I’ve not been bothering to respond to the stuff over at Theology Archaeology lately, partly because he’s had little of interest to respond to, and partly because it’s pretty clear that reasoning with him is nigh impossible. However, he’s posted something recently that I felt might be worthy of replying to, entitled ‘What is a Childhood?’
We ask this question because over the years we have encountered people who declare they want their daughter or son to have a childhood. The simple answer is that the idea of childhood is a subjective human concept that allows a few people to force their views upon others and allows them to interfere with people’s parental rights. There is no objective standard to determine if a child is receiving a childhood and there is certainly no biblical teaching on the concept of children enjoying a childhood.
I dispute this. A childhood isn’t a subjective notion – physically and mentally there are clear distinctions between adults and children – this is obvious. It is also, in my view as a father, that my daughter should have the opportunity to enjoy her childhood. Why wouldn’t any parent want their child to experience a carefree, peaceful and fun childhood?
I don’t even know where TA is going with ‘childhood is a subjective human concept that allows a few people to force their views upon others and allows them to interfere with people’s parental rights‘. What views are being forced upon parents? The idea that children shouldn’t be put to work? The idea that they deserve an education? The right of children everywhere to medical care? The right to live free from abuse and pain?
God already knew that when he gave parents their freedom to raise their children, there would be as many different concepts of what a childhood would or should be. He also knew that every parent would not be financially capable or even possibly alive to provide one standard for what constitutes a real childhood. He did provide good instructions on how to raise one’s children which are superior to earthly concepts like the very subjective childhood ideology. Parents are to be fair, just, honest, teaching their children God’s laws correctly and so on (you can search the Bible for more of God’s ways to add to that list)
Concepts of fairness, honesty and justice are what children should indeed be taught, but this isn’t connected to the idea of a childhood, since these are things that everyone, regardless of age, should be taught and be aware of. Following God’s law – that depends on what you believe, and should not be forced upon anyone, child or not.
Those people who use their own or the western ideal as the standard only over-step their boundaries and cause more problems than they cure. Believers are not to please people but they do need to please God and follow his ways in raising their children. This may mean not providing their children with everything the neighbor or secular world wants a believer to do but then since when did the blind deceived world know better than God?
What does this even mean? Is it an unreasonable ideal to believe that children should have access to things like healthcare? What precisely is the ‘western world’ trying to impose upon anyone?