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July 12, 2013

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I agree that all these things are things that parents must do; but I whole-heartedly reject that doing these things guarantees that our children will remain in the faith. BTW, I don't think this is what J is suggesting; I just see where it might be interpreted that way...

I think there are numerous examples of great variety that would support. For example, I know parents who did all these things, without fail, and in one case the children totally forsook the faith, and one even came back and violently assaulted the father. I also know the most deadbeat parents that despite their failure to adhere to any kind of Christian parenting principles, the children are walking most closely with the Savior.

The Bible makes it clear that remaining in the faith, like salvation, is only by the grace of God and according to His purpose. Certainly He uses parents that model these points in their life for the benefit of their children, but ultimately it's according to His sovereign purpose that the child remains in the faith.

I do whole-heartedly backup J's challenge to us on the need to know the Bible well-enough ourselves so that we may teach it to our children. I think this is a fundamental shortcoming in today's church, that most aren't willing to put forth the effort to make serious, in depth study of Scripture the top priority in their Christian walk.

College is still fresh on my mind. A big part of it for college aged Christians is just them knowing what’s in store. I was always around others that were hostile to Christianity when in school. I knew it would be that way. When you’re told the impact is coming, you can brace yourself. Like flexing your stomach when you expect a blow. When you don’t see it coming – you’re stunned – you can’t breathe - you can be out for the count.

Another part of the problem, as I see it, is that even if a young Christian is prepared, there can be trepidation in stepping out of line with the avant-garde culture that is so pervasive on college campuses. You can train and teach all day, but it’s harder to teach courage. On college campuses, it seems everyone’s desire is to be liked, but at the same time, everyone wants to have shock value. Everyone wants to be culturally unique. A Christian doesn’t fit the bill. However, Christians are not immune from not wanting to be ostracized.

As it relates to those that are hostile to Christianity (even professors), young Christians should understand them. You can read and understand their favorite literature better than they do if you choose (I’d suggest that young Christians read as much great literature as they can). You can turn their war chest upside down and look over what’s inside. There’s lots involved in that. No, these things are not necessary, but it helps.

Yes, you can be “college cool” and be a Christian. This seems trivial, but young people need to know it’s true.


I did those things as a single parent. #4 more challenging as I was just learning to deeply dwelve into His truth myself. Some things happened n my son was left for dead. 11 yrs later (1.5 yrs ago), I was left for dead. We are both God's miracles & my son said himself that God has some testimony for us both-together. God Himself is immensely angry w/ all involved in both incidences & NOT wanting any of them to walk. He's furious. So am I. And that's the truth. His Word tells me so. So thankful to the Lord in our lives & such impeccable timing He has. God's Sovereignty--speechless.

J. Warner, no doubt you've read Rachael Slick's story of rejecting Christianity and embracing atheism after being raised in a Christian home.

For any Christian parent who hasn't read it, here is a link. Please read it, then read J. Warner's post again. Please. It WILL change the way you raise your children.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/15/the-atheist-daughter-of-a-notable-christian-apologist-shares-her-story/

One consequence of my loss of faith has been the need to address how I raise my son. I'm a single dad, and he's now ten. I've always held the view that it's important that my son comes to his own views as he grows up. Sure, there are things I would "prefer" he believes, but my best gift to him as a parent is to teach him how to think rather than what to think. To me, this means approaching orthodoxies with a skeptical mind, valuing evidence, and understanding all the psychological "hooks" that influence behaviour, such as the human needs to experience belonging, purpose or approval. My boy needs to know how these influences could cause him to make poor decisions, or suppress his critical thinking faculties because social acceptance is more important.


In pursuing this aim, I’m happy for my son to attend scripture at school, and I’m even likely to enrol him at a local Christian school when he hits High School. I would have no objection to him attending our local church youth group. I grew up in such an environment and it gave me friends for life.
I know that he will be proselytised. I’ve already started to talk to him about logical fallacies, about how to critique theodicy, and why the social utility of religion is a separate thing to its claims to scientific or moral truth. Kids are surprisingly receptive to such conversations, if they’re age appropriate. These conversations are some of the best times we have together.


Articles like the one you’ve linked to worry about whether kids will be drawn away from the faith of their parents by an increasingly liberal culture, but the things they say miss the point, and are patronising as well. Let’s dissect a couple of the points they make…
”2. Model what a Christian should look like”


All concerned parents want to model what they want their kids to become. I strive to model virtues shared by Christians (love, peace, patience, goodness, etc), noting along the way to my son that Christianity does not have a monopoly on these virtues.


”3. Make family a priority


5. Make sure you are connected to a church


9. Serve others with your child/children:”


…These boil down to the same thing: “Be connected”. Recognise the strength of family as the natural and optimal social unit. Be invested in your community, and in causes that are bigger than you are. These do not have to be churches. The same fellowship can be found in your local sports club, rotary, lions, RFS, musical society or P&C, and these organisations carry the benefit of existing explicitly to do social good, rather than doing social good merely as a salving adjunct to their business of proselytising, preaching and profiting.


Apart from these, a young person can be almost guaranteed to fall away (or never acquire) religious faith if they encounter demonstrably untrue (or nebulous and unprovable) truth claims. The article makes no mention of this, which I find telling. Why does it not mention how certain apostasy is when a risible claim like “The Earth is only 6000 years old” is made, when so much evidence is at hand to make a nonsense of it? Similarly, when a claims are made like “A fertilised ovum possesses a soul and demands the rights of personhood”, or “miracles happen”, or “our interpretation of ancient scripture is superior to all others, and some interpretations differ sufficiently for God to cast their adherents into hell, which is eternal torment, regardless of the sincerity with which they believed it”… Well, if that young person asks the honest and obvious questions with clear eyes, and if they have any acquaintance with history, biblical exegesis or rhetoric, then they are going to reject faith emphatically, because the proofs offered are circular and self-serving.


I hope my son exhibits the virtues which Christians claim only come of having “fruits of the Spirit” in the fifth chapter of Galatians; I am methodically teaching him to become such a person. However, I hope he always takes a skeptical view of the truth claims, moral or scientific, of all religious faiths.

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