Most Christians will tell you faith is a huge part of living a Christian life. The Bible has chapter after chapter that discusses faith – what it is and its importance to the believer. The problem in our modern world is that the skeptics our children will encounter dismiss faith and demand only “logical” responses to their challenges.
How can parents encourage the faith that is “sure of what is hoped for and certain of what we do not see” in our children? (Hebrews 11:1) Is there a way to use logic without compromising faith? How can we prepare our children to have faith when surrounded by skeptics in the media, in their classrooms and in the world around them?
The good news is that much of the logic used by atheists, people in the media and some classroom teachers is flawed. Their “factual” information can also be outdated, incorrect or slanted. Like many of us, skeptics are also prone to only read information that agrees with their belief system and ignore anything that may make them re-examine their beliefs.
Unfortunately, attacks against God and the Bible can come from so many different directions. It would be almost impossible to teach your child all of the science, history, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic and perhaps dozens of other subjects thoroughly enough to have them prepared to debate every skeptic. You can seek out websites (Answers in Genesis is one I sometimes use) and books (Lee Strobel has several) that have up-to-date knowledge on a variety of subjects from a Christian viewpoint. They too may use faulty logic from time to time, but at least you will learn more than one side to the story.
I do believe there are some other basic things your child can be taught that will help him grow his faith despite skeptics. Your child may even have his own doubts from time to time. It is important to know where we can turn so these questioning times draw us closer to God instead of farther away.
My daughter and I loved the books The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox. Both books use fun stories to help children begin to recognize the various types of logic used by people. Many of the ways people use logic seem to make sense. Logical arguments can be very dangerous. Since it sounds so logical, it must be true. Actually, many seemingly educated, thoughtful people make comments using bad logic. The trick is knowing how to tell the difference between sound and faulty logic.
We used those books in our homeschool five or six years ago. I am amazed at how much has stuck with her from the exercises. She is often quick to pick up logical fallacies in advertising, political speeches and textbooks. She may not always know the “response”, but she knows to not accept without questioning what the person is saying. Personally, I think it is only fair she should be armed to question the skeptics in return!
Raising your child with a Biblical worldview is essential to grounding them in their faith. Sadly, only a very small percentage of Christians actually live their lives from the perspective of a Biblical worldview. The book unChristian does a great job explaining this mindset. Although written for adults, I believe the book is also suitable for mature teens.
I can’t summarize the book easily in a couple of sentences. My main takeaway from the book though, is that it is vital we teach our children that God is alive and active today. They need to accept the Bible as the Word of God and acknowledge its relevance to our lives. Their daily decisions need to be made based on what God would want them to do.
Of course, this means our children have to know their Bibles inside and out! It drives me crazy to hear someone in the media supposedly “quote” scripture or say “God says” or “Christians say” while quoting absolute nonsense. There are times when I honestly believe there are some newspeople in the world who must think Benjamin Franklin was God!
There is a reason God commanded the Israelites to tell their children the scriptures constantly, while they were doing all of their daily activities. (Deuteronomy 11:19-21) God wanted His Words to be so familiar to His people, that those were the “tapes” playing in their heads when they made any decision. He needed His words to be so firmly in their hearts and minds, they did not have to ask what God would want them to do. They would know.
What are you doing to instill God’s Words in the heart of your child? We can’t depend on our churches to do this work for us. Hopefully, they are helping, but God makes it clear the responsibility falls to the parents.
I know it is so easy to get overwhelmed. We have to keep these kids alive and healthy, which requires a lot of feeding, washing and doctor’s visits. Our children needed to be educated so they can earn a living and survive in the world as adults. Then there are all of those sports and arts activities they need to master which will hopefully lead to scholarships paying for their education. By the end of most days, our families are exhausted.
Perhaps the most important thing we can do as parents is to parent intentionally. We have to make teaching our children God’s Words a major priority in our homes. For some of us, this may mean dropping some lessons, hobbies or expectations to create the time. Others may just need to change their focus from the daily to the eternal.
Whatever you need to do to find the time and the ways to impress God’s Words on your child’s hearts, I pray you find a way to do it. Point out how something you see from your car window reminds you of a scripture or Bible story, then tell it. Put scriptures on cards and tape them to the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator. Make them scriptures that can help your children with their current struggles. Have family devotionals. Have a special time before bed or first thing in the morning or during a meal where the Bible is read either as a family or individually. (Check past posts for other ideas.) Point out how you see God working in their lives and the lives of others.
You need to start now preparing your child for the “haters” and doubters. I can promise you, that unless your child becomes a hermit, these people will be in her life at some point. The better prepared he is when faced with doubts, the more likely his faith will grow and not shrink when challenged. So the next time you hear someone on tv questioning the reality of God or questioning a belief, don’t run! Examine the doubt with your child. Discover the faulty logic or faulty information. Find out with your child that God is indeed a God who is alive, active and relevant in our lives.
The links in this post are part of the Amazon affiliate program. Purchasing by using the link results in some compensation for me. It adds nothing to your cost. I would never recommend something I did not like. My daughter and I loved these books and still talk about how fun they were years after we first used them.