Talking to your kids about other faith systems
by Thom Dick
If you or your kids ever leave your home I can promise they are being exposed to faith systems other than their own every day! As parents we need to think about how we will answer their questions when they ask and anticipate the unspoken questions that will eventually lurk beneath the surface. For example I have been doing a fair bit of research and reading on Islam and I was surprised to see that there word for demons is “jinn” and this is where we get the word “genie” from. (Also incidentally the type of being of the horrid snake in The Tower of Geburah by John White, you need to read it.) But think about that, when I was a kid I used to love watching I Dream Of Jeannie reruns, which my mom was fine with; I’ll bet she didn’t know Jeannie was a Islamic demon! And of course one of my favourite movies is Disney’s Aladdin with the wonderful Robin Williams playing the voice of the genie from the lamp. Again, not scary depiction of a dark concept, but the reality is I came into contact with a worldview very different from the one I was taught.
There are many more examples of how our kids are exposed to other worldviews from video games to story books to friends on the playground and eventually that exposure will stir up questions. But now I have to make the most critical statement for parents to remember: This is GOOD! I’m not one of those parents that says “Don’t watch Aladdin! It will open a spiritual portal into your home!” I don’t think I was adversely impacted by watching I Dream Of Jeannie and I certainly don’t think that having friends from different cultural backgrounds and faiths hurt my own faith in one bit. (I went to elementary school in multi-cultural Winnipeg, high school in small-town Niverville was a little more homogeneous.)
So the question is “Why?” Why wasn’t I adversely affected when I happened upon different media that taught and people who believed something other than I was taught. First of all, I had strong parents with their own strong faith. My dad is the one who loaned me my first Ravi Zacharias book and I remember listening to a Christian geologist discuss the origin of the universe in our motor home on a family vacation. Now we weren’t an uber intellectual family, but we were a solid family that was well-grounded and cared about Truth. When your kids learn to love Jesus, the counterfeits won’t seem as attractive.
However, simply exposing kids to opposing worldviews doesn’t help them, in fact it confuses them…
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