Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
- Proverbs 22:6
“They assume that there is an absolute correlation between what the parent does (prays, sets limits, understands) and how the child turns out.
“Strange that this absurdly nonsensical idea should persist in the face of all the evidence against it. We are determinists. We have been brainwashed into believing that causes, some causes, somewhere, somehow, must produce all the ‘effects.’ We are worshipers of Aristotle. Our minds are frozen by the fascination and the glorious simplism of cause/effect. It reduces the universe to that which my puny brain can master, and I grow big with confidence. I can explain it all, even the kid who goes wrong.
“There are causes. There are effects. But there is a ghost (and not just the one Koestler described) in the machine. A child is not a programmable computer. (‘Of course not,’ some of my opponents chant, though B. F. Skinner remains silent, ‘We never said it was. The very idea is horrible.’ Yet they act like it is true.”
- John White, The Fight
I have brought this proverb to the forefront before. My mother lived by it. As a result, she might never admit it, but she felt that she had saved every one of her children because she started us off properly. Should we start our children off properly? Absolutely, but the child must choose. As a corollary, she felt that I was a total waste as a father because my sons wandered from the faith. One returned, but she probably felt, that since he was using their home as his location of residence although living in the dorm, he was another of those that she had saved.
On a recent panel discussion on the Christian television network that I watch, one of the pastors vehemently argued that the book of Proverbs were simply wise sayings. Even considering them wise saying from God, it still does not produce an ironclad guarantee.
Christian parents do the best they can, and then their child still has free will. The child can still reject God.
As an engineer, the whole concept of cause and effect is how I dealt with any mechanical or chemical process. But I have recently written about how I eventually concluded that if the human element could not be mathematically modeled, the human element could produce great things or rotten things. And that also pertains to the spiritual realm.
“The freedom of a creature must mean freedom to choose: and choice implies the existence of things to choose between.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
We all have a choice, but some do not choose wisely.
And that is central in this cosmic spiritual dance. God created man in His image. Thus, man has a choice, but having a choice means there is the wise choice and the not-so-wise choice.
I have had people that were dumb as a board tell me that they were smart. Stating something does not make it fact. And I have had people tell me that in choosing God, I made the wrong choice, the dumb choice. You do not have to leave your brain in the car while going to church or in believing in God. Once you know God, it is the only logical conclusion that could be made.
Yet, the old saying still applies. You can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.
But we can continue to pray.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.