August/September 2016 - Vol. 87

 young people at a retreat
Why Young People Lose their Faith
by Carlos Mantica

We were wrong to believe that the danger was over, that when the Marxist regime disappeared, our children’s faith was no longer in jeopardy. But the old methods emerge again under new masks and with new names.

I’ want to address the topic of the resurgence of methods we thought had disappeared, but which we are now seeing once again, with amazement, in some Catholic schools. In order to unmask them, I have deemed timely to revive a talk I wrote back in the 1980’s, which I then called “Why Young People Lose their Faith.”

Difference between faith and religiosity
I’m not going to waste time in pointing out the seriousness of the problem. If just one person loses his faith, this is serious enough in the eyes of Christ, since each of those persons has cost all of his blood. Faith, therefore, is not a cheap or superfluous item. If we are saved by faith, then it is salvation itself that is at stake, though this does not mean that all those people who, in our opinion, have lost their faith, are necessarily condemned, because, thanks to God, our Lord regards things in a very different way than we do.

But if faith is lost through the fault of somebody else, I think the words of the Lord apply:
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6).
Before getting into the core topic of the talk, however, I would like to clarify a couple of concepts:

1) First I would like to make a differentiation between faith and religiosity, because some people who have faith often grow cold in their religiosity, and this does not mean that they have lost their faith. On the other end, we can come across people with a great religiosity whose faith is highly childish and fragile.

Accepting Christ and what he has done for us
Religiosity is what man does to come closer to God. What our faith tells us, on the other hand, is what God has done to come closer to man. And having faith is to accept what God has done and does for us, and above all, to accept the God who has done such things.

Having faith in Christ, therefore, consists of accepting the person of Christ, the Christ-person. I trust in him, I believe the things he has said because it is he who has said them, without my necessarily understanding them; I accept what he has done and wants to do for me, and I am willing to respond and to correspond by doing the things he wants me to do.

Sanctimonious people and those who pretend to be very pious are, in fact, religious people. Their lives can be full of medals, novenas, rites and prayers which are not necessarily backed up by a deep acceptance of the person of Christ, by trust in him, by an acceptance of what Christ has done and wants to do for us, and, to be sure, without an acceptance of what he wants us to do for him with others.

I state this clarification because we sometimes think that someone has lost his faith, when in fact he has just lost his religiosity. I don’t know if my assertion sounds stupid, but I think it is conceivable for our religiosity sometimes to diminish precisely because our faith has increased.

For instance, for many people, discovering that God is Father and that Christ Jesus is our brother involved leaving behind many novenas and devotions to the saints, because they discovered that Christ does not need any go-betweens, and they even neglected attending the temples, because they discovered that they are living temples of the Holy Spirit themselves. Their confidence in the Lord’s response almost did away with the recitation of those endless petitions, in order to replace that with confident prayers of thanksgiving or of a perfect union with the Lord in contemplation.

May I make clear, then, that religiosity is not the same as faith, and that we can have great faith and relatively little religiosity, or a lot of religiosity and little faith.

Consequences of losing one's faith in Christ
 2) The second point I wanted to clarify is that having lost the faith is something much more serious than not having ever had it at all. A pagan does not have faith because he has never had it. He does not know the Lord, and does not accept him because he doesn’t know him; but he can come to know and accept him. Instead, someone who has lost his faith is a person who has renounced, denied or abandoned Christ, and this is something very different and much more serious.

It is more serious because, in general, faith is like virginity
– once you lose it you can’t have it back. I don’t want to assert this in an absolute way. There are exceptions. But, usually, a person who loses his faith is someone who had known Christ, or thought he knew him; someone who accepted Christ, or said he had accepted him, and then left him, usually due to disappointment. Christ was not what he thought, or Christianity was not useful for what he thought it ought to be useful. He tasted it and didn’t like it, he experienced it and was not satisfied.

The difference is similar to the difference between the pagan era and the post-Christian era. The pagan era corresponds to a time when many nations had not known Jesus. The post-Christian era, instead, is the age of a world that thinks it has known Christianity and has rejected it as obsolete, as belonging to the Dark Ages, or simply as ineffective for its own purposes. This is no longer lack of knowledge, but deliberate abandonment or rejection.

Once this two points are clear, let us get to the point. I have tried to make as simple an outline as possible, for all of us to understand it.

Why young people lose their faith
In general, we could say that young people lose their faith for the same reasons why people lose their homes, which are often four:

    1) Because it crumbles down or falls at the first shaking;
    2) Because they exchange it;
    3) Because they sell it;
    4) Because it is taken away from them.

The same happens with faith.

If faith crumbles down or falls at the first shaking, then it has never been a solid faith. It was not made of the materials our faith is supposed to be made of. Or else it was not built on solid rock but on sand.

Perhaps the simplest example of  faith built on sand is a faith based on the behavior of men and not on the living rock of the person of Jesus. I’m talking about the convert who lost his faith because the leader who had preached Jesus to him has now fallen into scandal. Or about the son who rejects Christ because the lives of his parents are not in agreement with the Lord’s teaching. Or about the elderly man who has ceased to practice the faith because he no longer believes in the priests, or in the bishops, or who says that the Pope is a Communist, or even just complains that the mass is no longer in Latin.

I’m also referring to foundations built with mortar. A person’s faith fades away because he has lost joy. Or a person’s faith fades away because we no longer have the warm friendship we used to have, or whatever.

Concerning materials, a faith that crumbles down was usually a faith made with half-truths, or a childish, superstitious faith. The person was taught the Commandments, but there was never anyone to tell him that God loves him. They talked to him about hell, but he never experienced that being in heaven is walking with Christ on earth. It was a faith built with fear, not with love; or a faith (or, I would rather say, a religiosity) made with rites and amulets for protection or good luck, which reached its end with the first tribulation, or with the death of a child, or with the loss of his possessions.

Or else it is the childish faith of someone who, while attending a retreat, closes his heart to the Word because he just can’t accept the story of Adam and the apple, or insists on arguing about whether the flood actually happened, or about whether Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, or about how can it be possible for Mary to be Virgin and Mother at once.

A faith built with that kind of materials is not able to undergo the weight of faith as a vital response to God. These people succumb to every wind of doctrine. But I don’t want to dwell too long on this point.

A childish faith that is too small
In the second case, a person exchanges his faith for the same reason why one would exchange his house: (a) because he finds it too small; (b) because he feels uncomfortable.

The first reason has a lot to do with the childish faith that was mentioned earlier. It is that faith based on a doctrine that was tailored to the size of our First Communion suit. And it is obviously too small. It didn’t grow with us, and we have continued to understand the realities of what the Lord has done for us in a childlike way, as they were taught to us in our first few Catechism lessons. The life of an adult, committed Christian can never be grounded on First Communion truths.

Christianity has become too small for many people today, but for a very different reason. It has become small because it is inadequate for solving, and for solving immediately, all the problems people think ought to be solved immediately; or because Christianity doesn’t seem to be an effective tool for eradicating hunger from the world; or because Christianity doesn’t seem effective for overthrowing governments and liberating peoples, or for ensuring health for the great mass of population, or for educating all the illiterates. Some people see it only as a solution to the problem of death; others, as an apt solution but only at the level of small groups which they regard with contempt and charge with elitism.

Rejecting the root of the problem
These people see the problem, but reject the root of the problem. They don’t discern the root in the heart of man, but in circumstances, structures and systems. But even those who accept sin as the root of all problems, reject Christianity as a solution, because it is a solution at an extremely long range, while the world demands answers and solutions that are immediate. Let’s first solve this whole thing, and then we will have time to think about Christ and his doctrine.

Christianity has become far too small to them, so they exchange it for things that are even smaller, which have not been able either to solve at a short or medium range, or at any range at all, the problems that it seemed so urgent to solve. Let Communism suffice as an example
– it never worked anywhere since the days of the Bolshevik Revolution, but it continued to win followers while other millions of people were trying to escape the famous Paradise.

Refusing the cross of Christ
The other reason why we usually exchange our home or our faith is because it has become uncomfortable.

Following Christ involves accepting a cross. Following Christ involves forsaking many appeals of the world, and involves the fact that the world will reject us as crazy and fool people. Christianity is uncomfortable, and the Christian is a fool in the world’s eyes, not only because he speaks about turning the other cheek, or about walking the second mile, or about giving the cloak when someone wants to take his coat. It is uncomfortable and it is foolishness, because it involves renouncing certain sexual pleasures and all kinds of excess. It is uncomfortable because it involves a vocation to poverty, a vocation to meekness, a renunciation to independence and an acceptance of interdependence. It is uncomfortable because it demands subordination, and sometimes obedience.

It is uncomfortable because God has a law which accuses us. It is uncomfortable even because, unfortunately, it is feasible; and those who live it out have a joy that I don’t have. And it is uncomfortable because it is not possible for me, and I don’t have the joy or the peace these people have. It is uncomfortable because it opposes contraceptive means that I can but at any drugstore. It is uncomfortable because it asks us to accept the poor and ignorant as our brother, and to love him and serve him. It is uncomfortable because it often requires me to act in ridiculous ways. It is uncomfortable because many people think it is alienating. It is uncomfortable because I have to believe things I don’t understand, things I can’t prove in a laboratory. It is uncomfortable for many other reasons, but above all it is uncomfortable because I can’t just practice it in my leisure time, or when I am very old, but I am willing to carry it with me all the days of my life.

Not willing to pay the price
The third large group is the group of those who sell their faith. I do not know how large this group can be, but it has existed from the very beginning of the history of the Church. It is the story of apostates.

Faith is sometimes sold at a high price. The price to pay to keep your faith was life itself. Or the price for life involved forsaking the faith. Your life would be forgiven and you need not go to the circus, if you were willing to renounce your faith in exchange. Many people chose martyrdom, others chose their lives. I don’t want to judge, but they might have been wrong in the price, and exchanged bodily life for eternal life. They exchanged what they could not preserve and were bound to lose soon anyway, for something they could not lose anymore. A bad deal.

But other times the price is lower. You renounce your faith or replace it with a different one in exchange for a position in Government, or a position in a Board of Directors, or a good job. In exchange for a business which is usually dirty, or in exchange for a woman I have fallen in love with, and I now need to renounce my faith that forbids divorce, so I can marry her. I may need to renounce my faith in order to gain my children’s acceptance, or the acceptance of friends that now reject me.

I don’t mean at any point that someone who is divorced, or a priest who got married, or those who accommodate new winds of doctrine in order to stay in government positions are necessarily people who have lost their faith. But I do believe that they are in serious danger of losing it, and the reason is very simple. It is that kind of situation in which, when you cannot adjust your life to the Gospel, you always end up adjusting the Gospel to your life. It is then that we begin to say that all of that was mere nonsense, that his enthusiasm was the result of something emotional, or that these other people are crazy when they think that the Lord has a mission for them.

None of these has sold his faith, but they have placed a mortgage on it, and they can lose it if they can’t pay the price of the mortgage afterwards. They have made a loan on it which at this time brings benefit, but if the price is just too high they will end up losing their faith, just as many people lose their homes because their debt is so big. It is very hard to spend your whole life struggling with your faith. Sooner or later we will change our faith, or else we will change our lives.

A recipe for taking away the faith

The reason I have gone quickly through the preceding three causes is that I want to place all the stress of this talk on the fourth reason why young people lose their faith, which is that it is taken away from them.

We have already seen that many of such losses of faith are simply due to the fact that the faith was built on sand or with materials that were far too fragile. But this time, on referring to those who lose their faith because it is taken away from them, I’m talking about techniques which are much more subtle, perfectly planned and deliberate. I’m talking about a process that is carried out patiently, systematically, and with extremely subtle and clever means that make up a true art. Not that they are new either. Throughout history, every age has met similar processes. I’m going to talk about some things we saw happen among us.

About fifteen years ago, a friend of mine wrote a story. I want to make clear that it was written fifteen years ago, because it’s been a long time now since Nicaraguan young people have been undergoing this process of faith being taken away from them. The title my friend gave to it was, “The Herbalist, A Tale Which May Be No Tale.” I would add: “Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is merely deliberate.”

The Herbalist

He was a strange fellow. I knew him because I often saw him as I walked past his apothecary shop, one of those old, dusty drugstores full of porcelain vessels with golden rims, and with the names of the drugs in Latin.

He was not exactly a pharmacist, but a herbalist, who kept his old-fashioned drugstore open I don’t know for what purpose, for I never saw any customer come in.

The neighbors asserted that late in the night the shop witnessed an intense traffic of people who came in muffled up, taking refuge in darkness, to have the herbalist deliver to them his strange prescriptions.

I would walk daily past the drugstore as I came back from work, and behind the counter I could always see the herbalist
– a tall, lean man with an ironic smile that betrayed his sharp teeth.

One of those days the drugstore was found open at dawn, but the owner was not there. Two days went by like that, and the neighbors were alarmed. Since I was the only attorney in town, they called me to make an inventory of the herbalist’s possessions and go over his papers. The inventory was quite easy, since, apart from the shelves, the counter and the old vessels that contained just a few dried herbs, there was nothing worthwhile in the whole shop.

As far as papers are concerned, I only found one, written in black letter by the hand of the strange character.

I took this paper to my office, and kept it for several days in the lowest drawer of my desk, without even thinking about it.

During one of those tidy-ups that you do when there is no better business to occupy yourself with, I found it again, and, thinking it might be something that would shed light on the fate of the mysterious herbalist, I read it. The paper read as follows:

    “An Unfailing Recipe to Make Christian Youth Lose Their Faith

        ”The success of this recipe is guaranteed if directions are carefully followed.

        ”Take a Christian adolescent who is enthusiastic, healthy in body and spirit. It is better if he is about to be graduated from an expensive high-school directed by religious, or in the early years of a Catholic university.

        ”All or almost all young people at this age believe in God, are acceptably sure about their parents’ honesty and affection, believe in their country, and are planning to get training in order to serve their country well as adults, by following a professional career.
        ”You must carefully avoid attacking or denying God, as the recipe would be spoiled. Quite the opposite, you must extol in them the notion of God, but helping them to see that the only (this must be forcefully stressed), the only way to find him is through human beings.
        ”Afterwards, you have to demonstrate to them that in their country there exists a situation of complete injustice. (This is quite easy, as it is usually true and clearly demonstrable in any country in the world and in any age.)
        ”A skillful handling of economic statistics will be very helpful in persuading the young man about this thesis. The more generous the individual, the easier it will be to get his assent. (See “Social Mathematics and Their Handling”, by Numberhoax.)
        ”When the boy considers himself a master in evaluating his country’s injustice, that’s the right time for the second step.
        ”This step consists of demonstrating to him that his parents have been or are active or passive contributors to this situation of injustice, that they are therefore completely wrong in their actions and in the principles they hold, and have always been so.
        ”From this point to the point of getting the young man to the certainty that even in those principles his parents are insincere and dishonest there is but one step, which the young man will usually take by himself, without the need of any external stimulus.
        ”Once love for his country and respect for his parents have been done away with, you instill in the mind of the individual the idea that his parents not only don’t love each other but have never loved him, and that all his problems as an adolescent have as their first cause this lack of love and understanding from his parents. This stage is important for the final success of the recipe, and you must insist through multiple examples and illustrations, as well as good psychological arguments. (See “Directed Anti-Parental Psychology”, by Guatussi.)
        ”During these first few steps with the recipe, you must never allow the individual to remain at home for too long, as the influence of direct contact with his parents can mess up the result of the whole operation. If you can persuade him to leave his home and his usual clothing in order to live in community or work with other people who are undergoing the same treatment, so much the better. (See “Group Therapy”, by Atheowsky.)
        ”When the mixing mortar shows evident signs that the individual now despises his former notions about country and parents, this is the moment to work seriously on his religious mentality.
        ”For this purpose, you must eliminate everything that relates his idea of God to God’s divine fatherhood. God must be presented as completely human, and as concerned only to have the individual act on his socioeconomic milieu in order to destroy the unjust structures. When referring to God you must always mention justice, never love.
        ”You must not propose systems of replacement, as the individual could come to think about the need for evolution. It is necessary to insist exclusively on the need to destroy the structures through revolution.
        ”In fact, psychologically, every adolescent likes the idea of destroying, as he has just come out of the age in which one of his great pleasures was to destroy his toys, and this idea moves the treatment forward. (See “Youth Psychology”, by Guatussi.)
        ”You must undertake an ironic analysis of things such as prayer and every form of respect to religious symbols such as images and the like. Religious practices must be questioned with a biting, festive style.
        ”The attack on the deviations and immorality of the traditional Catholic hierarchy and clergy must be consistently kept, until the individual has gained actual disgust for every assertion made by the Church, except for those that defend the socially marginalized and the need to change the structures. The latter statements must always be praised, while discretely showing the individual that there is a gap between the ideas stated therein and the personal behavior of many clergymen, as well as stressing the wealth of the Vatican and its involvement in or absolute ownership of business companies that exploit human beings. (See The Economist.)
        ”You must carefully avoid references to the person of Christ. Instead, always talk about Christianity and about the commitment involved in being a Christian, making it clear that this commitment is of a political and socioeconomic nature.
        ”Once all of these notions have been safely instilled in the individual’s mind, by mixing them in a fit mortar where the whole can be seasoned with the persuasion that an unclearly defined socialism contains the big solution, it will just be a matter of waiting for the results, which will lead without failure to the young man losing his faith.
        ”Some inputs that will be very helpful for attaining this result are youth encounters with round-table discussions for examining injustice, sexual promiscuity, and social protest songs that are easy to learn and to hum. (See “Group Therapy”, by Atheowsky.)
        ”The method is valid even for use with Catholic priests. The best candidates are those who have abandoned prayer and who devote most of their time to meetings and discussions.
        ”The success of this recipe is guaranteed.”

        The signature was illegible. The text of the document ended here. At the end, a funny note was written which said:
        “Make one thousand copies and distribute among people who are acquainted with young, liberated priests, especially those who teach in seminaries or who work with Christian students.”

        I was never able to find out who the herbalist was, or whether this whole thing is a tale or not.

So much for the story.

I have been tempted sometimes to complete this story by updating it with practices that are far more sophisticated. If you study the methodology closely, you will realize that the procedure is based on a few fundamental principles.

The first principle is not to skip stages. You must always point to the next step, without ever showing where it is that you want to lead him. If the young person knew the final point where you will take him, he would never take the first step, because a step will inevitably lead to the next, and the steps are taken imperceptibly.

The second principle is: Begin by challenging the ideas, values, affections and principles that currently sustain his life and his faith.

In a child or young person, these might have been his parents’ values and affection. In the case of priests and religious sisters, the process is much more subtle
– question the authority of the Magisterium of the Church, the infallibility of the Pope, the authority of Scripture; tell them that the bishops are partisans to the reactionary movements and that the Bishops’ Conferences are manipulated by the Rockefeller group; mock at the great theologians who oppose liberation theology, and so on.

Third: Learn to use half-truths. Never say plain lies. A half-truth attracts because of the truth it contains, and poisons because of the lie it carries. Never attack a truth upfront. Present it, but present it mutilated and mingled with some lie, so that on accepting the truth they will also swallow the lie.

Fourth: Involve their emotions. We know that most people’s lives are governed by their emotions and not by their brains. Talk to them about the riches of the Vatican, the Borgia Pope, the Inquisition; take them to the slums for them to experience poverty, disease and oppression, but never allow them to do anything to alleviate that immediately, for that would only strengthen them in the effectiveness of their faith and in the power of love. What they need to fight is the structures and systems that cause this, even if the present generation must continue to suffer from hunger, disease and death.

Fifth: Place him in an environment that is contrary to his faith, where he feels forced everyday to release a bit of his faith in order to gain a little more acceptance from his peers.

Sixth: Involve him emotionally with his peers of the opposite sex. A girl friend or boy friend is far more effective than any book or teaching.

Seventh: Require him to show outward manifestations of his process of change, whether through public testimony, or by entering commitments in the presence of witnesses, or by getting involved in concrete actions. If somebody does these things, he will hardly step back. It is difficult to deny something that has been asserted in a solemn way, or to step back when he has become involved in an action that will by itself identify him with the group or band you want to have him join. Stepping back is regarded as betrayal or cowardice, and very few people have the courage to right their wrongs or mistakes.

Eighth: If the person still resists, make sure he will feel rejected. If necessary, humiliate him, or use any of the adjectives available: backward, reactionary, bourgeois, medieval, alienated, fundamentalist, verticalist, angelist, quietist, elitist, etc.

The number of techniques is infinite, because new, more sophisticated techniques are invented everyday.

On the topic of modern education as an enemy of the faith, I want to say two things:

1) That we cannot accept by any means the premise, now general in the schools, that a an adolescent, much less a child, can and must discover by himself what is good and helpful, with the pretext that pointing out to him what he is supposed to believe or do constitutes a paternalistic, authoritarian imposition that restrict his freedom and his ability to decide.

According to this premise, we ought to leave highway signs blank in order to give drivers the chance to discover by themselves what awaits them ahead.

The function of highway signs is for the driver to know that there is a road that leads to Miami and a different one that leads to New York. Signs do not in any way limit the freedom of anyone who wants to get off at Orlando or take a detour towards Buenos Aires. But it is good and necessary for a traveler to know where different roads will take him.

Let me give three reasons that explain our position.

    a) Proverbs 29:15. A child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
    b) Proverbs 22.6. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

c) Deuteronomy 6:20-25. When you son asks you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your son: “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand... And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.”

We are not allowed, then, to let our children discover and choose by themselves the way they will follow.

And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand... and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

2) The second thing I would like to say about modern education:

Modern methods of education, the best and most modern we know, even those that are not manipulated, often take place in a context of relativism, which many of them foster and instill in young people by the mere fact of presenting various choices with nothing to qualify them or set a hierarchy of them, or without resorting to a higher authority. Nothing is intrinsically good or bad—what you have is choices.

This is the road that has been followed to attain the generalized conception that homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, promiscuity and so on are mere choices or lifestyles, which each person can and must take according to his or her own liking, and that they are in fact an inalienable right no one can transgress.

The topic of modern education has become of interest to us in the context of the use that can be given to it in order to turn our children away from the Christian faith.
I would like to end with something which is very sad but which intends to encourage us to struggle for defending the faith of our children.

There are many things a young person can come back from. Almost by himself or herself, a young person will at some time in his life go through that stage of carelessness and dispersion that many undergo in their adolescence. At some point, the love for a woman, the need to form a family, the duties and needs of life, lead him to get established, and many of them become useful, honest citizens. With great difficult some manage to leave behind alcohol and drugs, promiscuity, and many other things that we worry about in their lives.

My experience with dozens of young people I have had the opportunity to work with and with whom I have dealt closely tells me, however, that those who lose their faith will very rarely get it back. And this is true about any kind of faith.

We sometimes think that disappointment at being betrayed by their idols, or their outrage at those who enticed them with promises of a better world and who led to their death others that were not as lucky as them, or their contempt for the plunderers and abusers who looted the country, will perhaps lead them to come to their senses and return to their former faith.

Unfortunately, it is not so. What I have seen happen is as if something had died inside them, which no longer allows them to believe in anything or anyone. They do not go on with their search, because they sought and thought they had found. But when they uncovered what they found, what happened to them was similar to what we Nicaraguans have summed up in the legend of the Bird of the Sweet Enchantment. This is a bird with the sweetest song, that attracts you but always escapes whenever you try to catch it. A peasant managed to catch one under his hat, but as he lifted the hat to grab it, the bird became dung. Yet we Nicaraguans insist on going after the Bird of the Sweet Enchantment.

It’s different with Christ. We have said many times that the early members of our community were people who were in their return trip from the world of dreams and ambition, and even from the world of vice. We had tasted everything, and, like these young people, we were disappointed by the world and its mermaid songs.

We were looking for truth and happiness, and we found both in Christ. He is the only one who cannot disappoint us, who will never forsake us, and who will remain faithful even if we are unfaithful. And he is the only true dead who will never die, because he already died for us but has risen again in order to be with us everyday till the end of time, and to reign at the right hand of the Father for all eternity.

We want our children, who are still on their way to the world of dreams, to find him too. Only God knows the time for that encounter. If our children don’t know him yet, they can find him one day. But let us not allow those who have known him to lose him, to sell him, to exchange him or to be robbed of him. Because choosing Christ is is a lot better than choosing the Bird of the Sweet Enchantment.

> See related articles by Carlos Mantica

This article is adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), (c) copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica. Used with permission.

Carlos Mantica is a founder of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua, and a founding leader of the Sword of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between 1991 and 1995.

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