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Why Are Children Still Praying?

By Carl S ~

My wife got another Christian charity junk mail request yesterday, and threw it in the trash unopened. Which meant I could read it. “Angel Tree,” included a flyer to be given to kids at Xmas time. I read, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matt. 19:14.” This was followed by their message: “He wants to live inside your heart. He watches over you. And he will always be with you.”

You've heard it often enough: “God hears the prayers of children.” Believers of all faiths teach children to pray to Allah, Jesus, Mary, God, the Great Spirit, saints, and whatever gods, goddesses, etc. they were raised to believe in themselves. Worship isn't the main reason for this; it's to comfort the child into believing he or she will be personally guarded by a mighty Protector who is watching out for him or her under all circumstances. When it's constantly reinforced by loving parents, this teaching is accepted as reality, and leaves the child vulnerable to exploitation.

This “Protector” indoctrination makes no sense for Christians, since the child is also taught the same Protector created the system by which the natural world operates. They're telling kids the protector set up the rules for Nature. In nature, any animal, including the human, is vulnerable to predators, beginning in embryo. Youngsters are truly fair game; a human child is also psychological prey.

When children are taught the Ark story, no one tells them “God drowned all the children, even those who were praying to him.” They're not told children were burnt to death in Sodom and Gomorrah. No one tells them it was protector God who stood by and watched soldiers slaughter innocent children in the Old and New Testaments. And when it comes to punishments, this God will make children suffer for the misdeeds of their parents, even into the third generation.

At a yard sale, I saw two small wall plaques of a little boy and girl on their knees, praying. Oh so comfy and sunny, this depiction of children divinely protected, and so middle class! What could be more secure than growing up in a house with loving parents able to support the status quo of “God rewards us here on earth and looks out for us if we pray?”

What about the Jesus these kids, indoctrinated by well-meaning believers, are taught to trust in? You can almost hear this “he wants to live inside your heart” group saying: “He understands you. He was a child like you.” As the son of a carpenter, Jesus grew up in a middle class household. He had loving (adoring?) parents. He thought poverty was a good thing, for others. Lower class and poor children are supposed to have a relationship with him? Kids living in poverty, beaten, unwanted children, aren't favored or protected by Jesus. The praying children asking for deliverance from abusive, alcoholic, or druggie parents or guardians should be forewarned: they're sending their prayers to the God who lives somewhere out in Space, “where no one can hear you scream.” Telling them otherwise is screwing with their minds.

Parents and guardians teach their children to prayer to an unquestionable god. They are taught by example to pray with “spiritual guides,” a.k.a., pastors, clergymen, camp counselors, other church members, cult leaders, etc. Unquestioned authority is unquestioned access for them. So, a major problem with teaching children to pray is that it teaches children to trust “spiritual guides,” who avail themselves of that trust to “guide” their penises where they don't belong.

What about the prayers of millions of children praying in the concentration camps of the Third ReichWhat of those children raised to believe in “spiritual guides/representatives of God on earth,” trusted by their parents, and invulnerable to the laws of man? They told children “God” would protect them, then took advantage of trust to abuse. Don't we seriously need to ask ourselves why “God” chooses, and entrusts millions of children to so many perverts, slime balls, charismatic sneaks, and vacuous personalities to be his stand-ins?

What about the prayers of millions of children praying in the concentration camps of the Third Reich, during the fire-bombing of Dresden, the prayers of children just before and after the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, and their prayers as napalm rained down on them in Vietnam? What do children think in Islamic lands when they see adults being flogged, beheaded, and hacked to death because they blasphemed Allah, who meanwhile ignores the prayers of children in Gaza and Syria?

You protest. “O wait. Don't be bitter. Think of all the prayers that have been answered, like, for bikes, good health, and look at how many kids are happy and comforted.” C'mon. They could pray to Winnie the Pooh with those “results.” (The author H.H. Munro, pen name “Saki,” wrote a short story about a boy who prayed to a rooster for deliverance from an abusive adult, and the bird killed her. His prayers were answered.) Besides, you're ignoring the enormity of the crimes against humanity committed because kids were lured into being raped, using prayers as bait. Now that's a God-damned tragedy. Or are you more offended I took the Lord's name in vain than you were about their rapes?

Stop telling children to pray, teach them to be aware of the dangers from authority figures and especially, trusted “holy” representatives of a deity. Don't wait until they find out the hard way prayer doesn't work; they need to know now to grow and survive in the real world. The sooner the better. They're vulnerable, and prey for predators who see them as God's natural gifts to them, just as a lion in the wild would see a small gazelle as a given meal. Animals in the wild protect, teach, and warn their young. You should do better than they. So teach your children the facts, the often gloomy realities, and not the lying sunny “he watches over you,” bullshit fantasy. They can handle it.