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A good father knows… what?

May 19, 2011

During a random whizz through WordPress.com today I saw a post with the title: A Good Father Knows the Heavenly Father.  This post asserts exactly what you’d expect from its title.  Apparently, trust in, and reliance on, god is what a man needs to model for his children.  We are also told that a man’s ultimate triumph as a father comes when his children say, “I serve the god of my father.”  The thrust then is that god is the perfect role model as a father.

Wow.

The god we are talking about here is the god of the Bible.  You know, the god who asked one of his favourite ‘children’ to kill his own son and was happy when the guy proved he would do it.  The god who got hacked off with his ‘children’ and killed all but 8 of them in a flood.  The god who ordered his ‘children’ to commit genocides.  The god who sent his own son to be killed by his ‘children’ to atone for their sins; sins which only existed because his eldest ‘children’ ate an apple once when he didn’t want them to.

I’m a father and I suspect that if I did any of this stuff in relation to my child the authorities would be pretty interested.  I can only imagine what life is like if your father really is as choleric, intolerant, megalomaniac, homicidal and petulant as god.  Unfortunately too many children know exactly what it is like to suffer under the tyranny of fathers like this.  It cannot be a good idea to hold up this fictional construct of Bronze Age mythology as a role model for fatherhood.  It is simply impossible to trust, or rely on, a father with these characteristics.

So what is the ultimate triumph for a man as a father?  To hear a child say, “I serve the god of my father,” is no triumph in itself.  It is, in fact, more likely to be an abject failure.  I would far rather my child said, “I am the best person I can be.”  If they decide that includes serving a god then so be it, but it must be their decision.  A father’s job is surely not to produce little carbon-copies of himself, slavishly regurgitating his platitudes.  My job as a father is to equip my child to be better than me, to move themself and others forward, to seek knowledge.

I’m not sure it is possible to fully succeed as a father, but it is certainly possible to fail utterly.  If god exists, which is very unlikely, then he is a failure as a father.  The vast majority of his ‘children’ don’t know him and do not have any relationship with him.  Those who do acknowledge him as a father don’t understand him and disagree on what he wants.

I do not presume to offer advice to other fathers.  I’m still in the middle of doing the job and have no idea if I’m doing it well.  I think I am, I hope I am, but only time will tell.  I do know I’m doing better than that dysfunctional god though.

What do you think?  Any insights you can give into fatherhood or parenthood will be gratefully received.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. PJH permalink
    May 19, 2011 19:45

    Muddle through are my watch words, bloody things don’t come with a manual do they? I think keeping God out of their lives is probably one of the better things we can do as fathers. Like some weirdo boyfriend that appears on your door one day, you know he’s wrong for your daughter in so many ways…

    • May 19, 2011 20:14

      You’re not wrong there PJ. Unfortunately you can’t kill em all :-/

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