Secular Parenting in a Christian Family

One of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through was hearing my 11-year-old daughter Claire tell me she was worried about me going to Hell when I die. The worst part about it was knowing that I was the one who’d taught her about Hell in the first place. All through Claire’s life up to that point, my wife and I did our best to raise her the way we thought God desired. We took her to church, we prayed, we even led her to salvation by accepting Jesus as her lord and savior. By the time our second daughter Mae was born, the seeds of doubt had slowly planted themselves somewhere deep inside of me. By the time Helen came along a couple of years later, I was already on an irreversible course toward leaving my faith behind altogether. I eventually found myself in the unenviable position of telling my family I no longer believed in God, and in a series of difficult and uncomfortable conversations, that talk with Claire was the worst. (more…)

Whether or Not You Believe in the Age of Accountability, You’re Wrong Either Way

I know, I said I wasn’t going to make every post about Atheism. What can I say, I’m a dirty stinking liar. I’ll hit the brakes on it one day… but not this day. NOT THIS DAY.

The Age of Accountability (hereafter known as AoA for brevity’s sake) is something I’ve brought up a few times, at least once here and more often elsewhere. It’s a concept that has always bothered me, but it took me a long time – and my eventual deconversion – to understand exactly why. For those who aren’t familiar with it, AoA is a concept many Christians* adhere to, which essentially says that children will not be held accountable for their sins until they reach an age where they fully understand what sin actually is (and that they are committing it).

In other words, a 5-year-old might lie to her mother, but since she isn’t old enough to fully understand why it’s a sin for her to do so, God doesn’t hold her accountable for it. Only when she reaches an age where she fully recognizes that she’s doing something wrong will she be held accountable.

Sounds reasonable, right? Most Christians would say so. But there are some problems when one goes beyond a surface-level examination, both for those who believe in the AoA, and for those who don’t. It is a concept that has forced Christians to paint themselves into a corner, and they have no way to get out without making a huge mess.

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