An attorney and law professor from Washington, D.C., suggests ways for parents to introduce a contemporary, science-worthy version of God to children.
Author Correia, a special counsel for civil rights during the Clinton administration, makes it clear from the start that his God is no anthropomorphic, bearded Old Testament patriarch thunderously presiding from heaven over all creation. Rather, his is a god or godlike force of love and compassion, with special emphasis on compassion, and perhaps best conceived of as pure being, as opposed to a being. Teetering often on the brink of agnosticism, the author debunks the old God as unable to withstand the assault of scientific inquiry and discerns instead a small-g god who (or that) is worthy of reverence if only because he, she or it, has held sway over fervent believers since B.C. The traditional concept of a humanlike, sternly moral and punishing deity has its downsides—like its historic use by parents and clergy to scare the hell out of naughty children—but on balance, it prevented moral chaos. But foremost among all religions, the author says, is the fostering of compassion for others. This alone, he writes, is reason enough for parents to answer with a resounding yes when their children ask if there is a God. The seed planted, parents would be wise to stand back and let their maturing offspring make what they will of life’s great mysteries. Correia’s prose is very readable, his subject and intent lofty, and his viewpoint inclusive and open-minded, if heretical to some. Throughout, he makes his own perspective clear without disparaging other faith-based dogmas, though he does vigorously suggest science has left certain ancient but enduring views of godhead in tatters. A synopsis of world religions at the book’s end will allow parents to stay one step ahead of their inquiring children. But if boiling down holy books and endless religious tracts into a few short paragraphs is helpful in grasping broad outlines, such concise treatment of faiths risks oversimplification.
A compact, impeccably argued and personally revealing inquiry into religious belief, as much for adults as it is for teaching to their children.