On this week’s Q&A episode of Humanize Me, Bart answers a question from a listener called Matt (who called our new ‘Q Line’ to leave his question for Bart directly). Matt’s question concerned his 5 year-old son, who was given an abrupt theology lesson from his 6 year-old cousin recently:
“My son mentioned that he did not think that God was real, to which his cousin responded by saying that, since he did not believe God is real and that he did not go to church, he would be sent to Hell by God if he died. And he describes Hell, of course, as a terrible place with fire and darkness where you don’t want to go, and my son kind of angrily responded that he didn’t think that was true and did not want to go to such a place.”
This led to an assertion from the boys’ grandfather, who confronted Matt’s wife and told her that they were leading the child astray by not teaching him about these matters.
Bart Campolo had some thoughts about both how to talk to children about things – like Hell – that they may hear from other children or adults, and about how to talk to the grandfather in this example about how his wife and he are raising their son.
Takeaways: Asking thought-provoking questions may be better than refutations; instilling respect for the beliefs of others is important; asserting boundaries around parenting is also important; teaching them about the whole variety of religions in the world may provide perspective; project security and confidence in your conclusions and your kids may well pick up on it.