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Do we need church to believe in God?
6 replies to this topic
Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:56 AM
I don't want to start a huge philosphical debate here, just looking for some advice. Whilst I have a belief in God (was brought up Catholic, but now non-practising) I haven't been to mass regularly for years. However now that I have kids, I've been thinking about how to educate them and teach them to believe as well.
I was thinking of having them baptised and going to mass at least fortnightly, and then (probably high school, if not primary) enrollng them in a catholic school. As well as the religious side of things, I want them to grow up feeling part of a community, supported and loved.
Anyway, I broached the idea with DH, and was suprised at his resistance. He was so anti the whole idea, for reasons that go backto his mother and childhood - although he won't admit that. He is of the idea that "why give them that millstone to carry around their neck - they can make their own decision when they are older". Although I disagree strongly with this, I'm not going to argue at this stage - just pray that he changes his mind.
Now, my question is - do you think children need to go to church to believe in god - or will reading to them, praying with them and educating them at home be enough? And how do I do this? Would it be too weird to take them to mass even if they are not baptised? How would they feel when it comes time for communion and they can't have it?
They are only 1 and 2 1/2 at the moment, so I feel like I've got some time to work this out - or convince DH to change his mind..........
Posted 01 September 2006 - 11:00 AM
I believe in God but i've never been christened/baptised. THe only times I've been to church were once a week in highschool, (which i hated and found boring) Personally i don't like Church/religion, i prefer to believe in God in my own way.
So in my case the answer is no, i don't think you need church to beleive in God.
Posted 01 September 2006 - 12:34 PM
What if you suggested to DH that you take them to a non-Catholic but Christian church? Perhaps something less formal that has Sunday School and doesn't have a requirement for children to be baptised? Perhaps he would be more supportive if it were a little more casual like that, rather than mass and the Catholic formalities?
Most of the Christian churches I have attended (Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist etc) have no 'requirement' for who can/can't undertake commumion or for being baptised. Belief in God and a person's salvation is not dependent on those things. God is happy to have us worship him in any church, it doesn't have to be Catholic mass and communion if that's not something that appeals to your DH right now.
These days people have "church" in houses, backyards, school halls, cafes, and all sorts of places. Perhaps a different syle of worship might appeal to your DH a bit more?
Re. your original question about believing in God without attending church - of course you can! But God created the 'church' as a way for believers to support and encourage one another, and join together in worshiping God, and it is something that makes God happy. I also agree with the coal analogy above... Unfortunately, for many, our version of "church" today is of an austere buiding with rules and regulations, rather than simply a place where believers get together to praise God and encourage one another in faith, which is what a church should be.
Posted 01 September 2006 - 12:58 PM
I totally agree with Bondia, especially the last paragraph, and with Vicky77. I go to church, not because it is required of me, but because it is a place where I go to learn more about God (as does DS in kids' church) and meet with others for friendship and support. I think Bondia's suggestion is a good one if you wanted to give it a try, I have attended both Baptist and Church of Christ churches and anyone can have communion. All the things you suggested doing with your children are great, and I do those with DS and DD. We do a 1-2 minute kid's devotional most mornings, say a prayer before bed, and just talk about God in the everyday things, like in nature, a pretty flower etc. I find at church, though, that DS is learning with lots of other kids about God and we know other children and families to whom God is important. This is especially important to me because DS will be attending a public school next year, where he won't be learning much (if anything) about God at school as children do in a Catholic school. It's good that you're thinking about this already, keep praying and all the best with your decision.
Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:16 AM
I know I said I wouldnt be back lol - last post!
"Now, my question is - do you think children need to go to church to believe in God?"
No - it helps but not neccesary - many Christian/Catholic people have been in situations where they cant go to church - isolated, missionaries, or other reasons. It doesnt change what you can know and that you can know God and Jesus.
Sure you could get benefits from church but Im sure there are people taking their kids to church and thats it no teaching at home where as if you taught your kids at home they may know more!!!..
"or will reading to them, praying with them and educating them at home be enough?"
It could be yes. Of course church would help but not neccesary to know Jesus and God.
"And how do I do this?"
Talk with them about nature - what they can see - say God made this - explain who God is in their terms that they understand. Explain God made them and loves them. Read them books from http://www.koorong.com.au and http://www.word.com.au
Books that talk about who God is (later Jesus when they have learnt who God is so as to not confuse them), about how God made the world. Theres some good picture books on creation, about who God is and books on how He loves us. When they are older 4/5 read them the book You are Special by Max Lucado - every kid should have this book! And just generally praying with them each day - before bed - make it a routine? Praying and then reading a book before bed time. Just make conversations about God part of every day discussions. Teach them about the bible and when they are older 3/4/5 get a childs one - there are some good basic ones out there and read them stories from it each day - I use to love bible stories as a kid and its such a great memory. This would be a good one for the younger ones I think - I think some teachers use this one but the older version for older kids for the 4/5 year olds... very basic - this is the even younger version...
and the toddler one http://www.word.com.au/details.aspx?ProductID=517890
I dont know what this one is like but it looks good.
Then you can get the more detailed but yet still very simple bible story ones for ages 4/5/6/7. Maybe this one? I think its the one/version many teachers use - not sure/or it may be to simple for this older age group - not sure -
http://www.word.com.au/details.aspx?ProductID=533599 When your children are older I would just ring Koorong or Word and ask for their recomendation - they are usually pretty good
Kids knowing God loves them, made them and accepts them can give them such confidence and feeling of a place and purpose in life in the world and community.
Not so much Catholic Christian but Christian (you know what I mean yes Catholics are Christians just a way to explain!!!)... (but the same kinda anyway???) is Veggie Tales - when your kids get older get them into it - most kids love them! Humourous and talks about bible storys in a fun way!
You could call up a Childrens church minister later in a few years when you have taught children about God and Jesus and Angels etc etc and ask them for ideas and what kids love and are doing and for some good resources etc!!!
You could get some cool sing alongs - some classic children's Christian songs - ie Jesus loves me this I know, If I were a butterfly, Father Abraham etc - and play them in the car or at other times - there are cds with these and other songs on the web sites above.
Edited by tao78, 02 September 2006 - 12:32 AM.
Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:37 PM
Hi, here's an answer form a Catholic perspective
No I don't think you need church to believe in God, but the support and experience of church certainly makes it easier. I think your plan of sending your kids to Catholic school and trying to attend Mass is great . I understand your husbands resistance and it might take some prayer and perseverence to convince him it is a good idea. The whole community thing within the Catholic school system, particularly primary, is beautiful. Your child gets to feel part of a bigger thing. For eg. at my kids school some of the old ladies from the Catholic Women's League come to teach craft once a week. I think approaching your husband from the perspective of "we are the parents, not your mum, we won't treat it all the same way she did." would be good start, then get him to come with you on a school tour and see how nice the school is etc.
For a child/person to make a decision about their faith they first have to know about it. I know many a child whose parents decided 'not to make a decision for the child and just let them decide for themselves' and then not teach them or expose them to religion etc. It makes it very hard for someone to choose something when they don't know about it! Ultimately we all have to decide for ourselves, your dh has, you have, all of us who are adults make our own decisions about what we believe. Allowing your kids to attend Catholic school would not be giving them a millstone to carry around their neck, You've just got to convince dh of this .
As far as attending Catholic school, or Mass and not being able to recieve communion, there really is no issue there. At our school there are a number of kids who aren't Catholic and at communion time they just go up for a blessing instead, also they don't make their first communion till gr 3 anyway.
Some previous posters have suggested that you try out other denominations, of course if that is where you feel led then go for it, but I would like to encourage you to first really look into the wonderful richness that the Catholic church has to offer. I have delved into our faith a lot over the last few years and the truth and beauty I find within the Catholic Church has enriched my life beyond anything I imagined!
Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:33 AM
Not in my experience. In my experience, church can diminish and even destroy belief in God. Mixing with people who believe what you believe is refreshing and helpful for spiritual growth, but it needn't happen in church.
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