My wife took our 9 month old foster baby to get her shots this week, but I skipped it. Yeah, I’m a lousy father. I simply couldn’t stand the idea of watching her scream, even though I know the shot is the best thing for her. Hopefully, it will protect her from contracting some life-threatening illness that could harm her on down the road.
Flu shots have often come into question by parents, because they realize we’re really being injected with a weak strain of the very virus we’re hoping to prevent. The idea is that as the body fights off the weak virus, it also prevents the full blown version from ever taking hold.
But what if there was an inoculation which actually PREVENTED them from receiving a life-saving cure? One that would make kids completely immune to the cure for their disease?
Well, there is one shot I know of that millions of parents give their kids every year. It injects them with a weak, impotent strain of Christianity that guarantees they will never contract the real thing.
I call it “casual Christianity”. The Apostle Paul describes it vividly:
“ …lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” – 2 Timothy 3:4-5
These are the occasional, symbolic-gesture Christians. They have a “form of godliness”, yet their lives possess no real spiritual power because they are not truly following Christ and modeling Him to the world.
They don’t follow Christ with passion because they are “lovers of pleasure”. They prioritize everything in their week EXCEPT God. They run their kids to band practice, dance practice, football practice, etc. They would never dream of letting them skip school, because that’s truly a priority of a “good parent”.
However, they only occasionally darken the door of a church, missing more than they attend. There is little prayer in their home, and the Bible only gets use as an impromptu coaster for their sodas. As a result, they’re raising the most well-educated, socially-connected batch of heathens the world has ever known.
I know. I sound old fashioned. You’re picturing me at an old wooden pulpit now, spit flying angrily from my mouth. But the stats don’t lie, and they show us losing this generation. Actually, there’s no way we couldn’t be losing them.
The reason is simple: what the parent sets as a priority will most often be what the child prioritizes. But when kids see little to no religious activity from their parents, the message is clear:
God is unimportant.
And as a result, many parents who say they believe in God are actually raising a generation of accidental atheists.
Let me be blunt – there are too many attacks against Christianity today for your child to survive without your help. Educational systems and societal pressures will destroy any child’s faith that’s not fortified by the example of a Godly parent.
I learned this the hard way. My 17-year old daughter goes to a public school, and her history class did a segment on world religions. Each religion was treated with respect and dignity, until they came to Christianity. To represent our faith, they chose to show a conspiracy-theory pseudo-documentary called Zeitgeist, which claims all Christianity is based on a fraud.
When she came home and told me about it, I looked up the film on YouTube to see what scholarly, theological or archaeological credentials it had. There were none. It was the fabrication of an art student from NYC. Seriously.
I went to the school to ask the teacher why this film was shown when other faiths were shown respect. He said it was meant to “help spur discussion”, although no counterpoint was ever allowed to contradict the film. I asked him if he knew there was nothing accurate about the film even from a purely secular point of view, although it was presented as “gospel truth” (pun intended). His only response was to apologize. But at no time did he nor the principal I spoke with later pledge the film wouldn’t be shown again.
The biggest problem is that most of the other kids didn’t have parents who understood the Bible and why it was reliable. They have the same access to resources on the internet as I do. But today, their kids probably continue to believe Christianity is bunk, all because their parents never cared enough to investigate what they claim to believe.
The number one reason why young people say they’ve left their faith is that no spiritual authority was willing to answer their spiritual questions. Instead, they watch parents give lip-service to an impotent faith that never intersects their real lives. Their parents offer no answer to the challenges against faith, because they simply don’t care enough to fight.
In the end, it is not the school’s fault their kids walk away from God. The blame is ultimately on the parents who pedal a faith they rarely put into practice.
Even if we don’t have all the answers, parents must care enough about our faith to know where to point our children for valid answers. We must know what we believe and why, and start living like the things of God really matter to us.
Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you’ve raised an atheist. And since you’ve read this, it will no longer be an accident, will it?