How Do You Best Respond When Kids Question Their Faith?
by Sean McDowell
Not too long ago my father and I sat down with the nice folks at Thriving Family magazine to discuss how parents should respond when their kids question faith. I hope our answers are both encouraging and equipping. Enjoy!
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.
Josh, did you ever wonder if your son would someday question the faith you had taught him?
Josh: I always prayed for the day that my kids would doubt Christianity because everybody must personalize their faith. If our kids never struggle with their faith, they will have borrowed convictions. So I had been waiting for each of my kids to come to this point…
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