In light of this week's massacre of apparent children.
Lesson II: Child-ness
A good Evangelical must be able to recognize children on sight. This is because God loves children and every one is precious in his sight. He watches over them and protects them from harm, just like an all-powerful shepherd watching over his lambs. The Bible says so. Although this may not seem obvious in the world around us, when you understand the difference between a child and not-a-child everything becomes clear. You know who to take care of and how to keep from getting distracted by child-like creatures that don't merit your attention. It also becomes obvious who God wants you to vote for - politicians who prioritize children over not-children. After studying the following series of photos, you will be able to differentiate between children and not-children almost as well as God himself — though not quite, because, as the photos illustrate, God is infinitely wise and you are not.
The best way to distinguish children from not-children is to carefully consider their condition. The decision rule is very simple. Because God takes care of children (they have guardian angels, the Good Shepherd carries them when the way gets hard, etc.), any child-like life form that is battered, verminous, or, in particular, dead, is not a child and never was. Another important differentiator is age. During the nine months between fertilization and birth, any stage in the development of a fertilized human egg is a child.*
*Note: Some people argue that since God aborts 60-80% of fertilized eggs, they can't all be children (http://www.reason.com/rb/rb122204.shtml). In this case, refer to the first sentence of this paragraph. "The best way to distinguish children from not-children is to carefully consider their condition." Based on the decision rule, those that God aborts are not-children. We know this because they are dead. The other 20%, however, are children, because they are living. See how simple it is?
Series 1: Child
Children. (Notice - clean, well-fed, probable Christian parentage - all evidence that these child-like creatures are, in fact, children.) They are loved by human parents and God alike. God answers the prayers of little ones like these, even when they pray about puppies and dolls and baseballs and the Academy Awards. Good Evangelicals are similarly attentive and loving. They take care of children, just like God does. A political leader who is doing God's will works to keep these precious lambs from harm and insures that they are healthy, well-fed, and schooled.
Series 2: Not-a-Child
Not-Children. Evidence that these are not-children can be seen in their emaciated state. Their unlikely Christian parentage goes without saying. These not-children do not pray for puppies and dolls, and God does not answer their prayers for food.* Good Evangelicals are free to follow the example of God himself in determining how much attention to pay to not-children like these and how to respond to their pleas. Likewise, an Evangelical in a position of political power may choose to prioritize the concerns of children (above and directly below) over the concerns of not-children (directly above). In fact, he should.
*Actually, most ministers will tell you that he answers all prayers. He says "Yes." "No." or "Maybe ;).When we have adequate missionaries to send to all of Africa, they will undoubtedly explain this to the not-childen and their parents living there, which should offer some comfort."
Series 3: Child
Children. We know these are children because they are not-born.* Also, they are alive, or were when the pictures were taken. This combination is a guarantee of child-ness. A person who authorizes the destruction of a child like one of these is a baby killer with no family values. He or she cannot be a good Christian and is not qualified to hold any public office that might affect the well being of children.
*Note: Once born, some remain children, but most become not-children. These must be re-born to become children again, or, later in life, to become children-of-God.
Series 4: Not-a-Child
Not-Children. Confirmation that these are not-children can be seen in their damaged and dead condition. Two of these may be potential-children (see below), though with low potential. Should they die of their injuries, however, this confirms that they were not-children from the get-go. A person who authorizes killing not-children is not-a-baby killer. He or she can be a good Christian.* He or she can be qualified to hold public office and to act in the name of God.**
*only if holds Evangelical beliefs. Otherwise, may be a moral person but will burn in hell. But not for killing not-children. Only for not holding Evangelical beliefs.
**only if holds Evangelical beliefs. Otherwise, may be a moral person but will burn in hell. But not for killing not-children. Only for not holding Evangelical beliefs.
Series 5: Potential-Child
Potential-Children. Potential-children are hard to identify. They are actually not-children who have some likelihood of becoming children through the efforts of missionaries, Sunday school teachers and ordinary Evangelicals. Some not-children have more potential than others, and this is determined largely by their place and time of birth. How much energy one should invest in potential-children depends on how much potential they have. Factors to consider are: health, religion of origin, and socio-economic status.
A population of not-children who attend Sunday school and live in a good Evangelical community may have high potential. In consequence, their food, health, and education may be of great moral importance to their Evangelical neighbors. Also, not-children born into desperate, poor families and communities may be open to whatever missionaries may offer and may also have high potential. But be careful about how you spend your limited moral energy. Some not-children have almost no potential at all. In such cases, there is little point in feeding, healing or educating them. Such efforts are like seeds sown on rocky ground.
Discerning this, good Evangelicals often devote their time and money to other priorities. Even conspicuous consumption can be one of these priorities, as pleasing to God as the odor of burnt offering. Why? It may help to attract not-children and ex-not-children (see below) to the faith, thus increasing their potential.
It is crucial to remember that potential-children should never, never be given priority over children (first and third rows above).
Series 6: Ex-Child, Ex-not-a-Child
(High Potential Variety)
Ex-children and Ex-not-children. At some point in development, children and not-children hit "the age of accountability." They abruptly become children- of-God and evildoers, respectively. Although the external differences may appear minimal, the effect is profound, in particular for the evildoer. This is because not-children have eternal, individually conscious souls. When they die they all go to be with Jesus where they live happily ever after - even the cancerous, maimed, starving ones who had absolutely no potential here on earth and consequently merited little attention from Good Christians. But as soon as a not-a-child turns into an evildoer, death has another outcome - eternal torture - something rather like the not-childhoods of some not-children, only even worse and way longer. Fortunately, evildoers can become children-of-God by praying a specific prayer of belief in the redemptive power of perfect-human sacrifice (see Lesson III: When murder is moral - Killing children, not-children, and ex-children in the name of God).