In a recent video released by PragerU (below), psychoanalyst and author Erica Komisar made the argument that children should be exposed to God and religion, even if the parents aren’t believers themselves.
She explains that, as a therapist, she is often asked questions about anxiety and depression and why they are so prevalent in children and teenagers. She argues that one explanation for it, which is “almost surely the most neglected” is declining interest in God and religion in the U.S.
Komisar cited a Harvard study which shows that children who attended a religious service at least once a week “scored higher on psychological well-being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness.” This weekly attendance was also linked to “higher rates of volunteerism, lower probabilities of both drug use and early sexual initiation, and a sense of purpose.”
Regardless of the psychological benefits of weekly church attendance, there has been a 20% decrease in weekly religious attendance in the last 20 years. And in 2018, the American Family Survey showed that “nearly half of adults under 30 do not identify with any religion.”
Komisar commented on those surveys saying: “From a purely psychological point of view, this is not a good trend. Nihilism – the belief in nothing – is a rich fertilizer for anxiety and depression.”
As a result, Komisar argues that parents ought to expose their children to God and religion, even if those parents are themselves unbelievers.
Generally, I agree with Komisar and also believe that people ought to come to faith, in part, because of the moral and psychological benefits it would bring.
However, my one issue with JUST making this argument is that it’s no different from arguing that religion is a crutch for people to deal with their daily lives. This is an argument I often hear from unbelievers “Oh, you just believe in this pie-in-the-sky nonsense because you can’t properly deal with the daily stresses of life. It’s just a crutch for you and those who don’t believe in this unscientific nonsense have more mental/intellectual maturity.”
Obviously, such an argument is false and rooted in a misconception of religion, but it’s arguments like the one Komisar gives that sort of fuel that. Again, I am not disagreeing with Komisar on this, and I even understand why she’s making this argument. She’s a therapist, after all, and she wants to help people be better off psychologically and recognizes the mental benefits of religion, belief in God and regular church attendance.
I’m not taking away those benefits because they are, of course, very much there. If you’re going to teach your child something, better it be that God has them in the palm of His hands than that the world is on fire and they might not even get to see their adulthood.
However, to only argue in favor of religion and God in this manner is to lower them to crutches to deal with the truth of life. It ignores the very fact that there can BE no life in the first place without God.
I’m not saying that that’s the argument Komisar is making whatsoever, or that she believes that this is the only purpose of belief in God, but it does have the issue of giving those unbelievers credence they neither have nor deserve.
Parents should 100% expose their children to God and religion even if they don’t believe themselves. Komisar actually makes a fantastic point in the video that there are parents who say “I want to give my children the ability to choose what they believe themselves rather than force anything on them.” If that’s the case, then, Komisar argues, shouldn’t you be more willing to expose your children to God and religion? How else are they to make a free and informed decision about what to believe if they aren’t exposed to such options?
And that is a great argument. For parents to say that they don’t want to force a religion on their children, and so don’t expose their children to religion, because they want their children to choose for themselves is like parents saying they don’t want to force children to eat a particular type of food, so they don’t expose their children to that food, because they want them to choose for themselves.
Ultimately, they are accomplishing the exact OPPOSITE of what they claim to want. They are making that choice for their children to NOT be part of a religion by depriving them of the experience of it.
After all, who chooses to be part of something they have no idea what it is about? “I don’t want to tell my child what he should do when he grows up, so I’m not letting him do anything in any field so he can choose for himself what he wants to do.” That is a dumbass argument when put that way, and yet, it’s the standard operating procedure for some parents when it comes to their child’s beliefs?
If you expose children to nothing, they will know nothing and believe in nothing.
But at any rate, like I said, I generally agree with what Komisar is saying about God, religion and the psychological benefits of both. They definitely are true, and the benefits can be seen in anyone who is actually faithful to God.
God teaches us a myriad of things throughout the Bible, from that which He commands of us in the Ten Commandments to what Jesus said was the most important commandment “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind,” as well as another commandment which He said was equally as important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are told by God, who is the author of morality (among all other things except for evil and sin), what is good, what is profitable, what must be done and how, all for His glory and His kingdom.
I am reminded of a guest speaker I once had for my Religion class in high school who was an atheist but argued in favor of the teachings of the Bible because they were, according to him, “good moral teachings.”
They certainly are, and had I known then what I know now, I would have made the same argument I had been making earlier in this article. God is, indeed, moral as He is the author of morality. We are taught that there is no sin in Him and He is not the author of sin and evil. So the speaker wasn’t technically wrong in that regard. However, the Bible is FAR more than just a guide on morality and God and religion are far more than just safe havens from the stresses and harshness of life.
The Bible is God’s very word to us. It depicts the history of not just the Jewish and Christian faiths, but of the entire world and its existence. It shows us who the author of the universe is, with the declaration of the very first words of the Bible being: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” showing the reader that before everything was, He IS. He is eternal, He is omnipotent, He is omniscient, omnipresent, and the Creator and originator of all.
He created the heavens and the earth, all living things on it, above it and underneath it, including mankind. Mankind then was deceived by Satan into rebelling against God, and thusly was punished, along with Satan, for such rebellion, taking away their eternal life and their place in paradise.
Following that, mankind continued to rebel against God, sinning and sinning and being evil by nature, which was once not the case but the punishment by God for their original sin of disbelief in God’s word that if they eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they would surely die.
Despite this continual, natural sinfulness and rebellion, God sent His only begotten Son to, among other things, die on the cross for the sins of the people who believe in Him, that they should not perish but have eternal life. God had absolutely no obligation whatsoever to do that, and would be perfectly justified to have sent no savior at all and punish all mankind for its sins. And yet, He did send us a savior, because He is a kind and merciful God who loves His children.
When you understand this about God, one cannot possibly relegate Him to being a mere comforter (though He is a comforter) of the downtrodden, anxious and depressed. One cannot relegate His word as mere good guidance for how to live a moral life. One cannot relegate belief in Him and His word to just a crutch for dealing with life.
Again, I don’t think that’s what Komisar was saying, at all, and don’t think she believes this is all religion and God are good for. And again, I agree with almost everything she said in that PragerU video, with my biggest gripe being that at one point, she said “[B]etter for kids to use their imagination constructing something positive – such as a God who cares about us – than the dark, nihilistic idea that there’s no creator and protector…” which is problematic because it implies that God is someone we create ourselves, according to our desires. God cannot be created by people and a “god” created by evil people will permit evil deeds. I understand what she was trying to say here, but it’s rather problematic how she put it together.
God is a comforter and a protector, yes, but it’s far more beneficial and important to know that He is the Master of the Universe and not a single thing that happens happens without His permission. Even Satan, in all his evil deeds, is held back by God in his wickedness.
God created the world. God controls the world. God created you. God is in control of your life and has you in the palm of His hands. More than just a good psychological answer to the stresses of life, He is the Lord Almighty, in whom people can find comfort. And they can find said comfort precisely because of who He is, not because of who we want Him to be.
Yes, parents ought to expose their children to God and religion, even if they don’t themselves believe, and even if they only do it for the psychological benefits of it, because it can lead to a calling from the Lord to Him. But it is also very important to understand WHY God is even a good source of comfort to begin with and that begins with understanding WHO He is.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
We bring you the TRUTH that the Left denies you. You'll live a more joyful and victorious life, because the Truth will set you free...