Who’s waiting for your kids? In a few short years, they will leave the safety of your home and church and head off to college. Who will they meet? What ideas will they encounter? What moral choices will they face?
For most adults, it’s been quite a few years since they’ve set foot on a college campus. Let us bring you up-to-speed on who and what is waiting for your kids:
Welcome to college in the 21st century.
Clearly, there are enormous intellectual and moral challenges awaiting our Christian students on the university campus. So here’s the next question you must answer: Are your kids ready to face these challenges? Well, if they are the typical Christian student in the U.S., the answer is clearly no.
Since 2001, sociologist Christian Smith has been directing the National Study of Youth and Religion, the most comprehensive research on the religious beliefs and practices of U.S. teens. Smith published his initial results in a groundbreaking book, Soul Searching: The Religious & Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. What he discovered does not bode well for the faith of our youth.
According to Smith’s research, American teens: 1) are almost completely inarticulate about their faith and unable to explain its most basic tenets, 2) are largely moral relativists and religious pluralists, and 3) view God as a distant being who exists solely to make them happy, but who is irrelevant to most aspects of their lives. Furthermore, students who abandoned the religious beliefs they were raised with did so primarily because of intellectual skepticism and doubt. Teens said things like, “’It didn’t make any sense anymore,’ ‘Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe,’ ‘I think scientifically and there is no real proof,’ and ‘Too many questions that can’t be answered.’”
The data presented here can be put in the form of an equation:
And the hemorrhaging of youth from our churches won’t stop until we get intentional about solving the problem. On the university campus, secular college professors are very intentional about indoctrinating your kids. In a candid moment, prominent atheist professor Richard Rorty tells you exactly what college faculty like him plan to do with your kids:
“...we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own…we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization....So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable..”
Make no mistake, there are plenty Richard Rortys out there, waiting for your kids. So, what are you going to do prepare them for the serious challenges ahead?
That's why I'm hosting the Stand to Reason RETHINK youth apologetics conference tomorrow in Orange County, California. So, don't have a plan in place yet? Then start by coming to RETHINK. There's still time to sign up. We'll even let you register at the door. And if you can't come to us, we'll come to you.
Parents, pastors, youth workers, Christian educators, Sunday School teachers...it's time to get serious about training the next generation.