Every morning as I drive my Little Man to school, we play a game. I turn the radio up so that we can hear the very beginning notes of each song, and then, as soon as we hear the music playing, we each race the other in shouting out the title of the song and the artist who sings it.
He beats me most of the time.
One morning, during a relatively uneventful moment, he blurted out, “Putting the Bible and science together is hard.”
Now, I’m told, that the speed with which a frog can extend its tongue to catch its prey is approximately 5 times the speed with which a human can blink. Granted, that’s pretty quick, but it can’t compare to the speed with which I reached out to crank down the volume of our beloved radio music.
….Somewhere in the Amazon Rainforest, there’s a tree frog who thinks that I have mad skills….
You see, Little Man doesn’t know it yet, but this is a conversation he needs me to have with him.
Research shows that an increasing number of our church-raised kids are abandoning the faith once they leave home. One of the culprits is the sticky presumption that faith & science are opposed to one another. If you desire to foster your child’s lifelong faith, here are some things to keep in mind…
- Get started early. Because our beliefs drive our actions, it’s important for each of us to invest the time and energy necessary to ascertain that our belief systems are, in fact, true. However, falsehoods can take root so early that they go unnoticed, and become embedded in the fresh, fertile soil of young minds. Left unchecked and unchallenged, that misplaced belief will serve as a hub, from which consequent, misdirected beliefs will develop. Eventually, the belief becomes so centralized that extracting it necessitates an entire dismantling of one’s personal worldview. Therefore, in many cases, the malignant belief is allowed to remain solely because such an upheaval is automatically considered to be absurd, or is too emotionally and psychologically overwhelming as to even merit any real consideration. In other words, the true belief will effortlessly fall outside of what philosopher JP Moreland calls the ‘plausibility structure’.
So, we should make sure our kids understand early that science is not necessarily the only authority on truth and knowledge, and that – with respect to conversations about origin – Big Bang Cosmology and Biblical Creation actually harmonize with one another. These kinds of things will till the soil of their hearts, creating sacred space for the truth of God (who created science in the first place) to sprout and flower alongside their understanding of scientific facts. In other words, we will be creating for our children a plausibility structure which will accommodate beliefs about God and the supernatural.
- Get the facts straight. One of the conversations I had to have with Little Man involved correcting a mistaken assumption he had about the nature of the Big-Bang explosion. Once I made sure he understood it clearly, I was able to walk him through a side-by-side comparison of scientific facts as we understand them, and the truths of Scripture. It turns out, there are things about science that he misunderstood, and also things about creation that he misunderstood. Once we settled those issues, the conversation was fairly simple. Most importantly, we resolved the conflict that he perceived had existed.
Many times I’ve read de-conversion stories or have had discussions with ex-Christian-now-atheists, only to discover that their motivation for giving up on faith in Christ rested entirely on a misunderstanding. What a shame.
- Get it for yourself. Perhaps you’re not really all that familiar with Big Bang Cosmology, or its implications for Christian theology. Or maybe the idea that science is the ultimate authority seems reasonable to you, and you’re not quite sure what to do with that.
We live in interesting times. Luckily, there are people out there who’ve dedicated their lives to helping us understand the Christian faith and to defend it where it is challenged. Get to know who these people are and what they teach. Keep an eye out for them on my Resources page and on my Facebook page.
I’d really like to hear from you! If you have specific questions about why Christianity is true or how to equip your kids with this information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.