When a Child Questions God's Existence

When a young child begins to ask questions, he is likely to put everything to the test. "I don't believe in God," he may announce provocatively to his parents. Perhaps he heard someone say this at school. Perhaps he just wants to learn what it feels like to voice such a rebellious thought, or to find out what the reaction will be on the part of his mother and father who are, he knows, firm believers in God and insist that he go regularly to Sunday School.

And what will their reaction be? Horror? Arguments? A quiet but pained willingness to let him make his own decisions as to whether or not he believes in God? If it is the last, he will wonder just what to make of it. He knows that if at bedtime he had questioned the coming of sunrise in the morning, or if he had said he didn't believe there were such animals as giraffes because he hadn't ever seen one, he would have had a definite answer that the sun would certainly rise, and giraffes definitely do exist, and he had just better believe both of these facts because they happen to be true.

Now, here are these people whom he respects leaving it to him to decide whether God exists or not. Don't they feel sure themselves? If they are sure, then why don't they communicate this certainty firmly and reasonably as they would any other? They always want him to know things that are true. If they are not sure, why do they go to church, and make him go to Sunday School? it doesn't make sense. A seed of doubt is sown, not only concerning God's existence but concerning the wisdom of his parents. Who can he have faith in now?

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

July 14, 1973

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.