The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXXIII (Absentee Parents; Coping with Cancer)

June 27, 2005 | 13 Comments

A couple that works full time sends the teens to spend the summer at the shore with their grandparents. The parents expect their kids to go to Mass every Sunday, but the grandparents aren’t particularly observant and the kids don’t like to get up dressed up and go to church. The Squad advises that Mass is “non-negotiable” and that if no one will drive the children to church they should walk or ride their bikes. “Summer vacation does not excuse them from attending church,” they huff, and what’s more,

As children reach adolescence, they begin to think for themselves. They often get bored easily and think their parents’ values are old-fashioned. We feel you’re right in expecting your kids to attend Mass. We hope all children develop a close relationship with God.

When children challenge their parents, faith is on the way to becoming a relationship rather than an obligation. Objections are requests for more information. Parents need to be patient. Kids want to know why it’s important to worship God and what faith means. One of your obligations is to tell them what you believe and what the church teaches.

Christians believe that God showed us love by creating the world, revealing himself and by the life, death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. Christians believe we are asked by God to respond by attending Mass and worshiping God as a community. Community exists when all the people are united in prayer and celebrating the Eucharist through participation at the altar.

The most poignant teacher is always the good example of parents.

It’s a good example, indeed, for parents to completely abandon their kids for three months in pursuit of money. Interestingly, mom and dad can’t bothered to spend a few precious moments with their children, but old-fashioned family values somehow require that surrogates be designated to stop their offspring from thinking for themselves — and force them to develop a close relationship with a being that’s as absent from the universe as the parents are from their lives. Sure, the kids will understand “why it’s important to worship God and what faith means” once they witness that quasi-cannibalistic blood sacrifice — all dressed up in fancy clothes while the Supreme Being ogles their young bodies with his x-ray vision.

The Squad answers a second letter from a man coping with cancer, a topic they recently explored here. Once again, they emphasize that “God is not doling out diseases,” while simultaneously suggesting that there’s a reason people get them: “while we don’t always know why disease comes, we do know that someday, when you are called by God to your heavenly home, all will make sense.” I guess that’s an acknowledgement that what’s they’re saying doesn’t make any sense now. Including the part that they “do know” it will make sense later.


13 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXXIII (Absentee Parents; Coping with Cancer)”

  1. Andrea
    June 27th, 2005 @ 2:40 pm

    As children reach adolescence, they begin to think for themselves.
    Wow, is he saying that kids grow up? Because that would be so weird. If not, perhaps he’s implying that since the parents are missing from the kids’ lives they have no choice but to think for themselves…

    When children challenge their parents, faith is on the way to becoming a relationship rather than an obligation.
    What is that supposed to mean? Doesn’t he mean it the opposite way around, that when kids challenge their parents it’s due to them feeling obligated to participate in something they don’t believe in?

  2. Seth
    June 27th, 2005 @ 2:50 pm

    “As children reach adolescence, they begin to think for themselves”
    Gasp! We don’t want that to happen! Quick! To the Godmobile! *snazzy gospel music*

  3. boywonder
    June 27th, 2005 @ 3:23 pm

    If the parents care that much about church attendance, they should take their kids there personally;otherwise don’t expect the relatives you stuck them with to give a flying rat’s ass sideways about your superstitions.

  4. Frank
    June 27th, 2005 @ 3:34 pm

    The squad’s statement, “As children reach adolescence they begin to think for themselves” did not, in any way, imply it was a bad thing. The squad was merely pointing out that kids will begin to want to know the “why” in things and that discussing those answers is a good thing. There was no implication of trying to stop the kids from thinking.

    However, Seth, I’d have to say your comment is cutesy-funny, although it shows you really missed the squad’s point on this one.

    As for my children, I teach them the things of the Christian faith and never dodge an honest question. I teach them to think for themselves and to ask the hard questions. Christianity has nothing to fear from honest inquiry.

  5. GeneralZod
    June 27th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    “Christianity has nothing to fear from honest inquiry.”

    . . . except for lower attendance at churches.

  6. Rufus
    June 27th, 2005 @ 4:25 pm

    The most poignant teacher is always the good example of parents.

    The parents in this story should learn from the good example of their own parents: don’t go to church!

  7. AK
    June 27th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm


    I respectfully disagree with both your and the God Squads assessment of honest intellectual inquiry. The church, indeed all superstitions (including Christianty), has much to fear from honest intellectual inquiry.

    You see, honest intellectual inquiry is exactly what spreads atheism. Honest intellectual inquiry (HII) is the scientists and materialists best friend, and is the arch-enemy of faith. HII is a big part of what doubled the nonreligious population in America in just 10 years. HII is what causes academia to believe in God much less than the general population. Education and independent thought are, at their foundation, directly at odds with the principles of faith.

    But Frank, I applaud you for standing up for independent thought, even though it will be the undoing of your superstitious institutions. Clearly, you have many rational pro-human and anti-dogma beliefs within you. This general awareness, general educational desire, is what makes humanity progress from igorant cavemen to intelligent technological problem-solving beings. But this progress can only come at the expense of superstition and the detriment of dogmatic faith-based institutions.

  8. Seth
    June 27th, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

    Yeah, Frank, I was purposefully taking the quote out of context, though I don’t think it actually is quite as harmless as you’re saying.

  9. glenstonecottage
    June 27th, 2005 @ 5:51 pm

    we do know that someday, when you are called by God to your heavenly home, all will make sense.

  10. simbol
    June 27th, 2005 @ 11:23 pm

    “Christianity has nothing to fear from honest inquiry”

    You are right.

    Catholics, the main branch of christians have quitted the natural world and have confined itself to the vaporous spiritual world.
    Gone are the times when christians explained the natural and spritual world. In the natural world science put the rules, In the spiritual world you put the rules and don’t need to pass the filters of science, logic and coherence, you are shielded. So the only who can do a honest inquiry are yourselves and you surely will pass the exam. That usually happen when one is a the same time the lawmaker, the defendant and he jury

  11. Nicole
    June 28th, 2005 @ 9:01 am

    This is the statement that disturbed me.

    “Objections are requests for more information.”

    Apparently the church thinks ‘no’ doesn’t mean no…When someone says that they don’t want to go to your church, it means they don’t want to go, not “please give me a bunch of pamphlets and lectures on your beliefs.”

  12. Andy
    June 29th, 2005 @ 9:56 am

    Yeah… any ultimatum the parents make will simply encourage the children to lie.

    “Did you guys go to church like we demanded?”
    “Uh… sure, it was real inspirational and stuff.”

  13. PhalsePhrophet
    June 30th, 2005 @ 11:44 pm

    The Squad said:

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