Hi there! So, here I am at the conclusion of an eight month journey that began in early February of this year and finally came to an end last weekend. Yes, it is safe to say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to review Natasha Crain’s Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side . . . 40 chapters of what seemed to be every apologetic argument under the sun, written with the specific intent of preparing parents and their children for the onslaught of skepticism they’re sure to face in today’s climate of moral relativism. Despite the time invested, I have no regrets; because as much as I hate to say it, this is exactly the type of book that I would have loved not even three short years ago. Little did I know that I would become one of those pesky skeptics that Natasha so often references in her book. Seriously, if you knew me before, you’d know how crazy that is.
The big question: Did my faith in atheism (I jest) ever waver while working my way through Natasha’s book? Not once. And that’s not meant to sound prideful. I’ll explain in a minute. Of course, I know what the Christian is thinking:
Oh, Janet, you’ve closed your heart and your mind to Jesus Christ. The path is narrow, and you’ve chosen to deny your Lord and Savior.
As one family member put it, “You’re on the path to destruction, and you’re taking your kids with you.” Well, it’s not a choice, but skeptics already know that; and yes, I’ll take my kids with me because they deserve better. I’m not choosing to not believe in Jesus and the truthfulness of the Bible. I can no longer believe because the evidence does not support the claims of the Bible. It’s just that simple. The thing is, we practice rational thinking all day long, but it is almost impossible to apply that same logic to our religion. However, once you do, there’s really no going back, if you’re being honest with yourself. Once my critical thinking skills kicked in, the very thing that Christianity trampled all over for decades, the transition out of Christianity was inevitable. There was no choice.
Speaking of which, Natasha concludes her book by providing an epilogue with 10 final recommendations to help parents build deeper faith conversations with their kids. Her seventh bullet point encourages parents to emphasize critical thinking skills with their children. “Teaching kids how to think critically means teaching them how to objectively evaluate the validity of what someone else is asserting and how to draw logically appropriate conclusions themselves.” I wholeheartedly agree, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard critical thinking skills, logic, and rational thinking be promoted by apologists in defense of an unfalsifiable god. What? How does that happen? It makes absolutely no sense! These terms have been completely hijacked by apologists and, in my opinion, are meaningless in a Christian worldview. How about directing those skills towards the one and only source of information regarding your god that you’ve decided to base your entire life upon? Read these verses to your children and allow them to draw their own conclusions via their critical thinking skills before they’re sabotaged by indoctrination; and when you see the look of horror on their faces, just explain that it’s all about context.
Psalm 137:9 (ESV) Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
Exodus 11:4-6 (ESV) 4 So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, 5 and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.”
1 Samuel 15:3 (ESV) Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
This is the profoundly enriching material that we get from the creator of the universe, the intelligent designer who created the heavens and the Earth? This is where our objective morals come from? I could have “cherry picked” page after page of ridiculous verses. Nope, sorry. I expect better than that; and that is precisely why apologetic explanations are so unconvincing to me now. The defense of Christianity is the antithesis to rational thinking, and I cringe at my former attempt as a Christian to rationalize and justify such depravity.
Thankfully, I now have an awareness of my biases, an understanding that my brain seeks to create patterns that aren’t always there, to form narratives that don’t necessarily exist. That is what true critical thinking requires, an ability to turn the tables on yourself. I’ve learned that I can’t always trust my brain or my emotions because I have this little thing called an amygdala that likes to mess with me occasionally, the very part of the brain that Christianity has fed upon and exploited for millennia — FEAR. Not any more and most definitely not for my kids.