I’ve met a lot of people in the university who on the issue of faith are upset with their parents. Their parents forced faith on them; didn’t give them a choice and now they’d rather not have a faith at all. In my opinion, most of them are being driven by peer pressure to follow this interesting mentality that you’re the smarter one because you question the existence of God. For some weird reason, Darwinism is associated with the elite and for a community like mine where people will do anything to be seen as Africa’s next big thing, this is to be expected. I heard one woman of God say in one meeting how people prayed and got their parents healed or got admission into the university with scholarships only to take a few philosophy and social theory classes and start questioning who decides who a god is.
When I heard that someone denounced her faith because it didn’t make sense to the new person she had become, it didn’t surprise me much that her parents did nothing much about it. And it wouldn’t have surprised me much that they would have prided themselves in being very modernized and liberal to allow their children to make decisions on their own as long as they would deal with the consequences that came with their decisions. What the heck?!
I’m imagining a scenario where there is a four-year-old starry-eyed smart-looking child playing with his father’s new shoes. He can see his mum looking at him so he won’t dare put the shoes in his mouth. But then as he rummages through the shoes, he hits gold–some substance in a small white packet. It looks to him like that sweet substance that his mum adds to his cereal. Why it is in daddy’s shoes isn’t something he is concerned about at the moment. He can almost be certain that an attempt was made to hide it but being the genius he is, he’s found it! He finds a way to open it and is about popping it into his mouth.
Let’s freeze the scene now.
Let’s say you’re the parent around and that without a doubt, that substance is silica gel. So even though it’s not poison (I know you probably didn’t even know that silica gel wasn’t poisonous and that’s okay, I found out not long ago too), it is not to be ingested because it could be a choking hazard and that definitely is not funny. The child could die. Would you just let him eat it because it’s not that deep? Or the fact that he could choke and that there exists a possibility that he may not choke make you comfortable watching him eat it.
Long story short, this is similar to what happens when parents are too liberal on the subject of faith. We expect that our parents lash the living daylight out of us if we decide at 11 that we’re done with school but we find it absurd that they do their best with faith. They can be expected to be forceful on intellectual activities but liberal on things that concern our very lives. And if you don’t think parents need to be forceful on intellectual issues, it still doesn’t change anything; our lives are definitely more important than our brains, even though neither should be downplayed.
We can be supportive of our parents being liberal and even be liberal as parents when we are ready. Just like it’s okay to give our children something similar to poison.
After all, it’s not exactly poison. Is it?