Why I'm Raising My Children to Believe in God

Intentional Mama is a blog that focuses on parenting, French language learning, and raising bilingual children; it exists to inspire, encourage, and inform. At times I include references to God in my writing here, but I recognize that you may be coming from different points of view. Nonetheless, in honor of Easter this weekend, here are three explanations as to why I'm raising my children to believe in God:

  • The beauty and design evident in the world: I'm thirty-four years into this life, and I still look at the world with wonder.  From the veined leaves and shapely flowers of a dogwood tree to the creative capabilities of humans, I cannot view this display of life without believing that it was designed by God.

Pink Dogwood by Martin LaBar

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (The Bible, Romans 1:20) 

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888

  • The Bible's fitting explanations for human tendencies and world issues: As beautiful as this world is, life holds undeniable pain and brokenness. We know that it wasn't meant to be this way and we long for joyful lives in a world restored to peace. The Bible gives clear, logical explanations as to why we are bent towards selfishness and why our lives include suffering. It answers the questions of life in ways that make sense, though these truths aren't necessarily what my sinful heart wants to hear.

Three Break-Ups by Burhan Dogancay

(Spoiler alert: We're forgiven if we admit our brokenness, and It gets better--the end of the Bible explains that God will restore the Earth to its former peace and glory, and those who know and follow God will live meaningful, joyful lives with Him here.)

  • Jesus' claims to be the Son of God and the Way to life: A lot of people believe that Jesus was a good teacher who taught nice things. But Jesus specifically claimed to be the Son of God, saying, "I am the Way, yes, and the Truth, and the Life. No one can get to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). In various passages in the Bible, we see that Jesus was a radical speaker of truth who shocked and angered religious leaders. Theologian C.S. Lewis says of Jesus,

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic . . . or the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. . . Let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

I have atheist friends (whom I love dearly!) and I respect their right to choose their beliefs. (After all, choice is at the heart of God's love for us--He doesn't force us to choose Him.) But when I examine the points above, I'm convinced that my children deserve to have a relationship with the One who created them. God adores us! So it's my joy as a parent to introduce my children to the God who loves them.

My daughter with her little Easter garden project

What if they reject God's existence?

The Bible says, "Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it" (Proverbs 22:6). This is a general truth; it's not a promise. My children have the choice, of course, to respond to God and listen to His voice and direction, or to reject Him. God's love is generous enough to allow us to choose to walk away from Him. As a parent, and later as a their peer, I can only speak and share the truth about God and pray that they accept it and choose to love Him and others in response.

"O Lord, your glory fills the earth. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk and atheist babble. When I look at the night skies and see the work of your fingers--I cannot understand how you can bother with us, to pay any attention to us! And yet you have made us only a little lower than the angels and placed a crown of glory and honor upon us. You have put us in charge of your world. God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world." (Psalm 8, The Message & New Living translations)

Dear friends, chers amis, I hope you have a meaningful Easter weekend. Here's a music video to speak to your heart if you find this topic hitting home. (The song is Though You Slay Me by Shane and Shane; I included some lyrics below.)

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

How has raising a child changed the way you view God? What experience has most impacted the way that you view Jesus?