Should Children Make up Their Own Minds about Religion?

A recent trend among religious Christians allows children to decide whether to attend church. They must come to their own conclusions about religion, the thinking goes. Jason Stubblefield disagrees:

In all [religious] traditions, people learn to reason by a process of initiation—by living within the practices and beliefs of those traditions. It is only after they have learned the grammar of a particular tradition that they are able to begin reasoning within it. . . . As I contemplate raising my son, my own childhood memories of church begin to stir. I was not always willing to go. I did have some friends at church, and the hope of playing with them made attendance more appealing. However, children grow quickly (as I’m told I’ll soon discover), and my teenage self preferred sleep to Sunday school. While Christianity was in some sense intriguing, church was not. . . . Yet now I reflect on all these experiences as a United Methodist pastor. I am deeply grateful to my parents for taking me to church despite my objections . . . Based on my early church experiences, letting my son “make up” his own mind about religion would be misguided, because that conception of freedom fails to recognize how children learn to reason in the first place. Children do not choose religious identity à la carte, but by utilizing the traditions of rationality that have taught them how to think.

Read more at First Things

More about: American Religion, Children, Christianity, Education, Prayer, Religion


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7