This open letter is written in response to a viral article written by Amelia Kibbie that can be found HERE.
At the time of this writing, your article has been shared 20,928 times on Facebook alone. So, clearly, this sentiment resonates in the hearts of many people.
If you happen to be reading this, Amelia, please know that I understand where you are coming from. You are trying to make the best choice for your children and reducing the negative impact of what you experienced. This is understandable, commendable, and, even, praiseworthy.
This open letter is from one parent “trying to figure it out” to another. Also, from the outset, I want to commend you for using your gift of writing. You are a great writer and, even though I did not agree with what you were writing, I enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
Over Two Thousand Years Old
First, I want to bring up one of the biggest issues I noticed in your writing. What is “secular morality”? You referenced a study from Duke University which refers to “secular morality” and then makes a plethora of value judgments which have no objective grounding. How do they define vengeful, tolerant, authoritarian, and nationalistic? Perhaps I am biased against Duke from the get-go as an alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill… but that aside, this seems to be a biased assessment. It smacks of opinion rather than fact.
The truth is, there is no true secular morality. Any secular morality is simply mob rule by the current prevailing cultural trend. It is not based in natural law. It is simply the consensus. The African slave trade and the Jewish Holocaust were the result of such a philosophy. If secular morality is correct on a given point it is probably due more to natural law than any agreement of a consensus. Morality must have a solid grounding.
Why do I bring this up? Well, Christianity, and I am referring to Catholic Christianity is established in the law of the human person on the level of human nature. It is founded on principles that transcend time, circumstance, place, people, and condition. Much of this moral fabric is inherited from Judaism going back even longer.
Both Judaism and Christianity are predicated on being other-focused and outside of oneself. Sacrifice is foundational to Judeo-Christian principles. The idea that humanity has “gotten it wrong” all these years takes more faith than believing that I personally have the right idea about morality.
Privacy and God
It is clear from your writing that you value privacy and understandably. If God exists as described by Christianity, then He is benevolent and the Creator of all things. If God exists and He made you, then He knows absolutely everything about you, down to the numbers of hair on your head at any given moment. What is missing from your experience of church is the reality of God beyond the Methodist instantiation you were exposed to.
God is not like Santa. God is the ground of being. In Him, we live and move and have our being. He knows absolutely everything about you and within you. And He chooses to love you. Even now in your agnosticism and rejection of Christianity, He loves you. That is central. He is not an angry God who will judge you unjustly. He is a loving Father who desires the absolute best for you.
There is no privacy from God because such a thing is an absurdity. Even despite His infinite knowledge, God will never reject you, no matter what you do or what happens to you. If you do not believe this, ask God to show you how much He loves you and pursues you in that love.
Right from Wrong
The question is not about how your children will know right from wrong. You are right, the Ten Commandments do not necessarily need to be told to your children. She will know right from wrong on a basic natural level if she is truly open to the truth.
It seems by all indications that you love your children very much. From this experience, she will likely develop of a good sense of self-worth, but to what end? Where will she direct her life? You speak of limiting harm to others and that is good. But what about sacrificial, life-giving love. Any model of this will necessarily be human, apart from the truth of God, and so will be lacking.
Give it Another Go
I am not approaching this open letter with any sense of judgment and malice. Please know that I mean what I am saying: I understand your trepidation. There are so many imperfect examples of Christians. The idea of going it alone seems safer, but nothing could be more dangerous.
We cannot be our own authority. You and I will always get it wrong from time to time. We need the guardrails of love that God offers us. These are not restrictive or harming our privacy. God loves you and your children more than you can possibly imagine. I say this because it’s accurate, not to be cliché.
God does not send people to Hell. We send ourselves to Hell by rejecting His love. The door of Hell is locked from the inside.
I invite you to ask questions, give it another go, and give another examination to religion. I do not extend this invitation because “I’m right” or “you’re wrong,” but because the hound of Heaven is relentlessly pursuing, and you will never find happiness, rest, and fulfillment unless you find it in Him.
There is SO MUCH MORE to say and talk about. But I’ve already gone too long. I would welcome a response or a conversation! Please feel free to reach out by sending me an email, if you’d like: [email protected] .