Few, if any, normal parents would think it is not necessary to teach their children correct moral values and behavior.  However, a number of otherwise normal parents avoid teaching their children about God.  Probably, the primary reason why many of these parents take this approach is because they either do not believe in God or they have only a superficial belief in God and, therefore, they are not convinced that it is important for them to teach their children about God.

Even some parents who have more than a superficial belief in God may not think it is important for them to teach their children about God.  These parents may assume that if God really does exist, He will give their children ample opportunities to learn about Him from other sources.   However, this assumption is basically conjecture.

Regardless of the reason(s) why parents choose not to teach their children about God, we think it is important for every parent, including those who are agnostics or atheists, to consider reasons why they should attempt to teach their children about God.

Excerpts from an article entitled “Don’t Believe in God? Lie to Your Children,” which appeared in the December 6, 2019, edition of The Wall Street Journal address this matter, as follows:

As a therapist, I’m often asked to explain why depression and anxiety are so common among children and adolescents.  One of the most important explanations – and perhaps the most neglected – is declining interest in religion.  This cultural shift already has proved disastrous for millions of vulnerable young people.

Children or teens who reported attending a religious service at least once per week scored higher on psychological well-being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness.

Nihilism is fertilizer for anxiety and depression, and being “realistic” is overrated.  The belief in God – in a protective and guiding figure to rely on when times are tough – is one of the best kinds of support for kids in an increasingly pessimistic world.  [Note: Nihilism is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the denial of the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth” or “the general rejection of customary beliefs morality, religion, etc.”]

Today the U.S. is a competitive, scary and stressful place that idealizes perfectionism, materialism, selfishness and virtual rather than real human connection.  Religion is the best bulwark against that kind of society.  Spiritual belief and practice reinforce collective kindness, empathy, gratitude and real connection.

Thus, as the foregoing article states, there are a number of practical secular reasons to provide children with a belief in God.  Certainly, every caring parent should want their children to have a high level of psychological well-being and a low risk of mental illness, as well as satisfactory levels of such desirable attributes as kindness, empathy, gratitude, and real connection.

In addition to the aforementioned article, there is much research that has linked being religious with better well-being and better overall mental health.  In this regard, a number of studies have found that devout people have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a better ability to cope with stress.  Articles about such studies can be readily found on the Internet.

Consideration should also be given to the fact that the Bible indicates there is no assurance of eternal salvation in a place that most people regard as heaven unless a person trusts in Jesus Christ (God incarnate) as their Savior, although infants and young children are probably exceptions.  [For a discussion regarding assurance of eternal salvation, click on “What Must a Person Do to Be Assured of Eternal Salvation?” And, for a discussion regarding the eternal salvation of infants and young children, click on “Does God Make Exceptions for People Who Don’t Have Opportunity to Trust in Christ?]

So, what is the eternal outlook for children after they reach the age when they understand what is morally right and what is morally wrong?  We believe the appropriate answer is: After a child is able to understand what is morally right and what is morally wrong, that child must trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior in order to be assured of eternal salvation.  Therefore, if parents do not provide adequate teaching about God and Jesus Christ to their children, this will reduce the likelihood that their children will have eternal salvation as they grow older.


Although we do not condone lying about God, as suggested by The Wall Street Journal article that we quoted, we do think that the excerpts which we quoted from that article should be given serious consideration by every parent who genuinely loves their children, even if the parent is an agnostic or an atheist.

Furthermore, every parent who genuinely loves their children should consider the following: If they are right that God does not exist, their children may receive secular benefits, such as those that we previously mentioned, which result from believing that God does exist.  Conversely, if the parents are wrong and, therefore, God does exist, then not only may their children receive secular benefits, but also their children will receive eternal benefits (i.e., eternal salvation), if the children’s belief in God results in trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior.