You can put electric blankets over him, but the warmth of a mother’s body is not just electricity, it is not just heat, it is something more: it is love, it is care. The child feels that he is protected, that he is needed, that he needs to survive because somebody loves him.
A child hidden in darkness behind the blankets without anybody holding him close to his or her heart starts feeling ignored, neglected, perhaps abandoned. Why should he go on living? For whom?
He is so helpless that you can exploit him. And this is the misery, that even parents have not been able to control the temptation to exploit the helpless, although the helpless is nobody but their own child. Perhaps they never think what they are doing.
The Christian parents think they are helping the child to become a Christian; otherwise he will be lost. They never pay a second thought to the question: They are Christians; have they arrived, or are they also not lost?
Just a simple question has to be put into every parent’s mind: Whatever you have done, whatever you have thought, whatever you have believed, has it helped you to reach to that space which you would like your child to reach? If you yourself are in a limbo, not knowing who you are, from where you have come, to where you are going, what all this is that you are doing….
If you don’t have any answer, please be compassionate to the child. It is your child; at least don’t let him live the life that you have lived. One thing is certain, that the way you have followed has led nowhere.
So at least make the child aware, “I have wasted my life, and I would not like you to waste your life in the same way. At least try some other way; even if you also waste your life, at least there will be a satisfaction that you tried something else. Perhaps everything fails, then there is no problem. But, go on your own way.”
That’s what I mean by leaving the child a pagan.
A pagan to me is one who has a clean slate of mind, who has no idea of God, not even a question about God, who is not worried about heaven and hell, who is not concerned whether Jesus is right or Moses is right or Mohammed is right. These are not his questions.
And remember one very fundamental thing:
When a question is not yours, no answer can be of any help.
It is like forcing somebody who is not thirsty to drink water. When the question is not there, pouring an answer into his head is as absurd as that. Somebody is not hungry and you are forcing him at the point of a sword, “You have to eat!” In almost all civilized societies that is the way, even about eating, food, clothing…You have to do this.”