Absolutes

Joe at the regional Science Fair

My oldest son is a deep thinker. When he was 5, he told me this: “God is all-knowing. I’m not all-knowing yet, but I am knowing.” The boy never stops thinking. I honestly don’t know if his attention-defecit is a result of his constant thinking or if his frenetic brain activity is the cause of his attention-defecit.

Lately, Joe has been very conflicted. He goes to Christian school and is taught in absolutes. The problem is that as much as he loves God and his school, he also loves science. He struggles to make peace between the things he’s taught at school and the scientific theories that have taken hold of his imagination. Although he can see in shades of grey, he lives in a black and white world.

It is partially because of Joe’s concern about absolutes that his father and I have kept him in Christian school. We thought it might be best for him to learn young that even within a like-minded community there are dissenting opinions, and that lack of accord is not necessarily a bad thing. Recently, though, Joe told us that he thinks he should go to public school because his scientific beliefs put him at odds with most (probably all) of his classmates and teachers. He longs to fit in but feels he doesn’t because he doesn’t think the Earth is 6,000 years old or that dinosaurs and humans ever coexisted. He feels he is not being a good Christian because of his views on science and, therefore, he should not attend Christian school. I can’t tell you how incredibly sad that makes me because I believe God has room to love us all, creationists and evolutionists alike.

As we struggle with the dilemma of whether to keep him at the school he has attended now for seven years, myriad questions filter through my mind. Why are we humans so insistent on maintaining absolutes? What do we gain by refusing to acknowledge other view points and ostracizing those whose brains see things differently? Why must our beliefs trump someone else’s to be valid?

I hope Joe will come to believe that God loves him even if he believes the fossil record exists in millions of years and not thousands of years. I hope that we’ve given him conviction enough to stand with his faith even if it differs from those around him. If Joe has to focus on an absolute, I hope that it would be that we are all entitled to be loved by God and judged by him alone.

2 comments

  1. Wow. Poor kid. To be so young and so full of so many conflicting thoughts. I wish you all well making the decisions to keep him there or move him but I truly believe he’ll fit in anywhere if he thinks on what you said – God has room for everyone so he’ll be just fine.

  2. His little soul makes my heart ache for him, yet I’m always so impressed by him. If it helps, he’s not the only scientist to struggle with these issues:). And there are others, like people in the gay community, who struggle with what it means to be a Christian when who they are doesn’t seem to fit with what others tell them a Christian should be. You guys always let him know what an important place he has in your hearts and in your family, though, and that will carry him through as he finds his place in the world.

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