Are we giving a reason for someone to take Christianity seriously? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Yesterday, I wrote about how Christian teenagers can really get into apologetics since they hold a position that is unpopular normally with their peers, and that is only going to be more of the case as time goes by and our ethics, particularly sexual ethics, start going downhill faster and faster.
In this scenario, we are encouraging young people to be Christian, but upon what basis? Just because Mom and Dad think Christianity has brought them a lot of joy in their own lives does not mean their children would think so. In our age it would be “Well Mom and Dad, that worked great for you, and I’m happy you found something that works for you, but it just doesn’t work for me.”
Most of our youth are already tacitly assuming that religion is something that you will either believe or you won’t. It is a matter of choice just like which ice cream flavor is the best. If you are a Christian, it is not because you are really making a statement about Jesus, the resurrection, or God’s nature. You are trying to be a good person. You can say you believe in the resurrection, but it’s just a belief. There’s no reason to hold it.
When you go to church and youth group, you either do something just purely fun, or you hear about how you need to be a good person and how much God loves you. You don’t learn anything about the nature of this God who loves you. You don’t learn what difference the Trinity makes or how much He acted in Jesus Christ or how that’s historically true or what the Kingdom of God is, but you learn about about how to be a good person!
Now once you’re out of that environment, what happens?
Well if you’re in school, you’re being taught ideas that you could find challenging to your faith, such as evolution is to some Christians. You could be learning about how to be inclusive and that everyone has their own opinions. You could be learning a relativism that tells you not to judge someone else. You will be surrounded by your peers who are quite likely sexual active and asking why you’re not the same way.
If you answer anything with “I’m a Christian” or “The Bible says so” then you will quite simply be laughed at and that is something no young person in school wants. In the high school setting, status is everything and so kids will spend money they don’t have to buy just the right clothes they don’t care about just so they can fit in. They will watch the same TV shows and the same movies and listen to the same music in order to know what their peers are talking about.
You can be sure, their peers are not reading the Bible or going to church to know what their Christian friends are talking about, if their Christian friends are even talking about Christianity at all!
When your child is on the internet, they are going to be subject to internet arguments on YouTube, Facebook, etc. to destroy their Christianity. This can be even if they are not intentionally seeking out such arguments. Not only that, the proliferation of pornography on the internet is extensive and sexual temptation is a great way to undermine someone’s Christian faith.
When they get to college, it will be even more an attempt to destroy their Christianity. You will have them facing off against professors who have 25 years of atheism while your kid has about a dozen years of Sunday School. Which side do you think is going to win? It’s not because atheism has the better arguments! It doesn’t! It’s because your kid doesn’t know the good arguments on our side.
In all of this, what reason are youth being given to be Christians?
To be a good person? Goodness is relative! It doesn’t matter, just so long as you don’t judge someone else!
Because the church is a fun place to be? They can get pizza and music anywhere and frankly, they’ll be looking at their peers and thinking “They seem to be having a lot more fun”, especially in the area of sexual temptation when they’re told all about the joys of sex on one hand and how it will be beneficial to them socially to sleep with their dates whereas on the other hand being told “true love waits”, but not being told why it waits really.
To have a good in-group to belong to? Their peers already are an in-group and an in-group that will matter a whole lot more to them!
What reason could they have for wanting to be Christian?
Some of you might have an answer. “Well it’s because Christianity is true!”
I agree 100%!
But do our youth know it is?
Without apologetics, they do not know it. They don’t even know what they believe! How can they know why they believe it!
Now imagine that they do know what they believe and also why they believe it. Imagine that they can be the Christian at school who knows this and when it comes to debate, no one can stand against them. Imagine the recognition they can get when they can even challenge the teacher in class on a topic and be right about what they say!
Is that going to help them? You bet!
As for the area of ethics, imagine that they have a background for ethics and they live such a life so much so that the girls end up saying “I want to date a Christian guy. They treat women a lot better!” This is so especially if they’re non-Christian.
Imagine if the guys on the other hand thought Christian women were a lot more respectful and at the same time, more challenging because Christian women know who they are and if you want to be with a Christian girl, they don’t go with just anyone! You have to shape up and prove you’re worthy!
Guys know this kind of thing intuitively. Most women don’t know the great power they have over men and if they give in early, then they lose that kind of power. Even in marriage, a woman who seeks to please her man in this area has a great power in his life. Don’t believe me? Consider even someone like William Lane Craig in an article he wrote on marriage advice.
5. Take steps to build intimacy in your relationship.
Wives: You need to realize what your husband’s #1 need in marriage is, what he wants most from you: sex! Yes, frequent, enthusiastic sex! If you do this, you will have a happy hubby, indeed. Unfortunately, here we confront one of those huge disconnects between men and women (you know, the Venus and Mars thing). A man achieves intimacy with the woman he loves through sexual intercourse; but a woman views intimacy as a pre-requisite for sexual intercourse. So if you’re sensing emotional distance from your spouse, what do you do? You seem to be at an impasse. If you find yourselves in this situation, then my advice is that it is the wife who should yield and be open to her husband’s advances. Otherwise what you’re doing is using sex as a weapon: saying in effect, “You first meet my emotional needs or I’m going to withhold sex from you.” That’s manipulative and unloving. Sometime after having sex, you can then raise the issues with him that you feel have created an emotional distance between you and seek to resolve them.
Yes. If Christian women start exercising this power over their peers, they will find they have much more respect. If a guy does not want to go with them because they’re not “easy” then that is the kind of guy that the girl should be with in the first place, Christian or not.
Then in turn, imagine if it is the case that their non-Christian friends seek to know what it is that is different about your children and ask them questions about it. What if your child is equipped and knows how to answer and can get his peers in school thinking about what he says?
Notice what happens in all of this. Your child is still a good person. In fact, you could argue that he is an even better person because he has a basis for his ethics and sees the difference they make.
Your child is still able to have fun. I am not against pizza parties and concerts and other fun activities. Kids should have fun! I’m against fun for the sake of fun being the greatest good in life. Even in my position, I still think it’s important to wind down and do something just purely fun every now and then to re-energize, but it’s not meant to be a lifestyle.
Your child is also popular. They’re the ones talked about not because they blend in with the crowd, but because they stand out from the crowd in a good way. They are the one that everyone wonders about. They’re the guy that the girls want to receive the love of. They’re the girl that the guys really want to work hard to impress.
How did this happen? You let them be taught what they believe and why. If your church isn’t doing this, you need to find out why and if they don’t change, perhaps you should change your church. This is their eternity we’re talking about after all and if I’m right, it’s also the eternity of their peers. Is that not worth a little bit of change?
If youth are going to stay Christian, it needs to be because they have reasons to that will stand up to public scrutiny and let them not be maligned in the public sphere. In fact, our adults definitely need that as well! Perhaps the new atheists and internet atheist types would not be so problematic if we did not drop the intellectual ball to begin with.