I had it in mind to blog about this already before looking at the news, and what I saw only reinforced what I want to say. This is directed toward young people, for whom as a whole I retain great affection, but also toward adults who have guardianship, character building and safety responsibilities toward the young.
Society has crept into a mindset that the young bear no responsibility for sin or evil, especially if they had a "bad upbringing." Also the idea of what constitutes a "child" in terms of age has undergone creeping upward that is now double in delusion what it is in reality. Here are the facts. Again, I am not speaking legally but spiritually, and I am not talking about jail, but I am talking about hell.
A child is mentally, emotionally and spiritually wired to know the difference between right and wrong at the age of seven. Period. However, a child at that age is still intensely vulnerable to the control of adults around him and her and thus while they are expected by God to know the difference between right and wrong (even if the parents teach otherwise) God understands at that age they have no choice, but a little voice of protest should begin to form silently in their minds. This is why Jesus warned in the most DIRE terms what will happen to adults (including adolescents, remember that adulthood comes quickly spiritually and I will refer to that next) who lead children to sin. Read his words and there is no mistaking that adults who lead children to sin are in for the worst of all punishment.
So my first point is that those of you out there, caregivers, teachers, security people and siblings, cousins and so forth need to understand that spiritually a child knows in their heart right from wrong, and that misleading them is the gravest of sins, warned explicitly against by Jesus. If you know some small child being led the wrong way but you cannot actually act against those who do, in your interaction with the child, cultivate their confidence in questioning the justice of things in areas where you can do so safely.
My second point is even more serious. At the age of thirteen all children are ready to be, and viewed as, adults in spiritual matters. They are not ready to be leaders, of course, and should not be portrayed as such. There are no "child gurus." Because God has wired a child at the age of thirteen to be spiritually an adult the faiths acknowledge that and have rituals accordingly. This is because as I have explained before, it is not to celebrate their "puberty" per se, but because in the days before society infantiles young adults and with birth control, extended schooling, etc., a thirteen year old boy or girl was getting ready to establish his or her own household, marry, and raise their own family. This is how it has been for centuries and was certainly the mindset during Biblical and Qur'anic times, which is when God chose to speak to his people in that context. I mean, duh, how hard is that to understand? When a child is in theory a young adult, at the age of thirteen, and biologically and mentally ready to raise a family (even if society has moved past that early a point) their spiritual development and expectations that are given by God remain the same.
Thus a thirteen year old has embarked onto the rest of his or her life where God expects-and will judge them on-their spiritual responsibilities as an adult, albeit a young adult. Again, this has nothing to do with the circumstances of their family or environment or societal expectations. This is why they are rebellious at that stage in general. It is at that point they are expected to question bull crap anti-God false doctrine that may have been given to them when they were young and helpless. Unless they are locked up in an actual cult compound and/or they are mentally diminished due to illness or mishap, a thirteen year old child is expected to embark upon faithful adult-like responsibilities to God. In the old days, many started years earlier by their own maturity.
So here is the problem. Do not delude yourselves that thirteen year olds and upward cannot go to hell. They can and they do.
Do not delude yourselves that bad upbringing postpones spiritual responsibility. It does not postpone it one iota, except in the circumstances I already mentioned. It makes it most urgent upon surrounding adults, including peer young adults, to speak up and take action as spiritual adults, starting at the age of thirteen, when one encounters the many who are almost feral animals in their lack of spiritual raising by their parents. Again, I am not speaking criminally, though of course one flows from the other. Crime is a matter for the local community and the state.
But here is what you must understand. Because God made all children ready for spiritual adulthood at thirteen, those in these almost feral conditions of either home life or depraved society will proclaim themselves spiritual acolytes of evil, or nihilism, if there is no proper faith formation. In other words, the readiness to be spiritual adults "busts out" one way or the other at that age. They are either ready to embark on genuine faith, learning to be and do as adults in service to God, or they pledge allegiance to chaos, false gods, gangs, worldly idols, and nihilism.
I had already had this in mind because I was thinking of something very sad that happened with a young adult in the family of people who could have been friends of mine, but held back, when I signed onto the computer and read the following. Young friends of the California rape victim (a crime that has received worldwide coverage) have spoken out condemning the lack of proactive security at the dance where this occurred. I applaud the girls who have spoken out because they are exactly at that age I am speaking of. The perpetrators are well beyond that age, being of 15 years and up. I must urge all of you, young people and adults, to understand the facts, not the speculation, of God's spiritual adulthood timeline. At seven one is ready to fully understand right from wrong. At thirteen one is a spiritual adult and one will be judged by God accordingly, regardless of the circumstances, except as I stated above, the most extreme genuine brainwashing, virtual or actual incarceration, and disability due to illness or mishap. Yes, thirteen years olds and upward can and do go to hell. And yes, thirteen year olds and upward are to be uplifted as young spiritual adults and when they speak the truth they are to be praised and heeded.