I can’t help but wonder if the future of parenthood is looking grim.
Should parents be able to choose their child’s school? Should they be able to choose whether their child gets Ethics Education or Religious Education, or neither? Should they be able to choose what they teach their own kids about the world and religion?
I’m assuming you’d say “yes” to all these…? Ok… now try and answer the question, “Why?” Why should parents, rather than say, the Education Dept., or some other independent – though socially acceptable – group? On what grounds, or on what basis do you think a couple who has sex and conceives a child should have ANY say in that child’s life? Defend that opinion.
[Seriously… try and come up with an answer before you read on.]
One of the pressing issues that’s involved here is marriage. See, a large part of the reason we think parents SHOULD have these responsibilities is because we’re coming out of an age where marriage is still partly considered a social commitment between a man and a woman for the good of society and for the raising of children (however, we’re moving into an age where marriage is considered a social experience while it seems good for the couple). The idea parents would take responsibility for their children flows out of a prior commitment to one-another. That commitment is the “norm” which suggests all parents (married or not) SHOULD take responsibility for their offspring.
But if marriage is not a commitment which our society upholds, and if marriage is no longer for the proper raising of children, then that “basis” is gone.
But, to answer the question…
As far as I can tell, apart from the temporary laws of the State, and the ever delicate “consequentialist” argument, the only basis for parental responsibility is God’s Word. God appoints people to roles. God “gives” children to their parents, in the same way God then “gives” those children (when they’re older) to others in marriage.
And because of this, on judgement day, many men will stand accused for failing in their fatherly responsibility toward the children they didn’t even know they had because they slept around and saw no basis for why they should be held responsible. And many women will stand accused because they terminated the child they were given responsibility to care for.
But… there is always Jesus, who is not only our brother, but he’s our better-Adam. He’s humanity’s new father. He acts as our true parent and takes responsibility for our actions, our murders and our failures. He bears the punishment we deserve, like a parent paying for their children’s mistake. He offers forgiveness to his children.