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Why Do You Believe in God?
When we stop explaining, we're bound to stop believing.
Last week, I attended a fascinating conference shaped by politically and religiously conservative Christians who all the same were eager to reach out and try to engage Muslims (among other faiths). We didn’t always agree of course, and in fact sometimes had major differences, but there were some topics we could return to over and over again. The biggest and first of these was always family. And specifically kids.
We talked a lot about kids. About raising kids. About the challenges of faith in the world. About what it meant to pass on faith. We realized that though sometimes we had substantial divergences—some attendees were quite confused, stymied, and surprised by how differently Islam works, and what that means for, say, abortion (something I’d like to write on later)—but this did not negate these connections.
Even if what we thought faith meant differed, the fact that we wanted faith in our lives, the lives of our families, and the lives of our kids, meant that we had much to engage on and about. I’m sharing this because one of the reasons I’m so appreciative of what Sunday Schooled is becoming is its breadth and depth: you, my readers, present such an incredible spectrum of perspectives, within and across faiths.
I often hear from you privately and individually, and cherish each of these engagements, but in this instance, I want to not only hear from you, but I’d love for all of us to hear from all of us. I’m going to need all those different perspectives, within and across faiths. Because I’m asking for your help. Or, rather, I’m asking on behalf of one such reader, who wanted advice, insight, and perspective.
A few days ago, I received this message from a friend. She wrote:
I’m struggling to find really good resources for preteen kids. They’re asking big and hard questions about Islam—questions like, ‘How do we know God is real?’ But what’s out there seems to be either really basic, and more appropriate for younger kids, or just not connecting with them or with us otherwise. Can you help?
One of the reasons I started Sunday Schooled is because there’s not enough resources to meet the demand of Muslim parents navigating a complicated world. I went to a great dinner party last night and had these really wonderful and enlightening conversations about what it means to be Muslim, and to be a Muslim parent, and here’s the thing: I’m sure all kinds of parents of all faiths are having the same.
But how often do we hear these conversations?
Do we realize how many of us are trying to navigate the same waters?
So, please do tell. In the comments below if you’re comfortable.
Have you dealt with such questions—yourself? Or with your kids? With yourself and your kids? How did you talk about them? What did you learn through them? How were you affected by them? Since faith ultimately is a choice, especially in a plural society, these conversations are so vital. They’re the start of a journey through faith and with faith.
But if we don’t have these conversations, that may well be the start of a journey away from faith. So I’m grateful to this friend for sharing these questions, for being so curious about how to talk about them with her kids, and for allowing me to share these questions with this community. It would mean so much to her, to me, and to everyone else here to learn from everyone’s experiences and insights.
And, if you’re wondering: I’ve done some reflecting since receiving this message, and I have my own thoughts taking shape.
But I’ll only give you all my reasons if you share yours.