Brain-washing, infringing on ones right to openly choose, alienation, division, or a hypocritical existence, call it what you like, but my little girl will be growing up in a Christian home.
Granted, at times the church has let us Christians and our reputation down and yes wars have been fought in the name of this god or that deity; I've heard the arguments before. Man is flesh, and therefore has fallen. I have no intention of teaching my daughter the art of war, the hatred possessed by extremists or the fallen few who have taken advantage of children in their care. Mine shall be one of Christlikeness.
Religious or not, the historical figure who was and is Jesus Christ is still praised to this day and, at the very least, if not praised, acknowledged. My choice is to believe that He is the Son of God and the Risen King. These are views which I will share with my daughter in the hope that she too will learn to love and follow Christ. This is neither blind indoctrination nor is it answering the call of some extremist group in preparation for religion-based warfare. It is following a life of humility, empathy and the acknowledgement of others beyond oneself. In a society where there is a constant sense of entitlement, the thought of having to adopt a faith or belief in something which requires just that, faith, seems absurd. - "I'm entitled to go to a happier place when I die, and no one will say otherwise". In the words of Matthew Thiessen: The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. Authors, politicians and members of the general public are unsettled by the fact that the UK prime minister has announced his devotion to the Christian faith. "How dare he cause division and segregation by laying claim to one faith, isolating the importance of the rest" they seem to be crying out in unison. People want their cake and to eat it. The recognition of gay rights, for example, has advanced extraordinarily over the past few years; the legalisation of same-sex marriages being the latest. Whilst many "non-believers" praise the government for the freedom and equality it has now granted same-sex couples, they are quick to forget that although the practice of homosexuality is deemed a taboo in the bible, it is only a Christian state that would adopt this level of inclusion. It is the mere fact that Britain was founded on Christian principles which allows for the inclusion of other faiths and alternative lifestyles. Look at the world around you - would other religions allow the freedom of open practice of other faiths and the worship of other gods? Would other religions allow for practices outside of their holy book to be passed in the law? It is highly doubtful. This does not make Christianity and Christians weak, in fact it does the opposite, it recognises the importance of inclusion, an existence without judgment, an air of Christlikeness which is steeped in strength. Christ was never exclusive. Sure, some will argue that redefining things such as marriage go against the Holy Book and therefore undermines Christian tradition, and they are right, but what message are we sending as Christians if we judge, rebuke and alienate those who do not share our belief system? It was the understanding beyond common man which was Christ’s biggest threat to the authorities; seeing the bigger picture and incorporating love is the way I hope to rear my child.
It is these values which I will aim to instil in my daughter. It is a home which teaches what we believe to be the truth, and the practice thereof. She will never be forced into a belief system nor will she be badgered to follow a faith which she doesn’t believe in, but rather, like all religions, encouraged to adopt a core set of morals which abide by the law of the land and encourage interest beyond oneself; this is both amicable and desirable. There is no shame in that, nor should there be. Religion brings with it boundaries and instils a cognitive mindset which encourages societies to be both equal and fair. Having no belief system is a belief system in itself, and this idea that our modern liberal democracy was brought on by the European Enlightenment period only begs one to challenge it. Look a little closer, this enlightenment is little more than Christianity without the talk of God. Why is it frowned upon for a Christian to be a little assertive in his/her beliefs? Why is it that the idea of atheism and the like are insulted or threatened by this?
I am no expert in this field, but I have no shame in announcing that my child (and God-willing children) will be brought up in a Christian home. They will be taught to love irrespective of faith or religion, to appreciate views other than their own and to contribute to society in the most positive way. So why should it matter to the secular world whether my child or any other child is brought up with a faith rooted in religion or whether a world leader announces who he chooses to follow? What is prevalent in this modern-day, Western world are children who are reared without direction, without a core belief system and flexible morals – we are not talking about extremist beliefs here, merely following and implementing traditional religious views which whether Christian, Islam or Hindu, all encourage unity, empathy and an interest beyond one’s own self. Selflessness is a rarity in this age, and Christ personifies that. I will be only too proud to have a daughter who puts others before her; one who possesses awareness beyond her own wants and needs.