Why I Refuse To Teach My Children Religion

The most important fact you need to know about me above being a mom, wife, or writer is that I am a “Jesus freak.” All good DC Talk lovin’ 90s kids know exactly what I’m talking about. I believe in God and trust in what Jesus Christ did for me when he died a gruesome death on the cross. Call me crazy, but I have no doubts whatsoever about Jesus rising from the grave three days after being pronounced dead. I guess it could seem far-fetched to some people, basically a fairytale. But this is one fairytale I’m living! Periodically, people make comments to me about not being “religious” but they respect my decision to be; as if they think that’s what I am—religious. And yes, I understand that Christianity is technically a religion. But let me be clear when I say I am NOT a follower of religion or at least not the connotation this word evokes nowadays, nor will I teach my children to be. Confused yet? Allow me to explain.

I am not just a moral person who completes her churchly duties once a week and follows the code of religious decorum. I have no desire to solely go through religious motions, learning who God is and believing He exists (the devil himself even concludes that); rather I aspire to truly know Him. I crave a relationship with Him, and I desire my kids to come to know Him the way that I do. He is my best friend. The One I cried to when my earthly best friend was taken from me by cancer and other loved ones passed away. The One I voice my complaints to about hurt feelings, corrupt politics, and “Christians” who love not and judge ignorantly (to name a few). The One who helps me see the good in the darkest of situations and in the most loathsome of people. He is my hope when there seems to be none and my faith when nothing makes sense.

So do I want my kids to go to church just because it’s “the right thing to do”? Absolutely not! I want them to be church to every person they come in contact with. I would rather them know to love and serve others with big hearts than for them to memorize the entire New Testament and wear their perfect religiosity out for everyone to see. I desire for my children to throw out the scripted prayers and the churchy behavior and instead embrace a real relationship with Christ!

You can guarantee I will never tell my children that our religion is of utmost importance and everything in life hangs on it and our faithfulness to church. But I will teach them that Jesus is life itself, and He is the only person who will never disappoint them. Christians will fail. Church will fail. Religion will fail. But Christ will conquer! What I really want my kids to know is summed up in the lyrics of one of my favorite songs “Love You With the Truth” by Casting Crowns.

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This is why I refuse to teach my children religion. But I will teach them about new life, hope, faith, grace, mercy, unconditional love, and service. I will teach them Christ. He is where religion ends and relationship begins.

To read more about my feelings on this topic, see “An Open Letter To My Children, the Preacher’s Kids.” 

 

Comments 23

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
  1. Yes! I love this. I 100% agree. If I teach my kids about the “rules” with out the relationship, then they are much more likely to walk away. I am intentional in my relationship with God, and teaching my children that He’s not some magical entity in the sky. He’s real, He’s alive, and active-He’s personal and He wants them to be purposeful in their relationship with Him. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author

      Yes! Exactly my thoughts! There’s far too much focus being placed on “the rules” and not enough on the relationship. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
  2. I’m just so proud of you. You’re not only a wonderful wife and mother, but a superb writer. I enjoy reading your posts.

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
  3. I loved reading this . It’s so obvious to be something you are so passionate about and it makes this all the more beautiful. You are a great mother and a great person, one I’m proud to call my friend!

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
  4. Yes, yes, yes! This is why we do foster care, even though it might cost us something. Because we are called to BE the church, not just go to church. You are such a fabulous Mama, and you are doing such a great job teaching your children how to follow Christ.

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
  5. Love love love times 1000!! There is so much truth to this and I completely agree with you! I grew up in a private school where we rehearsed prayers, songs until we were blue in the face but I never really knew what I was rehearsing or shining.
    For some, the rehearsing is enough but I’ve never labeled myself to have a “religion.” I simply tell those who ask I have a “personal relationship with the Lord.”
    Loving God and loving people is what’s important. Great post mama!

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author

      Yes! Sure we need to memorize Scripture and teach our children to, but they need to understand why we do that, Who we are serving, and what the church was originally started for! Too much focus on dos and don’ts and not enough on why and relationship.

    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author
    1. Stephanie Gilbert Post
      Author

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