John Piper, a Christian who gets respect for reasons I have yet to figure out, was recently asked whether children should be taught to pray before they really understand what Christianity is all about.
It’s a fair question and he correctly answers “No,” because prayers are useless without really understanding what you’re saying and who you’re saying them to.
I’m just kidding. His advice is batshit crazy:
… we should teach our children to pray as soon as they can say anything. The first words they should say are, “Dear Jesus, thank you.”
I say this is because I can’t discern when a child is being spiritually wrought upon by the Lord. I don’t put much stock in children’s professions of faith. They seem to come and go. What matters is whether or not they have been born again.
I don’t know when a child is born again…
He can start to believe at a young age. And because he can believe at a young age, and because I can’t tell precisely when his faith becomes his own and authentic, I don’t want to wait too long before I start treating him as a believer.
… They may mean it at age 2. You just don’t know.
Remember in Jesus Camp when that one kid said he was “saved” at the age of 5, and you thought that was the craziest thing you’d ever heard because what the hell is going on in the life of a 5-year-old that he needs to be “saved”?
Piper must think that kid is ancient.
He wants you to brainwash your kids from as young an age as possible. Forget critical thinking, or learning more about your parents’ faith, or coming to the decision of what to believe on your own.
That’s what heathens do.
If my future child’s first words are ever “Dear Jesus, thank you,” I give you permission to slap me.
Then again, it’s not like my first words were much better:
Now that’s a man I worshiped.
(via The J-Walk Blog)