Youth, Popularity, and Apologetics
by Nick Peters
Why do youth get enthusiastic when presented with the opportunity to do apologetics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
I was listening to J. Warner Wallace’s podcast recently, and it’s one I encourage all of you to listen to, and he talked about presenting talks on apologetics and about how the youth get so enthused about it. I started pondering then why that would be and I’d like to share with you a suspicion that I have on the matter.
I have written much on this blog about how the ancient world was an honor/shame culture and we’re a more individualistic one, but that does not mean that we are totally devoid of any idea of shame whatsoever. Social status is everything to many a teenager. This is why so many of them buy clothes they might not care for and get into fads that they wouldn’t care for otherwise. They want to fit in with their peers and not be embarrassed.
Now picture a teenage youth who is a Christian. Is he on the outs with his peers in any way? Well if he’s a good and observant Christian, he’ll be a virgin (Since most teenagers in high school aren’t married). Will that lead to any shame to his peers? Yep. Especially since they consider “getting laid” to be a rite of passage and a sign that you are a real man or woman.
So what happens with a boy who’s seventeen and can drive and who is with the guys who are talking about their sexual exploits and the guy has nothing to contribute? If he is asked why he’s not “getting some” he replies that he is a Christian. Is that going to win him any friends? Nope. His “friends” there will most likely mock him for believing in antiquated ideas that science has disproven and how he needs to get with the times. Result? The young man is shamed.
Now imagine instead if he’s told the latter part about how his ideas are antiquated and instead, he’s able to make a rational case for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Do you think he’ll be able to be treated the same way? Oh sure. His friends can still mock him, but he can take the mockery as a sign that they cannot answer his arguments. The young boy has honor then rather than shame. He might not be sleeping around, but he can hold his head high knowing he can stand up against his peers.
If your youth group meetings consist only of pizza parties and concerts, then your youth will not be able to stand against their peers. Besides, if a kid wants to get pizza or go to concerts, all he needs to do is get a job or else hang out with people who have one and who are feeling generous. The church needs to give youth something they cannot get from anywhere else…
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