We live in a relativistic age. As a result, our culture’s morals are constantly shifting and evolving.
What was once immoral is now moral, and what was moral is now immoral. Sometimes these changes happen daily, and it can be challenging to keep up. Not only that, but the pressure to accept the new principles comes from all around us (government, schools, media, big business, and even friends and family).
How do we raise young kids in a time like this? It can be a little discouraging, to say the least. But, if we do nothing about it and allow our kids to soak up whatever popular culture believes, then we are building their future on sand. We are robbing them of a solid foundation.
We might believe that going to church, reading the Bible, or praying with our kids effectively fights against this cultural trend, but does it? Even if we encourage a Christian worldview, it may not be enough if they are constantly bombarded with the dominant ideologies of popular culture. It is like building half a foundation with the other half on sand. We hope that this will be better, but it is almost more hopeless than doing nothing at all. Because of the unstable foundation, the house still sinks into the sand. Moreover, it may crumble even quicker as one side has a foundation, and the other side doesn’t, making it prone to lean and tear apart. Statistics show that two-thirds of young adults in the church stop attending. Even worse, only one-half of one percent of Christian young adults (18-23) have a biblical worldview.
Building a Biodome
With this understanding, it’s tempting to isolate our kids from the world. To wall them off from every false ideology and build a biodome. Let there be no doubt that we need to protect them, but completely sheltering our kids will also create problems that may be even more damaging to their walk with Christ. For one, in sheltering them, we may teach them the wrong thing.
We can inadvertently give credence to the idea that the world’s views are powerful and something to fear. That there is no defense against them. That instead of meeting them head-on, we need to run from them. At best, we might create ineffective witnesses for Christ that have a very legalistic view of Christianity. At worst, it can cause them to fall away from the faith. Without knowledge of the views of the world and proper instruction, they won’t have a good defense.
Even worse, they may grow hostile toward Christianity as they examine their upbringing. Was there a good reason for cutting them off from the world? Those that grew up with no restrictions may not only seem fine but better off as biodome kids find themselves lacking in cultural knowledge and social skills. Leaving them to ask are they stunted as a result of their religious upbringing? Is that the God their parents, worship? One that isolates kids and teaches them to shun people who are different? If they determine it is, can they continue to follow that God? In the end, they might not just come away with a legalistic view of Christianity but a contempt for it.
So, then what do we do?
If allowing popular moralism to be the primary influence is bad, giving a little Christian instruction alongside it is bad, and sheltering is bad, what is left? How do we raise our kids to love Christ? How do we help them look to God and not man as their guide? How do we build a good foundation for them? We need to do more than just protect our kids from false ideology; we need to teach them the flaws in it. We need to use reason, critical thinking, and the Word of God so that they can not only defend the faith but go on the offense, leaving questions in skeptics’ minds. We need to teach them apologetics.
If you haven’t heard of apologetics, the dictionary defines it as the defense against objections to the Christian worldview. Apologetics isn’t something new. It can be seen throughout the New Testament and was an essential tool in spreading the early church. Just as it was then, it is also necessary today. Not only to deconstruct the relativistic worldview but also to strengthen our faith and witness. Studying it allows us to rediscover God’s truth in fresh ways (from different angles) and glorify him in it. For instance, in response to cultural trends, the church is talking about how we are made in God’s image like never before. We are delving into God’s Word (truth), and new realizations are coming to light that never would have come about if it weren’t for these challenges.
This is truly an exciting time to live in. All of the criticism of the Christian faith is a good thing. It’s making many reevaluate how they can better serve Christ and push further into the Word. As a result, many are discovering apologetics as an effective ministry tool. Still, it’s a journey no one should take alone. Signing the kids up for an apologetics course isn’t enough. We need to make it a family thing. We need to learn apologetics so we can guide our kids and be a light to the world (their friends, our neighbors, etc.). We must set an example (showing it’s worthy of our time and theirs). Ultimately apologetics is an essential tool alongside biblical instruction. Through it, not only can we defend the faith but grow in it (as we learn about other worldviews).
Now we know that putting our kids in a bubble isn’t healthy, but we need to focus on two areas as we protect and guide them. The first is education. With the racist and sexual ideologies pushed in public schools, we must take a good hard look at our education options as Christians. We might have never considered homeschooling or private school before, but if we want our kids to have a good foundation, they may be the only options. Young kids are not prepared to deal with LGBTQ issues, sex education in kindergarten, and critical race theory. Not only that, but these issues push a secular worldview on our kids at a very young age (seeking to indoctrinate them). This has been going on in some regard for decades. Many of us have just chosen to ignore it. Yet, we can be thankful for these issues, as they have opened our eyes and revealed the full extent of the politicization of the public education system. We can now ask ourselves the difficult questions.
Even if these issues were to go away magically, is it logical to believe that we can ever place faith in state education again? I can’t give you that answer, but I believe we all must pray over our kids and immediately find better options for school, whether that means homeschool or a private Christian school. It’s good also to be aware that just because a school has Christian in its title doesn’t make it better than the state education system. It’s up to all parents to vet what it’s teaching, which can be a difficult task. The Association of Classical Christian Schools website is a great place to start, however. There are many benefits to it (beyond the scope of this article). Not only is it an excellent education, but it teaches a Christian worldview, apologetics, and critical thinking. The aim of it is not just to train our kids for a job but to be lifelong learners and seekers of truth.
If you can’t afford private school at this time, then Classical Christian Curriculums are also available for homeschooling. Ultimately homeschooling and private school might not seem like an option for everyone. Both require time and money, but we must never forget that God can open doors that might seem closed otherwise. Prayer is essential as he leads us. He may lead you toward a scholarship, other financial option, or a parent group that can help you find ways to get out of the state education system.
The second thing we need to be conscious of is entertainment. This means everything from tv, to movies, to books to social media, etc. Unfortunately, even children’s shows push moral relativism and all kinds of secular moralism on our kids. That doesn’t mean that we don’t allow our kids to watch YouTube or other streaming services but that we vet what they are watching or are in the room with them as the show is playing (if necessary). Some services will also do the vetting for you (Plugged’n), and there are Christian streaming services (Yippee, Pureflix), music, and podcasts available too. Likewise, if there really is a show your kids like (that’s on a streaming service), sometimes it’s also best to purchase it (or rent it from the library) rather than subscribing to a streaming service that has unbiblical values.
My wife and I have personally cut out Netflix, Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and Amazon prime after seeing identity politics creeping into our children’s programming. The growing list made us question if we were doing the right thing. But in our reflection, we realized that not subscribing to these services doesn’t make us bad parents. We can still provide our kids with entertainment. We just have to work a little harder than we would’ve had to otherwise. Services like Yippee are excellent for young families as they provide some quality Christian entertainment. Still, there is not as much content as on Amazon Prime or Netflix, so we also allow our kids to watch some YouTube shows that we have screened or watch with them while we are in the room. The shows we watch are generally wholesome, but we never know what’s going to come up in the commercials, so it’s important to be there to supervise.
Cutting them out was hard at first but made us realize how much we relied on media. By cutting down the services, we found ourselves spending less time in front of the TV and more together as a family doing other activities. We also found alternative Christian streaming services we would never have found otherwise. In the end, it has strengthened our family and has been an enormous blessing.
Is this all worth it?
In doing all these things, we must always be vigilant our kids don’t become cut off from the world. We all know that the stereotype of homeschoolers (or sometimes private schoolers) is that they are weird. They lack social skills. This can be true, but not if we are aware of it and make up for it in other ways. Homeschooling requires we find our kids opportunities to socialize that they would have had at a regular school. With more people homeschooling, plenty of groups offer a wide range of activities, clubs, sports, music, and art now. Socialization is just as important as education because if our kids lack critical social skills, they will be ineffective witnesses, and that’s what’s most important of all. We must remember why we are doing all of this. It’s not about us or our kids, but Christ. It’s all about spreading his kingdom and glorifying God. Any other priority that comes before that is a selfish one. We are not just giving them a good foundation but creating effective witnesses for Christ.
Now, no one said this would be easy. Non-state education is time and money. So is spending time reviewing entertainment, doing apologetics, and finding activities and groups for your kids to socialize. Still, there might never be a time that’s more important for Christians to be different from the world. I say this not in that we should be different out of fear but out of joy. The beautiful thing in all of this is there is never before seen opportunity all around us. There is more talk about how we are made in God’s image than ever before. New realizations are coming to light, ones that we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for these secular challenges to God’s Word. In the end, these secular ideologies pushing against the Christian faith will only help us glorify God all the more. But we must be courageous and not lose heart. When this new western religion fails (and it will), there will be a thirst for the truth, and without someone to point toward it, there will be no way to find it.