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Advantage or Disadvantage?

September 10, 2007

questns.gifI became a Christ Follower on August 19, 1990. I did not grow up in a religious home or anywhere near a religious environment. Quite the opposite in fact. I came to follow Christ on my very own as a young adult. I’ve heard many discuss that those who grew up in a “Christian” home have no choice in the matter so therefor become “Christians” because that’s what they were taught. I did not grow up in a Christian home and later decided to become one – so that shoots holes in that line of thinking for me because I left to make a life decision that was completely different than anything I was ever exposed to.

What about other countries? What about growing up Muslim? That’s a whole different religion entirely that follows the religion of Islam. If you who are reading this believe in God – what do you feel or think about being trained or taught to believe in the teachings of Islam or any other religion outside of Christianity? From a Christian perspective do you think there is a disadvantage? Is it unfair? What are your thoughts?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2007 9:53 am

    I dont think it is unfair to be taught anything as a child in religion…we all come to an age where we need to choose for our selves. I was raised Christian, and walked away for 25 years…b/c I didn’t get it…and I wanted more for me. Funny after everything I came back, but not to the same exact thing..this in not religion I am living, it is relationship. God brings hearts to himself from all religions..if there heart is searching for truth, i think HE is what they find. πŸ˜‰ have a good day!

  2. September 10, 2007 10:03 am

    Statistically speaking you are most likely to follow the same faith as your parents. In this respect you are likely to be Muslim if raised in a Muslim country. As with all things statistical though there will always be those who buck the trend and do things differently (like you).

    In my own home religion isn’t something that is really discussed. When the children ask me what I believe in then I tell them and when they tell me something that they have been told I question them to see if they have thought it out or merely repeated something that they have heard.

    Mind you, I do this with everyone.

    I do think it is dangerous to indoctrinate a child into a religion before they have the ability to question if it is the right thing for them. Discuss your beliefs, certainly, but draw the line at making your belief system your child’s.

    I know it’s not a Christian perspective but I’d thought I’d butt in anyway, πŸ˜‰

  3. September 10, 2007 10:22 am

    Hover, yes, you do do this with everyone and you do it respectfully. It’s one of the things I appreciate about you most.

    I personally think that no matter what, once a child has “the ability to question if it’s the right thing for them” they can still choose, once able, to decide if it still is indeed the right choice for them. Make sense? Like me in my family, growing up, religion and God were mocked, discussed as useless and pointless, “we are our own gods” I was told. They weren’t indoctrinating religion into me at all as a young one unprepared or able to make a decision myself. And yet, I still grew to decipher, for me, what was right or wrong and ultimately chose the complete opposite of what I grew up being taught and exposed too.

  4. godsgal1 permalink
    September 10, 2007 11:04 am

    I believe God and His word will reach every tribe and nation. Everyone will have a choice. I guess I just don’t see the difference in being raised in a different country and having a disadvantage when every religion is taught here, and yet people still make the choice to not believe. I think many of us were raised with religion, but like you said, in His perfect timing we heard His voice and chose Him. Everyone has that opportunity. Just my opinion.

  5. September 10, 2007 12:06 pm

    I believe that God can bring anyone to himself in any way that he chooses. I think that deep questions such as this one can spark many a debate about the “loving” God we serve. Questions such as why would God allow someone to grow up in a home that taught/commanded them to follow a way other than His way? I believe that my God is a loving God and that he will extend his hand to everyone … it is their choice to follow. Some of us may have a harder time finding the truth than others but truth is extended to all and offered freely to all. Our roads of finding THE TRUTH may be different becaause of our up-bringing … but God will not turn anyone away who seeks him. He will draw and it is our decision as to what we follow. If we choose to follow another way or if we will follow Him and only Him. I know that our homes can begin the way our thoughts go when it comes to religion but I believe that even the one who is deep into his beliefs can be given truth and can decide to believe. It may be harder to believe but that person can search and by searching the Bible promises that they will find Him when they search with all their heart.

  6. September 10, 2007 1:38 pm

    I agree Heather that a question like this can cause a debate questioning God’s love – and I would expect that from a Christians point of view, like yours, that would not be questioned. But it is a questions that non-believers have. They just can’t understand it.

    I believe like the scriptures say that the TRUTH about God is known instinctively – so therefor we have no excuse for not knowing Him.

    I think your answer is a good one. I think there are opportunities around everyone and everywhere to see, feel, hear and know God. It all comes down to choice and a willingness to seek Him out. And people do question why God would allow some to grow up in homes or countries that teach and insist on worshiping other gods or a religion as a lifestyle – it seems to be an unfair disadvantage. My hope for this post is to get others opinions or thoughts on this matter so that we can be better equipped to address such questions.

  7. September 10, 2007 2:00 pm

    I think St.Paul sums it up in Romans 2:14-14

    When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.

    For us to think that God’s true nature, who we call Jesus, cannot be revealed to non-Christians shows a lack of appreciation for who God is.

  8. September 10, 2007 2:15 pm

    Christian, I don’t know if I just misunderstood your last statement – But i definitely do not believe that God cannot be revealed to non-Christians. I was once a non-Christian so He obviously has been revealed…which is why I referred to the Romans text about the truth of God being known instinctively…so I guess we see eye to eye on this.

    Thanks for your comment!

  9. September 10, 2007 2:29 pm

    Sorry, poor wording. I hit ‘submit’ before I could correct. What I meant was that Jesus may very well reveal his nature, and develop a relationship with people of other faiths. I know that smacks of heresy to some (I wear that moniker with pride, btw) but I think Paul is speaking to this.

    I used to be a fundamentalist, a real hyper-active wide-eyed born-again baby (not pretty when someone is in their mid forties). I was constantly struck by how my pagan next door neighbor, a Muslim woman, resembled Jesus more than the majority of my church friends. After all, she kept reaching out to us in charitable ways with no strings attached, more than could be said for us, with our evangelical agendas. She could have followed her more fundamental religious strictures and avoided us, the infidels.

    CS Lewis says that he thinks that many Christians wil be surprised to find out that there were pagans out there who were much closer to Christ than they were. Jesus is pretty explicit about this.

  10. September 10, 2007 3:00 pm

    In response to hoverfrog’s comments…

    Children learn what they live, so it’s pretty much impossible to not teach your children what you believe. If someone follows Christ, then her life will show that. A child will see her parent serving others and loving others outside herself.

    If someone follows Allah, her life will show that, too. Depending on the country, she will possibly wear a burka and pray facing Mecca 3-5 times a day.

    For people who don’t practice such things, the lesson that will be taught to their children is that religion isn’t important enough to really follow, and that it is not necessary to follow belief with action. That is still “indoctrinating” a child.

    It’s impossible to for children to not be heavily influenced by whatever does (or doesn’t) go on in their homes.

    So, Tam, your original question. Do people raised in a non-Christian home have a disadvantage? Yes. But so do people raised in a “Christian” home where Christianity is just a word and faith is equivalent to going to church on Sunday mornings.

  11. September 10, 2007 3:05 pm

    I like this discussion.

    Christian – you hit it on the head. The difference is JESUS. That is what makes Christianity different than all other “religions”. I believe there are people of different faiths(Buddhism, Islam, etc,) who find Jesus, but I do not believe they stay within that belief if they truly find him.

    Who Jesus really is goes against what most religions claim Him to be. I believe that anyone can exhibit who Jesus is, because there are many traits that people share. The difference comes when they choose to follow and believe in who Jesus was completely.

    Tam – I am sure we agree on this. But, I agree with hoverfrog that it is more likely for one to grow up being taught the beliefs of their parents…whatever religion, but that can become a very broad statement if we are not careful. If people are only Christians or Muslims or Buddhists because of their family, than we are all brain washed and that is sad. people need to be taught to search and question. If they are not, than they are not in any facet of life and that scares me. that is what breeds extremists.

    I do think however, this is no longer an argument for America. If you grow up in a middle eastern country, it is likely you will be taught to be Muslim. America is not a Christian nation. The parents bringing up small children now are not those that have been brought up in the church. It will be interesting to see what happens to Christianity over the next 20 years based on that fact.

  12. September 10, 2007 3:14 pm

    sarahmchia – Your last paragraph is ABSOLUTELY the truth.

  13. September 10, 2007 3:56 pm

    I think it could be said that what we have in the US is not exactly a religion that follows Jesus. It’s more of an American Religion, that incorporates elements of the “American Dream” into its theology. Hard work, patriotism and those elements that promote worldly success. At least we are not so unsophisticated as to begin erecting Asherah poles.

  14. September 10, 2007 4:21 pm

    Christian – I think you are right. Christianity as most of America sees it, doesn’t really look anything like the Christianity spoken of in the Bible.

  15. September 10, 2007 10:31 pm

    Nice discussion you guys:)

    I think what it all comes down to, and everyone is sort of already saying it, is religion vs. beliefs…
    vs. relationship..

    I am 26yrs, I have been attending a United Methodist church since I was 17, and my parents have always frowned on this, because I was raised Catholic.

    My mom won’t step foot in my church.

    It’s pretty sad, because people there know her through me, and have prayed for her more times then could count.

    Religion is a wall in my opinion, it is what keeps us from Jesus, when all that is taught is the bible in the first place, but not the life application.

    It makes me think of the story of the ten commandments, when the pharoah’s first born died, and he tried to make his god raise him from the dead, and nothing happened….

    Religion doesn’t bring miracles.

    Oh my, I could go on and on, thanks Tam:)

  16. September 11, 2007 4:00 am

    Tam – I agree. It is ONE of the MANY questions I had before I decided to believe in Jesus. What I finally boiled it down to was that God is a God of Love and he will show himself to each person in a way they can understand. He is a good God who loves all and wishes than none shall perish. I understand the question all too well as I had so many myself.

  17. September 12, 2007 8:23 am

    “I do think it is dangerous to indoctrinate a child into a religion before they have the ability to question if it is the right thing for them. Discuss your beliefs, certainly, but draw the line at making your belief system your child’s.”

    Yeah this drivel is absolute nonsense.

    You certainly train and “indoctrinate” your child into the belief that you love them. You don’t wait for them to ask to say, “I love you.” You do it with more than words and this truth is taught to them through your lifestyle.

    In this way my children have learned the truth of God with out me even trying. Although I’m certainly intentional as well in matters of both showing my love and showing God’s.

    I agree with Brent: Sarah’s last paragraph is the absolute truth. That girl is one smart cookie πŸ™‚

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