Christian Parents Raise Three Kids: 1 Agnostic, 1 Atheist, and 1 Christian
by Greg West
My parents have been devout Christians since before I was born in 1965. To my knowledge, they have never wavered in their faith. My dad and mom volunteered in the church bus ministry, Sunday School, VBS, on the church board, in the choir, and well, the list goes on. My Dad is a licensed minister, an ordained deacon, a volunteer chaplain at the hospital, and both of my parents are prayer warriors and sacrificial givers—both with their time and money.
I am the youngest of their three kids. I have two older sisters. I came to Christ at a very young age, but came to reject God and Christianity before I turned 25 and identified as an agnostic until I recommitted my life to Christ about ten years later. Apologetics played a huge role in that as I had seriously began to consider the truth claims of Christianity and how they stacked up against other worldviews.
One of my sisters married a son of the pastor of the church I grew up in. Both of them rejected God many years ago, and this sister recently came out as an atheist. Although she claims her atheism is because of intellectual reasons, from the clues I see, I strongly suspect that her reasons are more emotional rather than intellectual. Last year, her daughter (my niece), recently told my parents that she wants no contact with them ever again because they are bigoted towards gay and transgendered people. Needless to say, my parents were heartbroken, and I can assure you that although my parents consider homosexual behavior as sin, they are not bigots. My sister is not open to considering the truth claims of Christianity. “There is no God, and when I die, I’ll be dead, and that’s all there is to it.” I continue to pray for her and to reach out to her, as I know that God can break the hardest heart. The rest is between her and God.
Ironically, my oldest sister, who suffers greatly from debilitating Multiple Sclerosis, has always been, and remains strong in her Christian faith. Her and her husband, who takes great care of her, are an inspiration to me. If my sister has ever had a crisis of faith, it’s unknown to me, and would also be somewhat unusual.
I say that it would be unusual, because just about every kid who is raised in a Christian home will have a crisis of faith—a crossroads of sorts, whether or not to come into a faith of their own and not their parent’s faith, or to reject Christianity in favor of something else. Christian Apologist, Josh McDowell says, “Fifteen to 20 years ago, the questions that you used to hear at universities about faith, Jesus and the Bible, about skepticisms, questioning what you believe in; questions that you used to hear in the last two years of college are now being asked by 10- and 11-year-olds.”
What was missing in my home and in my church, was any training in ‘why we should believe in what we believe’. My faith growing up was borrowed from my parents and based mostly on emotional experiences. I remember those convicting sermons on the last night of youth camp where just about everyone went forward during the alter call, which became a huge cry fest with everybody hugging and ending with kids sharing their testimonies and everyone holding hands and singing praise choruses into the night. I wonder how many of those kids still identify as Christians? I personally know more than a few who do not.
When I was growing up, there was not the plethora of apologetics training material that’s available today, but there was some. I think that if I had been aware of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and for the reliability of the Bible, I would have seriously reconsidered rejecting my faith. And that brings me to why I do what I do. Today, many Christians are unaware, and many even reject the idea, that apologetics training is an integral part of raising kids to be disciples of Jesus. Several years ago, while having a meeting with a philosophy professor at a local Christian university, he asked me what my specialty in apologetics was. After a moment I replied that my specialty was being an apologist for apologetics. I think that is still true today. As far as I know, no other website has published more articles on the topic of why we need apologetics than The Poached Egg. Over 900 and counting.
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Christianity provides a robust foundation for faith. The objective basis for Christianity is something Greg West understands. Greg and his website,The Poached Egg, are great options in steering people toward the evidential premises of a biblical faith. I am so thankful for Greg and his commitment in presenting to a large audience a worldview that is consistent with reality, comprehensive in scope, and fruitful.—Kevin Short (Greg’s pastor at Christ Community Church, Springfield, MO.)
There’s so much blog content available today that it’s hard to keep up with all that people are writing. That’s why the The Poached Egg is an amazing resource—it pulls together a great selection of blog content from across the web that you would probably otherwise not see! I’m personally thankful for all that Greg has done to create this “master resource” and am honored that my posts are a small part of it.—Natasha Crain (blogger at Christian Mom Thoughts, and author of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith, and Talking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have)
I know Greg West and have a deep appreciation for all the hard work he does in sorting through the tsunami of information that is available and reposting the best articles and blogs that deal with critical areas of evidence surrounding the defense of the faith. On a almost a daily basis I view something from The Poached Egg that helps me keep up to speed in the various areas that being an apologist requires you to be familiar with. I decided that this was minimally worth $1 per day to keep this important ministry going. The $30 a month I send isn’t that much but if matched by hundreds of others who benefit as I do from this site, it will allow him to expand his efforts and add much needed staff to assist him.—Rice Broocks (Pastor and author of God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, and Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History’s Greatest Question)
I consider Greg West’s “The Poached Egg” to be one of the best apologetics blogs of all time. Greg has the ability to grasp the essence of an issue and address it in a deep, thoughtful, balanced and readable way. Highly educational! Highly recommended!—Dr. Edgar Andrews (BSc, PhD, DSc, FIP, FIMMM, CEng, CPhys. Emeritus Professor of Materials Science, University of London, UK, and author of Who Made God? Searching for a Theory of Everything, and WHAT IS MAN?: Adam, Alien or Ape?)
Greg West provides a valuable service for the Christian community with his website The Poached Egg. With so much content available online, it is easy for people to either be overwhelmed by it, or to remain entirely unaware of helpful resources. Greg’s work of content curation means that readers who are interested in apologetics can find consistently high-quality material for ministry, apologetics, and educational use. Furthermore, The Poached Egg helps to build community among Christian apologists, fostering a spirit of support and mutual encouragement in what is often a very challenging ministry field. Finally, Greg makes effective use of ‘apologetics in new media’ as he uses social media in effective ways to further the cause of Christ.” Thanks for all you do, Greg! – Dr. Holly Ordway (Apologetics Professor at Houston Baptist University and author of Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, and Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith)