What DOES that Bible really say about parenting?

comments 2
the godless side / the post-God side

I’ve mentioned that one of my current passions is Attachment Parenting. I wrote a post on my non-anonymous blog a week or two ago that got people pretty fired up when I shared it on facebook. My point was to challenge the notion that raising a child “God’s Way” (via the methods of parenting in books like “Growing Kids God’s Way” and “Babywise”) was not only counter to current research and science on epigenetics, child psychology, physiology, and history, but that such methods were even harmful to children.

One of the commenters was appalled at my audacity and said we didn’t need any research or science to back our parenting but instead just to use the Bible.

What a statement.

My husband took that opportunity to truly look at what, exactly, the Bible has to say about parenting.   This was his response:

I’ll answer your sarcasm with a little of my own:

I should have known better than to trust scientists and geneticists and child-psychologists about parenting. Of course a collection of 66 contradictory scrolls from secondhand and tertiary sources of ancient writings of word-of-mouth stories told by a certain select group of nomadic genocidal goat herders from a certain small desert region of the world is a much better source of absolute and final knowledge and wisdom of 21st century parenting techniques.

Forgive me, and let me take a look at some of the parenting techniques of the all-knowing all-powerful, all-loving, uncreated master of the universe.

First, create your children in your image. favor one gender above another, and make it abundantly clear that the weaker is made after, and from, and for the stronger, lest she ever doubt her place. (Genesis 2:22)

After creating these children, forbid them from seeking knowledge and lie to them outright about what will happen to them should they ever try to obtain it. (Genesis 2:17)

Place temptation in their midst let Satan himself approach them and reason with them as he will, do nothing to interfere. Let them rebel against you, while doing nothing. After they rebel curse them in anger, cause hardship, make childbirth hard for them. (Genesis 3:16)

Do not intervene even if one child were to murder another. (Genesis 4:8)

When enough of your children do bad things together, wish they had never been born. When things get bad enough, slaughter them all by the millions or billions. The best way to deal with unruly children is apparently to kill them. Slaughter all living animals while you are at it for no reason at all. THIS is how the all-loving all-powerful god of the universe deals with children. these are the BIBLICAL parenting techniques of God himself. (Genesis 6:7)

In the Bible we also see some specific examples of HUMAN parents, plotting to kill their children as commanded by God (Genesis 22:2), then turning away at the last minute. PTSD much? Then in Genesis 19 we see the only “righteous man” (according to 2 Peter 2:7) in the city offering his daughters to be raped, then becoming drunk and having sex with those same daughters. THIS is the kind of parent that God can intervene and save in the midst of all the other “wicked” children he plans to, once again, murder by the thousands? (Genesis 19:24)

In the Bible we see men of God bear children by multiple wives favoring some wives above others, favoring particular children above others, giving blessings to one son and not another, falsely giving a blessing to the wrong son, doing nothing to correct it, sending away wives and sons because they can’t get along with other wives and sons, etc, etc, etc. (All through Genesis)

At one point God specifically “hardens the heart” of one of his children against the other SO THAT he would not do as God had command SO THAT God could then can kill everyones firstborn whether they had anything to do with this or not. (Exodus 11:5)

We see this loving parent of biblical parenting style commanding his children to slaughter other children by the millions and billions because they have something that they want. A good object lesson when one child has a toy that another one wants? “just go kill all of the other children who have what you want because *I* decided that I want you to have it.” He also takes special care to punish his children when they fail to slaughter innocent women and children as he had commanded. (Deut., Joshua, 1 Samuel)

Are we SURE that this racist, sexist, genocidal Iron Age God of War is the best source of supreme parenting advice?

In 2 Samuel 13 there is a man “after God’s own heart” who, after his son raped his daughter was “very angry” and did nothing. (Verse 21)

In Judges 11 we have a particularly endearing story about a man who promised to kill for God the first thing out his gate as he returned home. It was his daughter. He killed her for God. he did however let her go weep with her friends for 2 month first. what a touching story about this mans love for his daughter that got caught in conlict with his “vow to the lord that I cannot break.” (Verse 35)

Some little parenting gems we can glean from the Bible:

When your son masturbates, kill him. (Genesis 38:10)

When your son tries to help you when you didn’t want his help, kill him. (1 Chronicles 13:10)

When any of your children disobey you, kill them. (Deut. 12:18-21)

When it comes to hygiene and dietary restrictions, say nothing about boiling water or washing hands, instead impose a ban on arbitrary things like shellfish (Leviticus 11:10)

When your daughter draws you a nice picture in crayon, if it is a likeness of anything on the earth, kill her. (Exodus 20:4)

When your children work on the wrong day of the week, kill them. (Exodus 31:14)

If your daughter is raped in the city and doesn’t cry loudly enough, kill her. (Deut. 22:23-24)

My favorite: If a man rapes your daughter, make him pay you 50 shekels. Then make her marry him. If she won’t, kill her. (Deut. 22:28-29)

Even giving birth to a female is far worse to God than giving birth to a male. (Leviticus 12:5)

In the book of Job we have an entire story about a sadistic bet that God makes with Satan before turning him loose to torture his particularly valiant son mercilessly. Many of God’s children are killed during the course of the bet as well. All of this for no fault of Job, but rather BECAUSE of his righteousness. When Job dares to question any of this God shows up and chastises him until he says “I despise myself.” (Job 42:6) Good child-rearing psychology?

God does horribly cruel things like making people eat the flesh of their sons and daughters. (Jeremiah 19:9) or cursing people groups and their children for generations to come (Exodus 34:7)

In his perfect God-breathed book God promises that beating your child with a rod will never cause death. But rather “Thou shalt beat him with a rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23 13-14) This same book specifically states that “Blows that wound, cleanse away evil; beatings make clean the innermost evil.” (Proverbs 20:30)

In Act 2 of this amazing collection we have the master plan of God revealed. He sends his son to be killed to appease his own wrath towards his children. Those who don’t hear about the sacrifice, or those who hear it and they are not sufficiently convinced he sends to burn. Forever.

After ACT 2 it looks as if a parent is not to have contact with any of his children. Good parenting advice seems to be: Hide from your children forever and don’t make any contact. Never speak to them, never show yourself, just let them read about you, and let them hear about you from people who have read about you. But don’t take any steps to ensure that the message is clear, instead, let there be all kinds of conflicting things said about you. Let wars be fought in your name. Let a thousand different conflicting variations of descriptions of you be spread throughout the world. Do not do anything to set the records straight.

If some of your children happen to hear the RIGHT things about you and happen to believe them despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, they are now worthy to be your children. They now deserve your love, as you never loved them beforehand, you only love them if they are righteous and only one of them is righteous and you sent him to hell so that the rest could come to be with you, where they will spend eternity singing your praises and giving you glory.

The rest are to burn. Forever.

This is the perfect parenting book?

And to take it a step beyond this and out of the Bible, if we are to believe the accounts we are told by the Official Bible Fan Club you should do this for your children:

For your white middle-class children, cause green lights. Protect their cell phones from water, and find their missing keys.

On occasion you will heal their illnesses (exactly the same amount as chance would predict.) Most of the time will not heal illness (exactly the same amount as chance would predict.)

All the while doing nothing for the millions of starving in Africa, the millions of victims of rape who acquire aids, the children who are raped by their parents, or by strangers, you do nothing to help any of them.

What DO you do for these rape and hunger victims? You burn them in hell forever based on whether or not they heard and believed a fantastic story which you could just show up and tell them but instead you’re too busy helping your rich white middle-class American children find their keys and get their latte just in time to make it to church.

Forgive me if I’m skeptical about a Biblical approach to parenting.

The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.


  1. Hoo, boy, you’re on a roll! You left out “help us celebrate your real son’s birthday by providing us with the right items on sale at the mall so that we can show your love by having a thousand Christmas presents under our pagan tree.”

    Unrelated to religion, we practiced attachment parenting and got flack for it. As an older couple (me late 30s, him early 50s), we didn’t give a fig for what others thought. He raised his older kids society’s way and saw the detriment in it. We decided we were not raising a child, we were raising a future adult. It was up to us to do what was best for us and for her.

    I nursed her for 2.5 years until she self-weaned. Next to sex with my husband, nursing my child (and sometimes her daddy) has been the most amazing experience of my entire life bar none.
    We didn’t intend to co-sleep. However, after two sleepless nights of listening to our baby cry, my husband snuggled her between us. We all slept, we always knew exactly where she was, she nursed on demand, and it was the closest thing to a heaven we’ve ever known. When she was ready for her own bed, she let us know. We wore her in slings and backpacks until she said enough. We took baths with her, slept skin-to-skin, kissed, sang, played, nurtured – I could go on and on….

    Our baby is now a teenager who talks to us about everything, asks for hugs, snuggles with us, is mature and compassionate, is a self motivated learner, and all-in-all amazing human being. If someone is hurt or crying, she responds to them because she received the same response. We help her impose her own boundaries, and she consults us for input if she’s thinking of pushing them. She’s not perfect. But she knows we aren’t either because we don’t pretend to be.

    You just keep loving and responding and touching and nurturing that future adult of yours. She is already amazing and you are showing her what it should mean to be really, truly human.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a beautiful, perfect example of parenting!! Oh this encourages me so much!! I’m so very glad you’ve had such a great experience and great success with your now teenager 🙂 I seriously can’t WAIT (I mean I can, and do, and savor every moment until then) for our baby to get older and talk to us and confide in us and trust us. that is something I never had and can’t wait to give to our child..


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