Praying before dinner, and going to church together: who still has a debt? † right Now

The report shows that fewer and fewer people are raising their children in faith Outside the church and mosque The Office of Social and Cultural Planning (SCP), which appeared recently. What do parents who choose a religious upbringing have?

For the first time in history, there are more non-believers in the Netherlands than believers, according to a report by the Supreme Police Council. It may also mean that for the first time more children are being raised without faith.

Practical theologian Tok Elshof of Tilburg University speaks to many parents who decide for themselves whether or not to call their upbringing religious. “For them, faith is not necessarily associated with a church or mosque. They are open to something beyond life. And the more people enter a church or mosque, the sooner they call it God. I think it’s an interesting question. Who judges that?”

“For believers, the idea of ​​a god can give meaning to existence.”

Willem Huijnick, Researcher at SCP

In the Standing Committee on Development report, the words “faith/religion” and “meaning” are not identical. But according to Willem Huijnk, a researcher at SCP, these matters are important to many people, including teachers. What’s the difference then?

Huijnk: “Unbelievers must above all find the meaning of life for themselves. Having children, for example, gives meaning to existence. For believers, only the idea of ​​a God can give meaning to life.”

Love greater than the love of parents

“For Christian parents, the fact that there is a God often means that there is a love available to their children that is greater than themselves and their abilities,” explains Elshof.

“Whatever happens, there is security and hope and from that foundation you can stand in the community. This is a different message than it was in the ’70s and ’80s, when many people closed the church door behind them. Because of the strict and sometimes coercive attitudes — you have to do it.” , you can’t do that – which was carried over to family life.”

The theologian says it is an image that many unbelievers still have. “I hardly came across it in my research and in my contact with religious families.”

“No one wants to train another member of the church.”

Tok Chouf, a practical theologian

Thousand Church Member

Chouf says that many parents who raise their children in a religious way do so with the conviction that in this way they contribute to the education of their children. “No one wants to train another member of the Church. There is much more room than before for personal matters, so that a child can choose his or her own path at any time.”

What looks concretely is different in every family. Chouf: “Some families attach great importance to rituals such as constant prayers or chanting before eating or sleeping, visiting a church or mosque, or reading stories from the Bible or the Qur’an to reflect your life.”

“Some children visit a club where they hear stories about faith. Other families light a candle to show the connection between heaven and earth at special moments, and celebrate holidays. Catholic families often live a lot with symbols like that candle or getting a cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday, more than For example, Protestants, who are more linguistic in the way they live and transmit their faith.”

“Despite our roots, it is not at all clear that the other understands what faith can mean, and vice versa.”

Tok Chouf, a practical theologian

Economic for believers

According to Huijnk, it is understood that fewer and fewer children are growing up with religion, but this can have negative consequences for society.

“The freedom to choose your own path without being constrained by laws, institutions or dogmas is worth a lot. But we also see that community spirit is on average greater among believers, who have the largest group of people who volunteer and donate to charities. As a society we must be careful with that “.

According to the Chouf, religious families also have a role in this. “The more secular society becomes, the more people tend to put religion behind the front door. That’s a shame.”

“Self-reliance, for example, is a beautiful concept, but it does not fit everywhere in our society. Just look at the housing shortage, growing poverty, loneliness, psychological problems in our country, as well as among young people. Religion, dealing with need and suffering, can That plays an important role in this. A conversation that can really start in families.”

Huijnk argues that this will only work if we understand each other as unbelievers and believers. “The fact that we have moved from a time when Christianity was dominant to a secular society causes a mutual lack of understanding. Our task is to have a conversation about this, so that believers discover that despite our roots, it is not clear that the other understands what faith can mean, and vice versa Ultimately, philosophy determines how we view society now and in the future and how we deal with it.”

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