When Kids Question Their Faith (Part 1)

by Sean McDowell

Most children raised in Christian homes enter a stage — often during their teen years — where they wonder if their parents’ faith is right for them. After a time of questioning, some embrace that faith, making it their own. Others turn away to walk another road.

For Sean McDowell, that wondering phase came during his first year of college, when he began to wrestle with a number of questions about the truth of Christianity and the existence of God. As he struggled with these questions, he knew there was one person he needed to be honest with: his dad. But when your father is renowned Christian apologist Josh McDowell, that discussion can be a difficult one to initiate.

Thriving Family talks with the McDowell men about that conversation—and about how parents can prepare for the day when their kids reveal their own doubt.

Sean, talk about the events in your life that led to doubting Christianity.

Sean: Growing up, I never really questioned my faith. That changed because of two simultaneous events in college. First, I took a class called “Authentic Manhood,” which encouraged me to take an honest look at the shortcomings of my father so I could more fully love him for who he is. This was the first time I really confronted the fact that — while I think my dad is the greatest dad ever — it hurt sometimes when he was gone. And it’s natural to see our heavenly Father through the lens of our earthly fathers.

Second, I came across some websites that directly challenged Evidence That Demands a Verdict and the rest of my dad’s apologetics. While I can look back now and see the weaknesses in these objections, at the time it was quite unsettling. So I hit a point in my life — as many young people do — where I was asking deep intellectual and existential questions. And it wasn’t enough for me to believe something because my parents did. I had to find the truth for myself.


When Kids Question Their Faith (Part 1) | conversantlife.com

The Poached Egg

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES: Teaching Children The Gospel: How To Raise Godly Children / Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith and How to Bring Them Back / Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church / More suggestions…