But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6 (NIV).
If I wasn’t a Christian how would I be raising my children as a secular parent? How would I bring them up in the ways of the world? What would be the top ten things that would guarantee my children and grandchildren would be utterly heathen? Or if a manual called The ABC’s Of Heathen Child Rearing – A Do-It-Yourself Guide, was sold in the stores, what tips would it give for raising a non-Christian child? Or if I were a secular humanist and was asked to prepare an academic paper for The University of Toronto, entitled, Secular Children Made Easy, what would I say? Well perhaps I’d say the following:
1. Remove prayer from the home.
Seeing as the great educational establishments of our time have taken the lead in removing prayer from the classroom, it’s fitting to remove prayer from the home. Never pray in front of your children. Never say a prayer at meal times. Never say a prayer with your children when you tuck them into bed. And never say a prayer when there’s a family crisis. For if your children see you turning to a higher power it might make them feel somewhat weak or inferior – as if they don’t control their own destinies.
2. Keep a Bible around that your children never see you using.
If you store a Bible on a shelf which is out of your children’s reach you can appear open minded yet preserve the Bible as a closed book. To keep your kid’s heathen, however, you must never read to them from the Bible. “Seen but not heard,” is the safest rule.
3. Plan family events on Sunday.
Let your children know that Sunday is your only day off, or the only day you get to sleep in, or the only day the family can do things together. Then, before you know it, your child will be permanently trained to think selfishly about Sunday and it will be unlikely that your child will attend church.
4. Use the words “Jesus” and “Christ” and “God” as expletives.
This will help the children think that God is angry at people and only wants to condemn them. It’s also helpful to say “hell” when you’re angry so that your child will associate it with swearing instead of discovering it’s a real place.
5. Never watch Christian broadcasting.
You can’t afford to have your children thinking there’s some sort of value attached to Christian broadcasting. It’s therefore suggested that you reprogram your TV menu so Christian stations can’t be picked up in your home. Be extra careful to monitor your child’s viewing so s/he doesn’t accidentally watch Veggie Tales or something equally as dangerous. Suggest “The Simpson’s,” or some other character-building cartoons.
6. Stay away from relatives who speak about Jesus or God.
Draw the line with Christian relatives. Tell them you’ve chosen to be a family that has neutral religious values and that means they shouldn’t talk about Jesus or God. Having explained how Christian topics are taboo, make every effort to talk on a wide range of other subjects to broaden your child’s general knowledge and appreciation of the world.
7. Separate moral instruction from Christianity.
It’s all right to tell your children the difference between right and wrong but don’t tell them God’s against stealing and killing. In other words, avoid the moral absolutes of the Bible. That way it will be easier for them to adopt a relative belief system based on situational ethics. And it will be much easier for them to be tolerant and understanding of people with alternative viewpoints and lifestyles.
8. Encourage your children to attend sports clubs or service organizations but don’t let them attend church.
Be a politically correct parent. Tell your children you believe in the separation of church and state and that means the best thing for them is to stay away from the church until they’re old enough to make decisions for themselves. After all, you don’t want to expose them to the church when they’re in their impressionable years.
9. Train your children to value material goods.
Model a good work ethic. Let your children know that the most important and responsible thing you can do is earn a living. Work weekends and overtime if necessary, but do what it takes to give your children the material things that count. For people tend to consider you a bad parent if you haven’t tried to provide the very best for your children.
10. Make sure your example doesn’t lead your child to think you might hold any narrow minded Christian values.
Don’t raise any doubts in your child’s mind. Live in such a way that your lifestyle is never questioned. Your actions and your words must be consistent. Any deviation from enlightened ways may confuse your child, initiate some unwanted questions, or even spark a rebellion against everything you stand for.
So if you want a heathen child it’s that simple. If you do these things, you can almost be guaranteed a heathen child. Yes, nearly anyone can raise a heathen child, almost without trying. But some vigilance is required. If your child continually pesters you to take him/her to church, absolutely refuse to go with him/her. Drop your child at the door if you have to, but don’t go in yourself. On no account be seen to have an interest in Christian things. Church must be perceived as something for weak people. Let your child know that intelligent adults don’t need the crutch of Christianity. For if a child goes to church the entire heathen training program could be in jeopardy. So there you have it. If you can raise your child as a heathen for the first twelve years of his/her life it can more than likely be guaranteed that you’ll achieve your goal.
BUT a final word from the Word of God:
“Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. See that you do not look down on one of these little ones …” Matthew 18:2-10.