A Case Study of a Christian Turned Atheist
By Natasha Crain
In my next post, I’ll be returning to the 65 Questions Every Christian Parent Needs to Learn to Answer series. But I wanted to spend some time today to give you a “case study” that demonstrates the importance of getting serious about spiritually preparing our kids for the world.
It comes from a comment I received recently on my post, 8 Reasons Why Kids Don’t Want to Go to Church, from someone who grew up in church but turned away from Christianity as an adult. I decided not to publish it as a comment on that post because I wanted to address it here without the commenter’s name attached.
This person’s comment includes several points of popular rationale for leaving Christianity. It’s (unfortunately) an excellent example of the worldview competing for your child’s heart and mind.
Below is the person’s comment, with my responses to you, as a Christian parent, in red italics:
Doubting the existence of god (especially the biblical god) should be number one on the list, not number seven. [He is referring to the list of 8 Reasons Kids Don’t Want to Go to Church.] Within that category might include a deistic belief in an unknowable god or in a god that doesn’t resemble a personal monotheistic god such as a “cosmic consciousness” held by branches of Buddhism. The point is Christianity is but one of vast number of beliefs and god concepts. [Yes, Christianity is one of a vast number of beliefs and “god concepts.” So is atheism. The number of competing ideas says nothing about their relative truth. Our kids need to not only be aware of the many religions/worldviews in existence today, but how they relate to Christianity, and why they logically can’t all be true.]
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We no longer live in closed monotheistic Christian cocoons. Multiculturalism and the information age expose us to a hugely diverse range of ideas and beliefs; many in stark opposition to Christian doctrine. [Well said! If you’re a Christian parent, please read these two sentences over and over and over. If you think it’s enough to simply teach your kids the core beliefs of Christianity without worrying about how to appropriately defend those beliefs (apologetics), please take what he is saying to heart. It’s our responsibility to know the tough questions being asked and to proactively engage our kids in discussing answers from a Christian worldview.]
It is a battle ground of ideas and Christianity is not faring so well. [Indeed it is a battleground of ideas. And, in some respects, I agree with his assessment that Christianity isn’t always faring well – not because Christianity itself doesn’t fare well against competing ideas, but because many Christians are not prepared to engage in the battle on Christianity’s behalf. When we aren’t prepared to answer tough questions – for example, why exactly we believe that the resurrection was a historical event that provides reasonable evidence for a belief in Jesus as God – we are irresponsibly adding to the secular perception that Christianity does not “fare well” compared to other worldviews.]
I was one of those doubting skeptical kids and I still am twenty years later. The turning point for me was after I read the bible followed up by a history of religion course. [Last year, I interviewed a secular world religion teacher and wrote a post called, “Will a World Religion Class Shake Your Kids’ Faith?” This is a perfect example of someone whose faith was shaken by being exposed to non-Christian ideas for the first time. Take the time to check out that post – it’s very eye-opening.] I never quite realized just how absurd and nonsensical Christian claims were until I read the bible. [It’s critical that our kids understand the Bible IS weird/contrary to our everyday experience. Check out my posts, “Make Sure Your Kids Know the Bible is Weird Part 1 and Part 2“. If you don’t study the Bible with your kids, they simply won’t be prepared to deal with its apparent oddities when they eventually encounter them on their own. Barna Group research shows that less than 10% of all Christian families read the Bible together. This is an enormous problem for our ability to raise kids who are prepared to faithfully deal with biblical challenges.] Its stories and claims for miracles defy science, reason and believability. [The definition of a miracle is something outside of the explanation of natural laws. Be sure to read my recent post, “What Exactly is a Biblical Miracle?” for some key points your kids need to understand. As for “reason and believability,” this is the most common attack on Christianity today – that Christianity is opposed to reason. This is simply a false dichotomy, and one that our kids need to learn to think critically about…