2) Christianity preys on the innocent
It is quite true that Christianity reaches out to children, though I would hardly call it preying on them. “Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” It seems that the Bible, in many ways, favors children over adults.
To me, the word prey signifies the goal of causing damage and distress. Christianity certainly does not have this attitude toward children. Sure, there are many warnings given to children, but the end is not to push the child down but to bring him up. I give stern warnings and punishments to my son, but not because I enjoy doing it. Neither do I give them because I want him to conform to a certain mode of behavior. I do it for his joy. I make him cry sometimes so that he will cry less in the future. If he never learns to fight against the wrong impulses that live within him he will never be happy. Cruel people are rarely satisfied people. When we live in opposition to God we are rarely happy in life. If he steals something today the natural consequence will be very small. But if he steals when he is sixteen the consequence could be very great. So I intensify the consequences of his actions now so that he won’t make a big mistake when the stakes are higher.
In dealing with children, if the end of our actions is to make the kids conform to a certain way of thinking or way of living, we are misguided and perhaps even preying on the children. But Christianity’s goal is not this. It is holy happiness. A happiness that can only be achieved through Christ. I discipline and teach Joseph toward this end. If I were to teach a class of children I would do the same – guide them toward better lives, not toward acting right. Right living is more a secondary goal or a symptom of the main goal. The main goal is the happiness of the individual and the glory of God. And in the end these two goals are almost one, if we find the real happiness.