you -- your will battling against her will -- because
almost the last thing she wants to do right now is admit she is wrong. The Bible
says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger"
Again, "a test of will"? Maybe she has genuine, logical reasons for not wanting to go to church or worship Jesus/God. I think it's ironic that these people are saying that the girl may "not want to admit (she) is wrong". I suspect that if her parents were more open to the idea that they, themselves, were wrong, then this whole scenario would be a lot more productive.
Let me encourage you also to ask her why she has come to this conclusion. Has someone influenced her? Has she been reading one of the recent books on atheism? Atheism has become something of a fad in recent years, and this may have influenced her. And, just how much will does a parent have on a seventeen year old?
But the real reason, I suspect, is that she wants to run her own life -- and
that's far easier to do if you push God out of your life.
Oh, yes. That must be it. Not only is she a willful, stubborn teen, but she also has decided that a paradigm shift is easier than complacency. Not! How the heck is it "far easier" to run your life if you push God out of the way and why would that be a bad thing? Isn't the point of growing up, in part, finding your way independently and making choices about what you truly believe as opposed to walking the same paths you did as a child?
Help her realize what she's doing, and then warn her of the dangers. Above all,
urge her to look at Christ, for He alone came "to bring you to God" (1 Peter
The dangers of what? Thinking for herself and having the courage to tell her parents that she's not convinced that Christianity is for her? These people don't get it. How can we "look to God" when we have no reason to believe he exists? It's like saying you should "look to Santa" to find the meaning of Christmas. That works pretty well as an allegory, but it's useless advice in practice. If God alone can bring someone to God, then why not just tell the parents to leave her alone?