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2/03/2007                                                                                       View Comments

A father's love

By Brian B

A father is standing on the sidewalk in front of his house. A few feet away, his son is peddling around on his bicycle. Everything is tranquil and serene. Then, the son peddles his bike into the middle of the road. "Son," says the father. "I want you to come back here because I love you and I don't want to see you get hurt."

"No!!" answers the child in defiance.

In the distance, the sound of a truck approaching can be heard.

"Son", the father reiterates gently, "I don't want to see you get hurt." He doesn't move.

"I don't care", says the child. The father can see the truck rolling down the hill, bearing in on his son. He begins to shed tears. "Well," he sobs, "If you don't want to be with me, then I guess you have to get hit by that truck", he sobs. He stands there and watches as the truck slams into his son and crushes him into a thousand pieces. He is crying.

When the father appears in court to testify against the driver, it is revealed that he was standing 3 feet away from his son the entire time. His love for his son is called into question.

The defense attorney for the driver asks him, "Sir, were you standing there while your son rode his bike into the road?"

"Yes sir."

"And you told him to come back, but he refused, is that correct?"

"Yes sir."

"And you loved your son more than anything, correct?

"More than anything, sir."

"And you did not wish any harm to come to him?"

"Yes, sir."

"Now, you see, I'm confused. Was it not in your power to run into the street and pull him to safety yourself?"

"Well, yes, sir, it was."

"And yet you chose not to?"

"Well, I wanted to give him the choice, sir."

"Being hit by a truck doesn't sound like much of a choice, now does it?"

"Well, no."

"So. You didn't want to see your boy hurt, it was completely in your power to rescue him, and just because he didn't come willingly, you let the truck hit him? How can you call yourself a loving parent?"

The father shifts in the stand. He looks up and down. "Well," he finally says, "In my defense, I was really sad about it at the time."

27 comments:

Micah Cowan said...

Terrific analogy!

-M

Sarabhi said...

What's sad to me is that this disturbing story would probably phase very few Christians. I see it as a great analogy that shows the ridiculous message of Xianity, but I think most Christians would just see it as a twisted interpretation. I know I would have seen it in that way when I was still a Xian. I'm so glad that I can now see the absurdity of the Xian faith...

Anonymous said...

what if the father had a super power and wasnt visible. the child thought he was just hearing a voice in his head all so that the father could have the joy of being chosen over reality. what if the child lived in the 1700's before he would have any idea what a truck was.

Brian B said...

I'm not sure what you're getting at, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I hope the original author is not comparing himself to the 3 year old. A 3 year old is incapable of making an intelligent decision about life and death and therefore in this case the Father is rightly percieved as calous for expecting a decision from this toddler. What if it was an 18 year old son who understood what the consequences of his actions were and had had oportunity to observe his father's wisdom in the past? The Father would still be expected to act in his son's favor but many parent's of teenagers know that they will do what they will do. At some point the Father will have to acknowledge the son's autonomy and the son acknowledge his own responsibility.

Secondly what if the Father jumps in front of the truck only to be pushed back and yelled at by his son because "I know what I'm doing Dad, just back off and leave me alone ok?" Jesus is the Father Jumping in front of the truck. He will back off when you ask him to but then when the truck hits I hope the outcome is what you expect.

tigg13 said...

You're right Sarahbi, they just don't get it.

It doesn't matter if the child is fully grown, anonymous, if they are obviously unaware of the danger that they are in, it is up to the parent to do whatever is necessary to save them.

And if the child refuses to listen, then it is obvious that the father has failed as a parent.

CyborgX said...

What if the child was suffering inside so bad that he *wanted* to die and *knew* what he was doing? This isn't a great analogy really because one doesn't know what is going through another's mind. A parent can tell a kid they "love" them (yes, in quotes yet) and yet still make a kid's life a living hell beyond their ability to withstand it.

There was just too little information in the story to really know all of what is going on.

From the story, the kid purposely went in the middle of the road. Purposely stood in place when he could see the truck coming. Purposely refused after being warned of the consequences. The kid had to have known.

And the Truck couldn't stop after all that time and ability to SEE what is in the middle of the road?

Really. This all didn't make much sense. It all didn't seem too logical.

Leonard said...

Anonymous: you don´t even understand how terribly you are showing Sarabhi was absolutely right in his first post?

You are an imbecile.

Anonymous said...

cyborgx, how much more can the father do after jumping in front of the truck and being told to back off? I don't think you understand either. The scary thing about free will is that you cannot blame anyone for your actions especially when there is an obvious alternative. No matter what the son thinks of the Father, his jumping in front of the truck should say 2 things to this son. First, this is serious. So serious that I'm physiscally getting involved and that is what I believe anyone would expect a loving Father to do. The second is I love you! So if the son cannot understand this from the father's actions and construes them as another invasion into his life and affairs what more can a father do?

Anonymous said...

This would be a better analogy if the son's death would somehow save other people. In this story, it's totally pointless so obviously the father was wrong not to try to save him. What if instead, the son wanted to throw himself on a grenade in a crowded street? Would people blame the father for not intervening in that situation? That's more like Jesus's situation if the Bible is to be believed (and I'm fully aware that most of the people reading this site will say that it isn't).

blaine said...

CyborgX wrote "...From the story, the kid purposely went in the middle of the road. Purposely stood in place when he could see the truck coming. Purposely refused after being warned of the consequences. The kid had to have known.

And the Truck couldn't stop after all that time and ability to SEE what is in the middle of the road?

Really. This all didn't make much sense. It all didn't seem too logical."
The logic is simple for anyone who loves their CHILD. You are willing to save the life of your child, you are willing to prevent any tragic suffering that might come your child's way, even if it means surrendering your life to save YOUR child. This is even the moreso true if the saving lie in your power.
blaine, the Christian, Buddhist, Humanist and Deist mix who doesn't have a clue on why all the suffering--and yes, I know all the religious/Biblical answers as I have pastored 3 Baptist churches and taught in seminary--. The closest answer as to why suffering is "It is a result of Adamic sin [original sin]and the sin nature we inherited which gives us the desire to sin. Thus we sin and the innocent suffer". Although most Christians also quote from Psalms where David said, 'In sin did my mother conceive me' KJV or 'Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me' NIV.
Ah ha, I have the answer. Children are killed and babies are born with horrible birth defects because they came out of the womb sinning. How stupid of me not to recognize this fact!
However, isn't thousands of years of suffering enough to atone for Adam's sin?
Later my friends,
blaine

Jeff said...

The father should have sent his son to be crucified and die on the cross to save the sins of all automobile and truck drivers that run over little children.

blaine said...

I've walked into gang fights and saved lives at the risk of my own. My path as a Christian has taken me where almost all Christians have feared to tread giving me some holy answer on why "It's not my calling". These people were not warmly welcomed into middle class white churches starting with the blacks during the Civil Rights Era, later my street kids [when I say kids I am also talking about people from youth to the 40s], gang kids, gay kids and those from the other side of the tracks.
I'm a retired vet, Young Tiger, and many in my unit and others died in Nam saving the life of others.
When I walked into the middle of gang wars I did not do it because they were cooperative and wanted saving, I did not do it because they had accidentally wandered into a life threatening situation, I did it because I cared and saw a future for them.
I recognize the significance of all living things and the majesty of creation and will fight hell, heaven and high water to help others understand their value to all.
I don't give a darn if they run into the road a thousand times, I will try to save their life, whether it's appreciated or not.
Sometimes it might take 999 times before that person "sees the light" and ends his destructive ways. Like the kid who goes from making 1500/day selling drugs to working at McDonalds.
I hear freewill bandied about all too often. God's freewill is like this by Christian interpretation. God gives you a free will to do as you please as he didn't create us to be robots.
This sounds good on the surface as none of us want to be a puppet where God jerks our strings or a robot.
However, this idea of freewill fails because it is like a father telling his son, "Son you are free to do anything you want but you MUST follow my path or you will spend an eternity in a Lake of Fire even though I love you and don't want you to go there".
Would any human here let one of his creations, his child, burn in terrible agony forever and the only sound you would hear would be screams of pain and their voice crying out, "Please daddy, get me out of here, it hurts".
And please don't even try to tell me that they would rather burn in these flames because they would suffer worse in the presence of a holy God [another Christian answer on why hell is better for a sinner, lost person, then heaven].
Later my friends,
blaine

Joshua said...

and am I glad he did!

nirrti said...

Anonymous #2, you mean to tell me you can't even push some skinny 18 year-old kid out of the way? Hell, I've heard of a mother who held an alligators mouth open for hours--because her baby was in it.

tigg13 said...

Anonymous 8:56 PM, the "son" in the origin post is not jesus, he's us. Please reread the story and see if it makes more sense now.

(Sheeesh!)

Bill said...

Maybe God as a parent figure, is more like the woman who's two year old was found wandering beside the freeway a month or so ago. When informed by athorites her toddler was wandering near the freeway, the woman just didn't seem to give a shit.

Shaman is back..ha ha said...

here's my better version to such a story

I love my son and he is standing there and about to get run over by a truck...he knows his destiny and so have I...

a week later, they put up a stop sign and a crosswalk and from that day on, no other child gets run over by a moving vehicle at that spot...

so the moral of the story is this...jesus died to save the life of others.....the end..

RubyHypatia said...

Speaking as a parent, there is nothing my child could ever do that would cause me to send her to a place of eternal, excruciating torment. My love for her is UNCONDITIONAL.

.:webmaster:. said...

I don't want a robot for a son, so I'm going to let him suffer the consequences of his actions.

And if chooses incorrectly, I'm going to make sure he suffers everlasting horror, too.

In fact, I'm going to make sure the little rebellious bastard is tortured in the most sadistic way I can imagine, without chance of parole or release. No "I'm sorry Dad" then. No way. I told him what happen and he snubbed his nose at me, so he gets what he damned well deserves.

And do you know why I have this attitude about my son?

Because I love him and want him to make his own decisions.







He'd damned well better do what I say, though.

Tim Simmons said...

The point of the story was to show the silliness of the idea of an all-everything god who does have the power to save us from suffering and sin and such but stands by and does nothing (unless you count his past appearances in the OT). If someone could have stopped a crime w/o harming themselves and didn't, then aren't they as much to blame as the perpetrator?

Funny how some people thought the boy in the story was Jesus. heh The boy is MANKIND and the father is GOD and GOD would rather us all be tortured forever than reveal himself to each person so that we could SEE he exists and have a REASON to believe. Even my own father can be seen and touched and although he doesn't say much, he speaks to me when I stop by. How much more should a god do? Yet, he does nothing. tsk tsk.

I wrote a short story called "Faith Awakening" that deals with this very issue. I don't think I sent it to the webmaster here but I may just have ta do dat. It's a cool story. hehehe

Tim

Thackerie said...

I understood from the first reading that the father represents god and the kid represents humanity, and I think it's a pretty good analogy. Where it falls apart for me, however, is when father/god says, "In my defense, I was really sad about it at the time."

I don't see any evidence that bible god ever felt any remorse for its cruelties and callousness. Of course, I don't see any evidence of any type of god that is involved with, or cares about, human affairs. I guess I just lack the imagination or arrogance to "believe" such stuff.

Brian B said...

Thackerie,

I put in the part about the father being sad because that's a favorite claim of most Christians, that God is "very sad" when he "has to send people to hell". I wanted to show that it doesn't matter two shits whether or not he's sad if he could have actually done something about it.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, if a guy who sells me a car with a bad transmission requires me and my family unto infinity to keep buying vehicles from him when he fixes it is not just creating a bad business practice but INSANE, why is the deal God seems to give with regards to Jesus any different?

Mike Lee

Trancelation said...

I am surprised the fundynonymouses are having such a time with this one. It seems there are still some things that will actually grate their nerves, and human analogies comparing the example of their God with humanity is one of them.

The parable here is perfect. It assumes the existence of a God that is perfectly capable of interaction, yet does not do so for some reason. The question is, if the God of Christianity exists, WHY does it do nothing? Even more importantly, if the God of Christianity exists, why does it not behave in the way the Bible says it does?

Considering this, there are only 3 possibilities:

1. We are wrong.

2. The Bible is wrong.

3. God does not eist.

Number 2 is fascinating because if the Bible is wrong, then how can we know God exists if the Bible writers were wrong about their God? For Christians, does htta mean God exists if the Bible is wrong about the qualities of their God?

That is why this parable is so great. It illustrates the absurdity of the human concepts of God. And when God is put on trial, God is incapable of coming up with a reasonable defense. Not interfering so we can learn the hard way is inexcusable, just as not helping the child here was inexcusable.

The child is a prime example, too, because the child is blissfully unaware of the consequences, just as we are if there is a Christan God and the consequences for our apostacy is an eternity in Hell. We peddle out into the road, living life the way we see fit, unaware of the approaching truck until the last second, when it barrels over us and kills us.

Fundies . . . your God is the greatest mass murdering psychopath in history.

eel_shepherd said...

Actually, we don't have to have a hypothetical situation to appreciate the folly, er, fully.

Isn't it the Jehovah's Witnesses who don't allow their kids to receive transfusions & transplants? Even when it would make the difference between life & death?

We don't have to speculate on what we do in those situations. At least where I live, we just give the parents a whack upside the head & transfuse the kid. The kid lives & the JoeHoe parents jabber on endlessly about how hard done by they are. But maybe I'm missing the analogy; wouldn't be the first time.

Now, we _might_ be screwing up evolutionarily, by not taking the chance that this is the one kid in a million whose metabolism might figure out the disease and overcome it, strengthening our survival chances as a species. But somehow I doubt that most religious hobbyists are taking the Darwinian extension, here.

BTW, the little text/graphic password I had to identify, to type this valuable contribution, was really Arabic looking. I just about accidentally converted to Islam typing it out. A close call.

SonicLe said...

See, to me, these kinds of analogies are perfectly applicable to Xtian ideas about what God's "unconditional love" is like. Perfectly applicable. But, the problem I get when I try to run these analogies by some die-hard fundies, is:

"But it's God's will - we can't REALLY know what his plan for us is. He has his reasons. We just cannot possibly fathom what those could be. We just have to HAVE FAITH - AMEN!!!"

Every time I hear one of these answers, I think a few of my brain cells die off...I mean, what can I say to refute it? Argh! So frustrating!