Monday, January 24, 2005

Tough God questions from 9 year old

My just-turned-nine son, my oldest, has over the last couple of months provided some challenging "God" questions and moments for me, and I'm mulling over what I could do that might help him -- and me.

In those "in between" moments, in the car or at bedtime, he has on several occasions asked me how I can know God exists. Then he tells me that no one can prove that God exists. Yikes! I deal with this the best I can in the moment, and try to think of things that would help him face these questions from a faith perspective.

There's something that stricts me as comical about his God questions and statements as I struggle mightily to be open to his questions and trust the Spirit to lead him: these are the very same questions I struggled with as a physics/math/etc. high school and college student! It's hard to express how peculiar that is. Maybe it's just me :)

I wonder if he picked up this idea from school -- I afterschool him (pursue his/our interests and my goals in our own time) -- or from his extensive reading (current favorite: the Redwall series by Brian Jacques). I'll ask him where these ideas came from for him.

What ends up happening in the moment is that I listen to him and try to understand what he's saying, and I tell him that God cannot be proven or disproven -- that God simply Is, and is a mystery -- something you can't do experiments on to understand. (My goodness, how did we get into this?!?)

Last night I brought my (Episcopal) Book of Common Prayer to the dinner table and started reading aloud the catechism Q-and-As for family discussion; it went really well. He asked about the Greek and Roman gods, and dear husband, the boys, and I talked about some interesting things. I think we'll do more of that over the coming days and weeks.

To give him more faith language to think about in the midst of this, I also returned to singing the "Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth..." It's part of our bedtime song repertoire that's been built up over the three years since he didn't want spoken bedtime prayers anymore.

Any thoughts, suggestions, "been there"s?


Mom said...

It seems to me that faith is very important to God. If He wanted to, He could prove His existence. He appears to value belief based on faith rather than proof.

Does that make sense?

Jess said...

Well, my kids are younger so the old "you can't see the wind but you know it's there" still works for me. It sounds like you are doing an excellent job though! Hugs!

Barbara said...

Thank you both! Some funny aspects to this -- for me -- are that (1) this son is the one who only this fall was asking me, "how can people NOT believe in God??" and (2) I am figuring this out as I go along because as a child I didn't attend church or know anything much about God and faith. I became a Christian as an older teen and really worked through my faith in my twenties, and have no experience of being a child and doing that! Too funny.