After Ellie restated her disbelief in God last night she began asking us for proof. We went back over the ground we had been before, but she wanted concrete evidence.
Then she came up with an idea of her own.
‘Hey remember that story in the Bible where the guy hung out a sheep’s fleece?’
‘Well let’s do that. We’ll put it under cover tonight and if its wet then God is real. Then the next day we will put it on the lawn and if its dry then that’s proof too’
‘Okay’ I said half wondering myself if God might just humour her.
This morning she was up bright and early and checked the towel we left on the table. Her face said it all. She felt the towel all over, but it was dry as a bone.
Clearly God does not exist.
She was very disappointed.
The journey continues… and I sense it may be a journey that rolls for a long time. She is a determined little girl and has stopped swallowing easy answers, but is not yet capable of the existential arguments that may offer her some satisfaction.
The ‘simple miracles’ approach doesn’t work for me either – I think I’d much prefer a deep philosophical basis for belief and as you suggest I think Ellie would too.
At the rate her mind is working that might be sooner than you think.
It takes longer for some then others….different ways…..different days….same Father
I wonder why God doesn’t just do it sometimes! It would make things a heck of a lot simpler for us!! 🙂
Are you familiar with Fowler’s stages of faith? It’s a useful tool (similar to Piaget’s cognitive development theory) for thinking about contextualising faith for different ages and stages. Just google Fowler and stages of faith and you’ll get a whole bunch of info.
Yeah – I am Simon.
Its not a great concern. Just interesting and enjoyable watching her grow and learn.
Fowler says some very helpful stuff
this brought a smile and a tear to my eye – see like the guy with the fleece I prayed for a sign – got one and wasn’t happy with it (or maybe wasn’t sure about it) – so prayed again and got a similar one (although this one was more obvious than before, and I mean more obvious), now I need to figure out what the heck to do! and in the process the story of Gideon has become very real – if we ask of God – he may well expect a lot back and that’s hard work for an adult…
Here is what is exciting. She is a thinker. When he facts click she will be a powerful voice for the gospel.
I know where you’re coming from. My young son is starting to ask some harder questions (like his ol man) but similarly lacks the capacity to follow the deeper arguments (he is not even 5 yet after all). I can see I got some major challenges ahead of me. Blessings mate.
That is so great! What a wonderful thing to witness!
I always tell people who have to make a decision they’re agonising over: “toss a coin. It’s the best way to know.” Not because I think they should do what the coin tells them. Because if you toss and you’re disappointed – then you know the real decision you want to make yourself… not to do the thing that the coin tells you!
Ellie was disappointed. You could see the disappointment on her face! In Jesus’ words, “She’s very close to the kingdom of God!”
You are in my prayers today!
Per Simon’s reply, I like Kohlberg’s Moral Stages on this one. But whatever.
Congratulations on not forcing your girl to “think right” but rather to think WELL!
And because I LOVE watching kids/people develop and grow, would you mind (if it’s not too invasive into your family or your girl’s life) expanding on why she wants to know if God exists or not? Or maybe what would go ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for her if God does or does not exist?
Intrusive questions from a foreigner,
Oh man, I don’t look forward to these conversations with my three daughters as they get older. Fortunately, we’re starting them off by telling them the truth about Santa, the tooth-fairy, etc., because it seems odd for kids to grow up and realize that they were tricked… and at the same time be expected to believe in a deity who is no more tangible than Santa or the tooth-fairy.
And even more fortunately, I lean calvinist on the issue of salvation, so I’m confident that God will move when the time is right. God simply encountered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… and I believe he will encounter my children.