The truth that makes thy children free…

January 7th, 2012

Question:   What do you think about single women (or men) adopting, particularly adopting children with special needs?  Is it ok for singles to adopt or would it be better to wait until they are married?

Answer:  We are thankful to hear about godly single men or women who want to adopt children with special needs.

 

Question:  How did you know that He called you to adopt?  Can you try to explain what that looked or felt like for you?  Was it simply watching the video, feeling moved and horrified, and trusting that He would help you figure out how to bring a child home?

Answer:  On one hand, I prefer not to answer with old blog posts.  On the other hand, I’d rather answer that way than wait until I have time to re-state the old blog posts!

So here is the meat of it, all in one place~

Are you two out of your minds? 

Why?

How do you know?

Yes, you read that right!

An open letter

Counting the cost; facing the fear

We follow, not with fears

 

Comment:  I understand that it may be the case that the majority of adopting families are Christian, but my family is not…and we are adopting a child with special needs.  I don’t think it’s necessarily being a Christian that leads one to adopting a child with special needs, it’s having a special heart.

Response:  You are absolutely correct that simply being a Christian is not what leads people to adopting children with special needs, or there would be no orphans with special needs.

*We were told that the number of Christian congregations in the United States outnumbers the number of children in the US foster care system by three to one, so if one family from each congregation adopted one child from foster care, there would be no US foster care system.*

It is much more complex than that, more complex than I could do it full justice here.

A few brief thoughts~

God is the Father of the fatherless and brings orphans into families, whether the families give Him the credit or not.  He is not limited to only working with people who acknowledge Him, just like He holds the atoms together and the earth spinning on its axis on its orbit around the sun without most people being aware that they are seeing His power at work.  Although they benefit from what He does, they do not recognize Him in it or thank Him for it.  I explained more of this Biblical view in the recent post titled, “He rules the world with truth and grace.”  

That being said, the high value that the Judeo-Christian perspective places on human life is consistent with adoption of children with special needs, whereas under many other belief systems that type of adoption would be a logical absurdity.  It may help also to understand that not all Christians live consistently with a coherent Biblical worldview.  Polls have shown that most self-identified Christians in the United States today live off a belief system similar to the secular culture around them, with some religious activities and adornments added to their otherwise secular lives.  Sadly, even most of those who mentally assent to a Biblical worldview don’t make their daily decisions from that basis.  (By the way, a basic Biblical worldview can be identified and quantified for polling purposes without much difficulty.)

Someone (I’m sorry I cannot remember where I heard or read this) observed that most people in colonial America, Christians or not, lived their everyday lives from a Judeo-Christian worldview, and most people in modern America, Christians or not, live their everyday lives from a secular worldview.

Original source material from history (not edited by moderns for political agendas of their own) clearly shows that since Christ came, when most of the Christians in a given era have made their decisions from a Biblical belief system, they have made a major positive impact on the culture surrounding them.

In contrast, when most of the Christians in a given era were ignorant of the Bible, they subsequently lived like the surrounding culture, at times becoming indistinguishable from it in their lifestyle choices, with negative consequences for the wider culture.  We in the United States are, however, still living off borrowed capital from the past, from the results of the Biblical worldview of those who laid the foundation of and built on our culture.  Many people take that borrowed capital for granted, and even credit it to basic human decency, but that just shows an unawareness of the larger sweep of history, or of the true reality of thoroughly pagan cultures, which are of course made up of basic humans as well.

To illustrate the difference between simply claiming, and actually living out a Biblical worldview, a self-identified Christian of today could feel an emotional surge of compassion for an orphan with special needs, but because his worldview is secular, not take any actual steps toward adopting the child himself.  [Note what I did not just say!  I did not say that all reasons for not adopting are illegitimate or unBiblical!]

The desire to preserve one’s own best interests at the expense of helping those who are more needy is totally foreign to Biblical teaching, but it does fit neatly with a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest approach to the world.  The baba of one of the children in very poor shape in Katie’s former orphanage expressed her opinion that she should not be adopted, and that the parents who are adopting her should choose a child who was healthy instead.  This is entirely consistent with what she would have been taught to believe from an early age under Soviet tutelage.

In contrast to pagan thinking and practice, early Christians (for one of many examples) regularly rescued the infants who were thrown away with abandon by the ancient Romans, bringing the babies into their own homes and rearing them as their own children, without regard to whether the children would eventually vindicate their parents’ risky move, and prove to the naysayers that they were “valuable to society” by graduating with honors from Yale University. (Tee hee hee!)  There is also no evidence that the early Christians obsessed over whether or not they could provide a better life for the children than the one they would have after being left to die of exposure.  Understand that most of the early Christians did not come from the wealthy upper echelons of society.  They trusted in the Lord to take care of them and obeyed Him out of love.

It should be mentioned that even seemingly selfless acts can have selfish motivations, such as–but not limited to–being admired as heroes, satisfying some personal need to be needed, getting brownie points with God, or just fulfilling one’s own preferences, as in, “it’s my thing.”  We believe that motives are God’s territory, and that includes the purification of people’s motives.  We don’t trust in the goodness of our hearts, or see ourselves as special at all.  In fact, when I first realized that some people were going to admire us as heroes (I started out thinking we’d be seen as totally crazy!), I began to pray that God would continue to make and keep our motives totally pure.

This is a truly fascinating subject, and I would urge you to look into it further, with an open mind.  It’s hard to understand where we are as a culture today, or why we’re here, without learning what came before this time, and how we got here.  But modern revisionist historians cannot be trusted to help you understand this, because their belief system allows them to play fast and loose with the truth for the sake of their agenda.  They know that if they can convince people of their version of the story of the past, they can manipulate them to come to certain desirable-to-them conclusions in the here and now.  It works somewhat like skilled advertising.  Get them to accept certain assumptions and they will act in certain ways.

For honest, well-researched, comprehensive treatment of the subject, I’d recommend the author Rodney Stark, maybe his book “For the Glory of God,” or perhaps “The Victory of Reason.”  For an accessible, relatively quick and easy read, I’d recommend “How Christianity Changed the World,” by Alvin J. Schmidt.  The following is an excerpt from Schmidt to demonstrate why our family would not be considered unusually praise-worthy by other Christians for adopting Katie were we all making our decisions based on a profoundly Biblical worldview:

“It was this callous, compassionless [ancient Roman] culture that the Christians entered. Unlike the pagans, they showed compassion in caring for the weak, the sick, the downtrodden, and the dying, often risking their own lives in the process. One historian writes that the Christians ‘in the midst of manifold and malignant pestilences…did not hesitate to devote their services, and too often their lives to the sick.’ By putting their lives in jeopardy, they took seriously Christ’s command to visit and care for the sick. They understood what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’ (Matthew 25:45). They also understood another of Christ’s teachings: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).”

This historical understanding is another part of the reason our family does not have inflated ideas of our own heroism, or consider that we have special hearts.

We are, however, thrilled to be allowed a glimpse of God moving among His people, breaking our hard, modern hearts, weaning us off of our diet of artificial substitutes for the real thing, giving us a hunger and thirst for His Word, and a steely determination to live it out.

Yes, Aslan is definitely on the move.

 

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

 

“In service which thy will appoints, there are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth that makes thy children free:
A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty.” 

 

 

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25 Responses to “The truth that makes thy children free…”

  1. As a single woman who has adopted 2 children – one with significant special needs, I was happy to read that you rejoice in this as well.  I believe that as long as an individua has the resources (time, energy, supports, etc) required then marital status should not stand in the way of providing a loving home to a child in need.  I hope that you and your family are enjoying the weekend together.  And I must ell you that I cannot believe how much your older daughters resemble you!  Lovely girls :)
     
    Janet – mom to Aziza and Samantha
    http://mylittlewarriorprincess.blogspot.com/

  2. Priscilla says:

    This may end up being a long comment. I’ve only been reading your blog for less than two months, but it’s impacted my life plenty. For some reason, I’d never considered that special needs children need to be adopted. When I first stumbled into this world, I was immediately moved. Since then, I’ve been reading blogs, crying for the children that needs homes, planning my life around adopting some, brainstorming ways to get others to help them, and feeling unrelenting anger at the people who simply won’t help.

    The one thing that has struck me is that so many people in this community (the community of people who adopt children with special needs) are Christians. I have been a non-Christian for my entire life, despite being raised by a Christian mother (who has had her tumultuous times with faith, I admit, but always clearly wanted us to be Christians and made her own faith clear). Despite not being a Christian, I am somewhat obsessed with Jesus (the man or the idea of). I have been for years. To me, Jesus is not literally someone who died for my sins, but is the founder of Western culture, of what in our highest ideals, we all imagine ourselves to be reaching for. Jesus is what made humility a part of our daily lives (the understanding that boasting and bragging is the not something we should do), who encouraged us to fight against the human nature of judging another’s actions — we should pay attention to ourselves and our own wrongdoings (one of the hardest things for us to accomplish, I think) and who told us that it is our duty to give and give and give.

    I was bowled over by Jesus’ readings when I was 19 and immediately attempted to live them (while still remaining non-religious; I have no doubts about the scientific nature of the world, but it get a bit more complicated when we talk about how to treat people). Since then, my relationship with Jesus’ teachings has been off and on. I’ve found it most interested when I start talking with a self-proclaimed Christian. I glow when I talk about Jesus, about how much I admire him, how much I wish we could all try to be like him more. Many of these people seem to squirm when I mentioned how Jesus wanted us to give and give, and obstinately say, “Well yeah but Jesus also believed that people had to prove themselves and work for all they have.”

    I’ve not been a perfect non-Christian Christian, but my love for Jesus doesn’t come from any sort of faith. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot while reading your blog. I was interested to see that someone had asked about the non-religious. I really appreciate your reply. Something I feel I’ve come to discover is just how logical it really is to adopt special needs children, which is why your thought that in another’s non-religious, or non-Christian worldview, it may very well be logical absurdity struck me. But here’s how I see it: The golden rule. If we want to live in a good world, for complete selfish reasons, even, then we must be good people. I try to help others and I know I fail. But I want a good world. So I must try to be a good person.

    I suppose I think that it is perfectly Darwinian to adopt someone like Katie. I think that humanity’s best chance of surviving is to give a chance to those who can’t care for themselves. To create a world in which one needn’t worry if an injury leaves us helpless. Because in our world, we take in children who may never be able to care for themselves, we devote our lives to others, and we do so happily. In a world like that, one needn’t ever feel alone, or worry, because they are surrounded by love. A Darwinian worldview has mistakingly been paired with a “survival-of-the-fittest” worldview. Those two are not the same. Rather, it is about what makes us, as a species, strongest. In my view, it is clearly our overflowing desire to care for others.

    I think much of that desire is mismanaged. My mother told me that a woman in her church said, about international adoption: “I think we should worry about the children in our own country first.” My heart broke — can’t we worry about them all at the same time? Of course children here need help, but to ignore the suffering of other children simply because they’re not American? The desire to help is there, but I wept for the children who won’t get that woman’s efforts simply because of where they were born.

    Similarly, my friends, people who are more or less liberal crusaders, who think of themselves as atheists out of fight closed-mindedness, and help the starving and the poor and the needy at the same time. And yet they spend their times rallying for gay marriage and fighting against gun rights. Regardless of stances on these issues, they are not the most pressing. I’m all for equality … but shouldn’t we start with the ones who need it the most? The children who are malnourished and neglected into atrocious states, like Katie, because others don’t view them as deserving of equal care?

    I think people think they can do nothing, so they turn a blind eye. They move to issues closer, easier, not as heartbreaking. It feels good to do that, I know.

    These children are conscious human beings. To neglect them is to neglect everyone. Neglect doesn’t happen by a single human being, it happens because we let it happen. I fully believe that.

    I find myself wishing my husband were a Christian. Ever since i’ve brought up adoption, he’s fought me. He says he wants to be entirely financially stable before adoption. That he could never love the child as his own. That we’d never be able to do what we wanted to do. (Doesn’t he understand that what  I want to do is to be the vessel that gives another love and life? Doesn’t he understand that it’s our duty to create a loving world?)

    I find myself angry with Christians who do nothing. Who frown and shake their heads when I talk about children who need adopted, but then move along and never do anything more. Above all, these children need homes. Someone to care for them and take care of them. I can’t understand how those who have Jesus’ teachings directly in front of them do nothing. But it’s really not that much easier for me to understand the atheistic point of view either. Helping others means helping ourselves. Building a world that ensures we are all taken care off.

    In my opinion, the seed of that that is here is something Jesus called attention to in us. We are nowhere near perfect, but as a world, we are more sympathetic to others than we have been in the past. We generally want to help.

    It is my hope that more people will, soon. I wish Jesus’ voice would come more clearly to the center of our culture. If people would understand just how absurdly good it is to help…

    I remember hearing, and I don’t know if it’s true, but that studies have shown that one of the biggest factors of happiness is participating in something larger than yourself. The idea is that money CAN buy happiness, but at a certain amount it stops making people happy. Once you can properly care for yourself, feed and cloth yourself, excess money has no impact on happiness. What induces happiness is being a part of something larger. This doesn’t have to be religion, not to me. For me it’s being a part of the human race, what Jesus started, a plea to help others because really its the only way to be. We are all indebted to each other. Nobody got here on their own. The only way to not be filled with insurmountable guilt is to help, to pay back, and to create a world where if you need it, you will be helped.

    I am not offended by your religion and I find your beliefs beautiful. I wish more people were like you. I don’t know if my thoughts will offer any insight, and I know the world is full of people like me, who are atheists, but whom find no value in the helping of children with special needs. I don’t quite understand them. I don’t care too much what causes someone to want to help, just that they want to. You’ve obviously had such an impact; people want to do something after reading your blog. It’s amazing, and I am thankful for you.

  3. William Brown says:

    Superb post. I wish the whole body of Christ took this view and understood their faith historically and systematically as you do.
    I pray for you and your family every day. Thank you.

  4. Rachel M says:

    Sharper than any two edged sword, able to separate soul from spirit and joints from marrow. How deep the holy spirit can pierce the human heart to reveal our true nature and our clear need for the Saviour as our ONLY remedy. Praise the Lord!

  5. Lee says:

    First of all, I think you’re a bit confused re:Darwin — SOCIAL Darwinism is an entirely different animal than BIOLOGICAL Darwinism, and the former is something neither conceived of nor advocated by Darwin. 

    Second of all, I am a staunch atheist and secular humanist, and I can tell you that my atheist, secular humanist moral worldview ABSOLUTELY requires a complete dedication to humanitarian aid, including special needs adoption. I have a Jewish friend who feels similarly about her faith. Christians do not, and never have, had a monopoly on these kinds of missions. In fact, I highly recommend David Smolin’s article “Of Orphans and Adoption, Parents and the Poor, Exploitation and Rescue: A Scriptural and Theological Critique of the Evangelical Christian Adoption and Orphan Care Movement”. (Smolin is himself an evangelical and an adoptive parent, by the way.) The fact is that while Christians have certainly been active in the adoption movement, many individuals and organizations have been culpable in seriously unethical practices “justified” by their religious beliefs. See for instance the mission group that attempted to kidnap children from Haiti after the earthquake, despite the fact that their families were neither dead nor unable to parent them.

  6. Lee says:

    Oh, and speaking of groups of people who have historically adopted unwanted children…what about homosexuals?

  7. Susanna says:

    Lee, thanks for your response! Guess I didn’t kill off ALL the readers yet, haha!

    I have to ask. Why is a staunch atheist and secular humanist reading The Blessing of Verity, of all the little bloggy fishes in the huge bloggy ocean? I could come up with so many questions for you, but I confess that is the one that makes me most curious! If I try to guess, I would probably be wrong. Hope to hear back from you!

  8. Lee says:

    I LOVE this blog! Katie’s transformation has made me cry on multiple occasions. Our religious differences are immaterial to the fact that we both care deeply about the plight of special-needs orphans, and our mutual desire to do something about it! I’ve shared Katie’s picture with many of my friends, and they’ve all been moved by her condition. I might not believe in God but I do believe in the profound importance of human interconnectedness and compassion, an ethos I strive to live by just like you strive to live by your Christian values. I do get frustrated because the world of special-needs adoption seems to ignore the existence of people like myself, who are not Christian, who are liberal, and who are gay. Again, homosexuals have long been active in adopting children who would not otherwise have been adopted — older children, special needs children, children from foster care, etc. I think that’s important for pro-adoption Christians to remember — though it seems to be something many would prefer to forget.

  9. Susanna says:

    Lee, thanks for responding and satisfying my curiosity! I’ve got an update post on Katie’s ongoing transformation I should be writing right now!

    Would you be willing to consider that most pro-adoption Christians may not be familiar with your assertion that “homosexuals have long been active in adopting children who would not otherwise have been adopted — older children, special needs children, children from foster care, etc.” In other words, would you be willing to give us the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming that we have heard this and “prefer to forget?”

    Also, from the mouth of Darwin, copied directly from his book, “The Descent of Man:”

    “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”

    I have no desire to pick a fight with you, Lee. Just wanted to explain the basis for using the term Darwinian as I did.

  10. Katie says:

    Susanna, I knew you were gonna get some interesting comments on this one – willing to bet you did too.  I can’t put into words what I’m trying to say here, it’s just not coming out right – but I’m one of those people who believes there are many paths to God, that the intricacies of our beliefs matter very little with regard to the big picture.  Really, you said a lot of what I feel – whether we recognize it as a Christian belief or not, God still works in our lives.  I’m going to cut my comment off here because the more I write, the  more I try to explain what’s going on in my head, and then I backspace and rewrite everything (lather, rinse, repeat)… but I wanted you to know that I at least think I heard what you are saying with this post as well as what you are NOT saying.  I expect the reaction to this post to continue to be interesting – to say the least – but I expect just as much that you will handle it in an exemplary way.  Obviously I cannot know this, but I do believe God is pleased with you, Susanna.  Where many who call themselves Christian in this world fail to reflect positively on God, I believe you do.

  11. Holly says:

    I’m having trouble comprehending this post.  Not your writing Susanna, I think I just have too much on my mind.  Perhaps after a second reading tomorrow, I will be able to digest it better.

    As always, beautiful pictures!!  Katie’s little hand in her brother’s big hand is touching.      

  12. rachel says:

    “A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty.”

    I love this line and I love this post.  I can’t thank you enough for blessing us with your blog!  I get so excited each time there is a new post!  I want you to know how much God is using you to bless me – a complete stranger, but sister in Christ.  It seems crazy to feel you love someone you’ve never met!  Perhaps its because we share the same Spirit. :) 

  13. Holly says:

    One of my selfish reasons for wanting to adopt a child with Ds:  My son Trent, who has Ds, brings me so much joy!!  It is an overabundance of joy that I could never have imagined until I had him.  An adopted child may or may not be like Trent but not giving a child with the same diagnosis as Trent at least a chance for what we have is unimaginable to me.  The love, joy, LIFE!  Even if the child I one day adopt is not at all like Trent, giving them the chance to feel the joy that Trent has given to me will make me happier. 

  14. Rachel says:

    I’m with Holly, I also did not understand all of this. But the first question I DID understand as well as the answer! I am single, and am adopting child number five. If I would have waited till I got married, there is a good chance it would never have happened. Number one, because I might never have gotten married. Number two, husbands are not always as excited about adopting. :) Don’t mean that in a disrespectful way against men at all.
    I love my children so much even though things are tough sometimes. All five have special needs, three of them are obvious physical needs, one of them is very needy emotionally and one is..well, just plain complex and doesn’t fit any one diagnosis neatly! But we are a happy family and are thriving. I thank God for blessing me, though having very little of this world’s goods OR education, with FIVE precious souls! I can hardly believe it!  He has made me a joyful mother of children. and has given five children a Christian home, a wonderful private Christian school, a loving caring church and TONS of uncles, aunts and cousins and a doting set of grandparents. We are all blessed to be a family.

  15. Becky K! says:

    Beautiful post! 

  16. Debbie says:

    Susanna, you might wonder why I, an orthodox Jewish person, finds your blog so compelling…of course, there is your lovely family, your wise and thoughtful writing, your captivating pictures…but also the sense that I am watching wonder unfold through your actions, and the feeling that I too could participate in some way – whether through donations, social networking, political activism, or perhaps even in walking the road of adoption in our own family?  In some ways, the content of your words passes over me – our belief systems are very different – but I find much more in common with someone who does BELIEVE (even if it is in what Lee calls above “the profound importance of human interconnectedness and compassion”) than I would with someone who holds a nihilistic world view.  I’m glad to read directly that you are happy for orphans to find families of various kinds.  The ability to see beyond our own needs and act on behalf of others, even to the point of renouncing our own needs,  is limited in the world – but if that is a defining factor of “godliness”, then i think you will find many godly people who do not consider themselves christians.  But, as you say, there are still not enough people to fill the huge need…
    thank you for initiating this very thoughful (and respectful) discussion and i’m looking forward to your update post!

  17. Jane says:

    I am deeply thankful for this post, although I am with another commenter who is plum tuckered out and needs to re-read the thoughtful post and comments a few more times to fully take it all in.  Motherhood does wobble the mind!  (or at least it did for me.)
    I appreciate the respectful tone of this conversation.  I love Jesus and his teachings, do not define myself as belonging to any particular religion, am married to a rabbi and Debbie’s words echo just about everything I was thinking about why I read your blog, why I respect your family, why I refuse to view you as special or worse, blogging world celebrities, why I have cared about Katie, why I struggle that others do not care for these children in need of rescue (across the globe to whom we are ALL connected), how I try to find my ways to be of service,  and why I believe we should all be serving God and one another.  Debbie hit the nail on the head.  (thanks Debbie for eloquently writing that which I am too tired to express…)
    As always, your thoughtfulness and clarity are appreciated Susanna.  Hope it was a good weekend!

  18. Hollie says:

    Ahhh! The lawyer in me always loves a respectful, honest, intellectual discussion. Thank you for the post, Susanna. And, thank you to Lee, Jane, and Debbie for the comments. In my mind’s eye, I kind of see Christianity as a spectrum (can you tell that I have a child with autism?! ;) ). I am in a different spot on that spectrum than you, Susanna, but I am learning from you EVERY day. You generate questions that He and I wrangle together, and I thank you for that.

    As for motives…I think this is a big one. Oddly, it never occurred to me that someone would describe you as a hero. Having a child with different needs of my own, I have learned, like you learned on your amazing journey with Verity’s pregnancy and birth and life, that different needs are not scary but are, in fact, joyful, exponentially so. Only one being can assess the nature of one’s motives. I let Him do that because I am incapable, fledgling human that I am. When folks attempt to ascertain someone else’s motives, that is called, I believe, JUDGING. I find wonderful courage and beauty in folks, whatever their walk or belief, who realize that.

    As for who is worthy of adopting whom, I leave that to Him, and I believe, as you do, that He does chose folks who don’t acknowledge or know Him. Isn’t he a cool guy?! ;) I would like to see more folks rely on FAITH or belief in or love for others in making their decisions rather than their egocentric or worldly reasons for not adopting.

    I appreciate you, Susanna. Not for taking in Katie but for listening to his guidance for you to share your mind and life and heart and faith with us.

  19. Valerie says:

    I mirror what William Brown said. Perfectly put and my own set of thanks for the newest post. 

  20. Tammi says:

    I need more quiet, reflective time to process the post above and indeed, the comments it invoked. I am looking forward to some time, perhaps in the middle of the night! to do so!  For now, thank you for your ‘few brief thoughts’. I loved reading them the first time, and look forward to reading them again, and, I am sure, again.

  21. Ginny says:

    ” . . . not all Christians live consistently with a coherent Biblical worldview.”  I know this post wasn’t specifically about this statement, but I want to thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking about for the past month or so.  I am in no way a model Christian (perhaps “mature” would be a better word), although I try to let Scripture be my guiding force, examining statements made by others (and myself) in the light of what God says.  I find myself becoming frustrated and not knowing how to correctly respond to friends who do not do the same.  One of those friends – and I believe she is a born again Christian – has been posting “advice” on Facebook all month, advice she took from some secular source, and most of it is unscriptural.  (At this point, I’m not even reading it.)  Knowing my tendency to overreact and to come across as mean-spirited (which is often a result of my frustration from being unable to communicate well), I most often choose to be silent.  Anyway, I appreciate your willingness to speak from your heart and back up your comments with Scripture, despite being aware, I’m certain, that some will disagree with you.  I sense great love and compassion in your responses, too. 
    BTW, I know we can always look up the verses you post using a concordance, but it would be very helpful if you would include the references.
     

  22. Fiona says:

    Another atheist here who adores this blog!!
     
    I would love, love, love to adopt a child with special needs but I’m disabled and have M.E and at present am not well enough to. So I feel like I’m living vicariously though blogs like this. I love seeing Katie change and develop and I love seeing how much love you all have as a family. What beautiful children you have – all of them!

    Like Lee I would say ‘my atheist, secular humanist moral worldview ABSOLUTELY requires a complete dedication to humanitarian aid.’ And if you study Darwin further and evolutionary psychology in particular it becomes very apparent that it is important that we are kind to one another – we all benefit as a society if we engage in kind acts and care about one another.  You have to take Darwin with a pinch of salt as he was writing in a particular era where particular views were popular and he made some massively important discoveries but his thoughts aren’t the be all and end all.

    I know a lot of Christians think that godless societies are full of people who are selfish and don’t look after their more vulnerable members and are only out for themselves, but I can honestly assure you that is not the way it goes in my experience. That doesn’t mean that lots of people aren’t like that, but as an atheist with many atheist (and Christian!) friends I live in a world where people care that I have bad health and they go out of their way to help me and support me and do so with others too. But yes, lots of people are selfish. I can see why looking at things from a (Victorian) Darwinian perspective seems a scary old thing. It’s just important that you are willing to look past the surface and the fear-mongering and see all the good that many people who live without religion do.

    Anyway, thank you for your latest post. I too have shown people this blog and they all love it. I am willing Katie on to keep improving and growing and enjoying every moment of this new, love-filled life. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  23. Rachel M says:

    Such healthy debate! Some elements of this post reminded me of Ravi Zacharias’ most recent broadcasts where he takes on discussing the mystery of evil. It is in 2 parts. You “thinkers” out there might enjoy listening. Part 1 http://rzim.org/resources/listen/letmypeoplethink.aspx?archive=1&pid=2356 
    Part 2
     http://rzim.org/resources/listen/letmypeoplethink.aspx

  24. Kat says:

    I am loving the discussion that’s happening here, so I thought I’d pitch in my 2 cents as well.  I would call myself a recovering fundamentalist.  I was raised strictly Southern Baptist deep in the Bible belt –and I was a true believer up through most of high school– but am now profoundly anti-religious.  That being said, I do believe in God, and Jesus, and believe I have a spiritual relationship with Him.
    Katie’s story is inspiring and wonderful and gives me hope.  I look forward so much to new posts and seeing her develop and grow into an even more beautiful, smiley, happy little girls.  I would one day like to adopt a special needs child, but for now I am a nursing student preparing to work in pediatric special needs.  
    I see God in these children.  (I previously worked as a nanny, caring for a very very special needs little boy, who despite having benefited from a loving family and all the wonders in western medicine all his life, functioned at a level lower than Katie’s at 10 year old.) I see God in them, in their lovely little faces and their smiles and laughter.  I do not see God in “Christianity” (or what calls itself that in America today) or in religion or in fundamentalism, either.  Most of what I see is appalling.  
    I know that sounds like I am defining myself more by what I don’t believe than what I do, but it’s really just easier to explain that way under the circumstances.  Your family is lovely, your blog is inspiring and Katie is just beautiful.  Thank you.

  25. Tami Swaim says:

    Priscilla may I ask you why you would be willing to model your life after a liar?  I find it strange that you would want to follow the teaching of a deceiver.  If Jesus makes claim that He is the Son of God and you do not believe this, then He is a liar.  Though He did many wonderful things; if in doing so He gained the respect of so many people …and then let them down by lying and calling himself the Messiah, Savior….?  I would reconsider loving someone that has deceived nations into believing something that He is not.  Or is He…could He indeed be that which He said He was? 
     
     
     

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