My Kids Believe in God & It Doesn't Make Them Idiots

Let me preface this by saying I'm an unapologetic Christian mom of two daughters, ages 6 and 10, and I'm raising to believe in God and know Jesus as their savior. We pray often, count our blessings daily, and read scripture together, which of course I tell them is God's Word. We even somehow manage to make it to church most Sundays without killing each other.

Now there are some people who might say I'm doing them a disservice and impeding their ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality. You know, because Jesus walked on water and made lame men walk, which is like zomg! impossible! Um, yeah, that's kind of the point of miracles. Anyway ...

A new study in the July issue of Cognitive Science claims that "young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction."

Researchers studied 66 5- and 6-year-olds from both public and parochial schools in their perceptions of different types of stories. The kids were presented with religious, fantastical, and realistic story types to see if they could "identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional."

They found that the religious kids were more inclined to believe things like talking animals to be true than their secular friends. Probably because their parents read them The Chronicles of Narnia, where talking animals are no big thing.

The study concluded:

In both studies, [children exposed to religion] were less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children.

Flip side to this equation could be that secular kids are taught to lose their sense of wonder and imagination at an earlier age than their Bible-believing friends, but maybe that's just me.

Seriously though, they're kindergartners! Are we really going to say that kids who are taught to believe the Bible is true are somehow developmentally delayed because they're more likely, at age 5 or 6, to believe fantastical things?

My 6-year-old is somewhat convinced that our gray tabby cat has feathers, because an occasional stray feather the same color as her fur slips out from the down sofa cushions. I'm sure this is entirely due to a lifetime of Sunday School and summers of Vacation Bible School. Insert eye roll here.

Who cares if kids this little can't perfectly distinguish between fantasy and reality? So what if my daughter thinks the cat has feathers? She'll eventually figure it out, but what she's gaining by growing up with a relationship with Christ is so much better. She knows that God made her, knew her before she was born, and loves her always and forever.

More from The StirOn Raising My Kid Without Religion (& Praying She Turns Out Okay)

If someday my kids decide that they don't want to follow in my faith, that's their decision to make, and I of course will love them regardless. But being raised with the concept that they were wonderfully made by a God who loves them very much and has a plan for their lives, even when things seem hectic and out of control, is something that can't be learned in a book -- oh wait, yes it can. Everyone all together now! The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me, I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E, Bible!

Do you think raising kids with faith is detrimental or beneficial to their development?

 

Image via Jenny Erikson

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nonmember avatar ria

u sound really, really, really annoying

nonmember avatar ago

Jenny I wanted to comment before the rude remarks come. I'm trying to do the same with my girls. My girls have a wonderful imagination and a sweet child like faith. They humble me and teach me daily.

nonmember avatar Elise

So, you are teaching your girls that they have no right to say what happens to their body (re: abortion and contraception) and the 'evils' of homosexuality. They may not be idiots now, but they will be.

nonmember avatar chee

Jenny, I have a wonderful imagination and an abiding faith... in the power of people. I believe in science. I've never believed in a being that's watching over us and guiding us, and I'm one of the happiest and most content people you'll ever meet. If you take comfort in believing in God, that's great. I would never want to take that away from you. But my point is simply that people don't NEED a belief in God to live a wonderful, fulfilling life.

Torra... TorranceMom

@ria

u ARE really, really, really annoying.

nonmember avatar Jenni

Amen!!

nonmember avatar pam

Good for you. There was an article about a woman raising her kids as atheist and they are doing great too and that doesn't make them idiots either. I actually think atheist get more hate then people who believe god.

nonmember avatar ashley

Don't forget your raising them to hate black people and be republicans too, well based on your attitudes in some of your other post :D

nonmember avatar Jocelyn

I don't think that it's detrimental at all but not necessarily beneficial either. It's not their faith that will give them the ability to differentiate the fact between fact and fiction, it's good parenting and people around them who have realistic views on everything. I respect your decision to raise your child believing in God and I agree that in no way makes them stupid just like raising your kid not believing in God won't make them immoral. In my opinion, the best lesson you could give your kids is to treat everyone around them with respect no matter what their beliefs are.

Melissa Larbig

I agree with Chee. I know this article is not meant to be offensive, but the people out there who do not believe in god or don't know what they believe who have children are not worse off. Their children are not worse off. There was just something about this article that offended me and I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it sounds like you think you are better because of your belief in god? I could be wrong but that is what it seems like to me.

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