Telling Children about God
translation Louise Thunin
Tell your children that God is an all-powerful Father, and they’ll pray for a good grade in school and a sunny weekend. Then they’ll lose their “faith”, because it doesn’t work. Or they’ll ask God to do things in their stead, and they’ll remain childish.
Tell your children that God is the creator of heaven and earth, that He made the Big Bang and the galaxies, and they’ll turn away, thinking of other things, because such a faraway and inaccessible God won’t interest them.
Tell your children that God is love and that He protects us. When they see what happens, they’ll turn away from such an illusory God.
Tell your children that God sees everything, is on the lookout for wrongdoing, knows even our most secret thoughts, and you’ll create anxious neurotics mired in guilt.
Tell your children that your religion is the only true one, and that others ought to subscribe to it, and you’ll alienate them from their neighbors.
Tell your children that God is in the church service (or at Mass), that we meet Him by singing hymns, by saying prayers and by taking communion, and you’ll teach them to locate God in a sacred universe far distant from the everyday reality in which they are nonetheless called upon to build tomorrow’s society.
Tell your children that God doesn’t exist, that we are alone and responsible for ourselves, and they will remain unaware of the great cosmic energy that unites all of nature, humanity and each one of us in a great fraternity of life, leading us away from selfishness and violence.
But tell your children that the strength that abides in them, the courage that sustains them, the sense of brotherhood that makes them likable, the smile that illuminates them, the energy that renders them capable of right action, all these well forth continuously in their hearts from the depths of a secret source within them that we call God, and they will enter fearlessly with Him into a life of hope and love.
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