In the same breath, the modern man will condemn Christianity for being too morally restrictive because it prohibits sexual promiscuity, and denounce it for being too morally permissive because a serial killer can go to heaven if he comes to Christ. I do not see very many happy monogamists condemning Christianity’s sexual prohibitions, neither do I see the murderer repulsed by forgiveness. I think the incoherent accuser does not like to hear that he is wrong. No man does. But, can we trust the judgments of the man who breaks the law he condemns?
Miley is more precious and valuable in our eyes than some pop star that just arrived on the scene because we have lived with her as a young girl on TV for years. And some people are surprised at parent’s reactions to her “Who Owns My Heart” video. Why the reaction? We see her as more than a female body, we see her as a valuable person. If we really viewed all women the way we view Miley, we would be outraged at every provocative scene, just as we would if our daughters were on there. And they are on there! We think its OK to look at them as “meat” and mentally disrespect every part of their body. But they ARE our daughters. They are more valuable than anything and we don’t treat them as we should. We’ve been doing it for years.
No, it’s not. There is no 100% way to censor what our children watch. Things like this Miley video will affect them whether we like it or not. If, by some miracle, they don’t see it, they will be affected by the people who do, in their fashion and in their attitude toward sexuality. The phrase, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it” just isn’t effective and is downright unreasonable in this day and age.
It’s unreasonable to expect 100% cencorship, especially now with this kind of information all over the internet. These ideas and actions infiltrate our schools and our children’s minds whether we want them to or not. “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” – Does not work. It probably never did.
We can’t expect to instill the values we want if those values are undermined by everyone else.
Some say, “Why are these parent groups so shocked and incensed in the first place? This is pop music we are talking about and these are young women coming into the peak of their sexuality. It’s what sells in the American marketplace so it’s a no brainer to me.”
Miley has more of an impact on our teen girls than most other people her age. She is not the only factor by far, but she is still a contributing factor.
So she’s “coming into her sexuality”. Is she doing so properly by looking into a camera while laying on a bed half-clothed? Is this OK? We want our own daughters doing this? I know 17 year old girl that gave naked pictures of herself to her boyfriend, and I’m willing to bet that those pictures are now on the internet somewhere for anyone to see. Is this acceptable?
This doesn’t just affect girls, it affects men too. We’ve broken down the barriers to childhood sexuality and some men find themselves entertaining questions they wouldn’t have entertained before? “Is it really wrong to lust after a child or be sexually active with a child?” Don’t kid yourselves. They ARE thinking it. Hopefully, they don’t act on it, but at least some of their willpower is being broken down by society’s lower and lower standards of what’s acceptable for childhood sexual behavior and what’s OK to watch on TV.
Possess too much testosterone: If you don’t have it, fake it. Laugh at other people’s misfortune. Repeatedly curse and make sexual references. Talk crude in front of the opposite sex and make fun of them when they can’t take it. Have an IQ of 45: if you don’t have it, hide the fact that you’re smarter. Talk about the girl you had the night before and how you disrespected every part of her. Talk about how you got trashed the night before and how you ended up naked in the front yard of somebody else’s house. Don’t do any work at work unless that work involves getting in other people’s faces. Threaten other coworkers jokingly with the worst bodily harm if they don’t do what you say because you’re in charge and then say you’re serious. Take care of yourself first and trust no one that you supervise. Remain incompetent to lead. Join with fellow supervisor’s who put down their subordinates. Punish everyone for the mistakes of the few. Demand of everyone that they know what everyone else is doing, and when they are not omnipresent nor omniscient take away their free time. Conform the place that you work at to the place you worked at previously. Always talk about how things were better at your last job. Pretend to enjoy your job and secretly hate it. Let bitterness over take you and hate everyone else who isn’t just as bitter. Hate the ones who actually enjoy their job. Stay in your current job because you know you have no real skills that could relate to the outside world. Continue the legacy of turning each other in. Do all this and more, and you’re probably someone I work with.
Rumspringa (pronounced Room-shpring-a) Definition: Running around.
The Amish are a group of people who want to be different from the world. They want to let their light shine through the life they live. They don’t actively convert others to their religion. To them, a simple life that forsakes all vanity speaks for itself. Cable TV, Xbox 360’s and other gaming systems, alcohol, smoking, and even electricity are considered to be distractions that will take value away from their lives. Amish folks do not question the traditions of the church. They are content to be satisfied with the way things have always been. “Idol hands are the Devil’s workshop” is a concept they use to keep themselves busy so as not to think of or do vain things.
Generally, when you see an Amish person they are driving a horse and buggy. The faster pace of the world with their fast cars and places they have to be as quick as possible is quite foreign. The slower pace of life allows them time to meditate on God and evaluate their ways in order to be what God wants them to be.
You have to commend them for being consistent. Generally, a religious person follows church culture on Sundays and lives in the world culture on the following Monday. At the very least, the Amish way is a consistent way to live your life. The Amish key verse is I John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Amish children are dealt with in an interesting way. Until 8th grade, most Amish children are in a one-room schoolhouse. They drop out after 8th grade and get jobs. Up until the age of 16, they have no contact with the outside world. During this time, the parents bring up the children the way they think they should live their lives, and try to instill in them the values of the Amish.
You may wonder how they have managed to stay the same throughout the years. Virtually no one questions the church or tries to change the way they do things. This is accomplished in part by a period in the Amish life called “rumspringa”. After Amish children reach the age of 16, they go out into the “English” world to experience what it is like. It’s during this time that they either choose to join the Amish church or leave it forever. This period could last anywhere from a few months to a few years. The decision is very hard for many. To leave the Amish church is to forget everything you have ever done: forget your family, church, work, friends, and your community.
This “dabbling” in the outside world is like playing with fire. The boys dress English and drive cars. The girls typically do not. If there isn’t a party around, then they make one. Within minutes, word spreads that a party is on and Amish adolescents from miles around, and even from other states, jump in their newly acquired cars to attend a party that could number in a few hundred to a thousand. These parties include alcohol, smoking, sex, rock music, gaming, and sometimes drugs like methamphetamines. Sometimes the parties are held in a parent’s backyard. The parent has knowledge of what goes on and does nothing to stop it, for the Amish adolescents must be free to make their own choices. However, if an Amish person were to die during the time of rumspringa, hell is their destination. An Amish preacher commented on this belief and quoted “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”
And for all that they do, the Amish children know that the church will take them back unconditionally. And the Amish church reports that currently 90% of all rumspringa adolescents come back to the church, which is the highest percentage reported thus far. When they come back they are baptized into the church and make a promise to God to follow the rules of the church for life. The ones that leave the church, choose material things and the “English” way of life over their own families.
But is this a good practice for the Amish people? On the positive side, at least their young people are given a choice. You can’t say they are forced into their religion. However, age 16 is a time of great inner pubescent turmoil.
It does raise the question of how to keep your children in the same faith that you have as they get older.
Erik Erikson had no formal training in psychology, but was trained to be a psychoanalyst by Sigmund Freud. He stated that people pass though eight psychosocial stages in their lifetime. At each stage, there is a crisis to be resolved. The stage I am concerned with is Stage 5, which ranges from age 12 to 18. Erikson says that the question “Who am I” becomes important during this time. To answer it, adolescents increasingly turn away from parents and toward peer groups. Erikson believed that during adolescence the individual’s rapidly changing physiology, coupled with the pressures to make decisions about future education and career, creates the need to question and redefine the psychosocial identity established during the earlier stages. Teenagers experiment with various sexual, occupational, and educational roles as they try to find out who they are and who they can be. This new sense of self is a reassembly or an alignment due to the resolutions of the previous crisis and the new opportunities that are now afforded them. This will contribute to the final stage of development where the individual will look back over his or her life and accept the accomplishments, failures, and limitations that have occurred. Of course, some will be filled with regret at the way they have lived their lives.
So, how do we deal with our young ones if we want them to grow up right? In my experience as a Christian, almost everyone has fallen away from the faith at some point in time. But this “Crisis of Faith” is not limited to the young ages. I have a friend who recently went through a crisis of faith and she is around 29 years old. She began to question what truth is and did not accept the Bible answer. The problem is that by that time she was already settled in life, had a husband, and a job, and now all that is in jeopardy. There is too much collateral damage for a crisis of faith later on in life.
Why don’t people develop their faith personally at a young age? Well, many reasons pervade in the current day, but I believe there is a main reason: Erikson states that parents who are overly restrictive and harsh give their children a sense of powerlessness and incompetence, which can lead to shame and doubt in one’s abilities. If you aren’t given the chance to make a decision, chances are the decision is made for you. You roll through life following the beliefs that aren’t really your beliefs but you haven’t realized it yet. If you did, it would be the beginning of your crisis of faith.
Knowing that the crisis of faith is advantageous at a young age, how then as parents do we proceed? Usually, between the ages of 18 months to 3 years old is when a child starts to develop his own system of doing things. A child at this stage has the dual desire to hold on and to let go. Parents who allow their children to roam freely while at the same time provide an ever present guiding hand help the child to develop a sense of autonomy (self-governing). Now really, are they self governing at that point? No. But you can allow them chances to make their own decisions in certain situations. After all, we as parents know what our children can and cannot do. (At least, if we are looking for that kind of thing.) As the child grows older and reaches the teenage years, allow them to gradually increase in responsibility and freedom. As a parent, know that someday they will probably have a crisis of faith. And the Christianity that you want them so badly to hold on to… foster their minds to question it and be ready to answer those questions. Better it be you than someone else. Show them your faith is true, and teach them to recognize a lie. At least they will have the tools to deal with their crisis of faith properly.
It was the night of sacrifice. The air was heavy and damp with sticky summer heat. Sweat covered one’s body like an oily film.
Molech’s image glowed against the dark, deeply clouded sky. The figure was ominous and awesome—a beautifully sculpted, dramatic bull’s head atop a powerful, muscled body of a man. Tilka’s heart pounded in anticipation of the night’s sacrifice. It was anticipation bred of devotion, yet mixed with anguish and silent terror. It was her firstborn son who was to die in Molech’s glowing, red-hot arms.
Tilka knew there was no alternative but to sacrifice her tiny son. It was the law and the way of her people. All her life, she had worshiped before Molech and Baal and the other gods and goddesses. When she had come of age, her family went to the temple together, each going in to the temple prostitutes. That was where she lost her virginity in the service to their gods. She knew it was the right thing to do.
And she had taken part in the sacrifices, watching other mothers place their innocent, newborn sons in the outstretched arms of the terrible, flames-filled Molech. It was a humbling experience. She always felt sympathy and pride for the mothers who gave up their children. It was necessary to ensure good harvests and even future fertility of the women.
Tilka knew that one day she would have the opportunity to serve the gods with the ultimate sacrifice. She knew she would have to give up her firstborn son, and knew she would. It had to be done. It was the law and the way of her people. She was always proud to be a servant of Baal and El and Molech.
She dressed in her most elegant and revealing gown. Tonight she would not only offer her son to Molech, but she would again offer her body to temple prostitutes at the height of the worship ceremony. As she prepared herself, she did her best to steel her thoughts against the pain of losing her child. She had to be perfectly numb and emotionless as her innocent infant son was rolled into the hungry flames—the ever ravenous flames. If she cried or gave any indication of sorrow, the sacrifice of her son would be meaningless, and she and her husband would be barred from the temple.
Tilka went over to where her son was sleeping. He had just nursed and was sleeping soundly. She wanted him to remain as quiet and peaceful as possible as he faced the ordeal. He was such a beautiful baby boy, with handsome features and a surprisingly full head of hair. He was flawless. As she wrapped him in his blanket, momentary regret and pain flashed through her breaking heart. Yet she didn’t dare question the gods’ motives, not even herself.
As Tilka and her husband approached the hill of sacrifice, the sounds of the ceremony drifted toward them. Loud drums were being beaten rhythmically, and other instruments added to the deep din. In the distance, to the west across the mountains, thunder rumbled in counter-point, and intermittent heat lightning flashed eerily. It was a perfect night for sacrifice, for the gods were joining the worship.
Tilka shivered in the chilly air, yet she was covered with a cold, slimy sweat. She and her husband walked into the circle of worshipers, and carried their son to the priest. As they moved nearer the blazing Molech, the music became louder and more frenzied. For a moment, Tilka wanted to scream and run, taking her child with her. Yet, from deeper inside, she knew the sacrifice was right and good. And she knew she would obey her gods as she had done all her life.
She placed her son in the priest’s arms. The priest lifted the child toward the image and began chanting to the great god Molech. Attendants threw more wood into the furnace, making the fire roar with new intensity.
The music was raucous, a frantic din. It always got loudest during a sacrifice. Perhaps, Tilka guessed, it drowned out the cries of the dying infant as he screamed in agony and pain. The scantily clad temple prostitutes, both male and female, began to dance sensuously before the image of Molech, enticing the god to observe their ceremony and take heed of the sacrifice.
Tilka stood frozen, emotionless as she watched the priests handle her son. Each one took the child and intoned over him, praying to Molech, and blessing the sacrifice. Finally the child was handed to the high priest who stood before Molech’s outstretched arms. Tilka had never noticed until tonight how frightening and evil Molech’s image appeared.
The music reached a deafening peak. The dancers twirled in obscene frenzy, other worshipers joining them. It was as if a mass hysteria had begun to creep over the congregation of devout worshipers.
The priest slowly lifted the child skyward as he awakened and began crying innocently for his mother. But his mother stood still. Suddenly, the priest, not able to get too near the glowing, intensely hot image of Molech, threw the crying child into the god’s outstretched arms. The innocent child screamed in terror and pain. The odor of charred flesh immediately filled the air with its awful stench. For several moments, the child’s frantic death cries could be dimly heard beneath the noise of the instruments. The priest took a rod and pushed the blackened, charred body deeper into the flames, and the crying stopped.
The baby was finally dead. Molech was served.
Twenty-eight centuries later, Mary moved about the bedroom slowly, gathering her belongings into a small suitcase. Today was the day she would go to the abortion clinic…
What god do you serve? Have you met the god of convenience?
-story by John O. Anderson