I like to read Christian blogs, particularly those on Christian parenting and education. I often find encouragement in seeing how other families approach challenges, and come away inspired. This week, I have come away quite challenged!
I came across a post entitled, '65 apologetics questions every Christian parent needs to learn to answer' - take a look, and see how you fare! I think I could do more than half without having to think too hard, but there were some, particularly some of the ones relating to creation and the different viewpoints, that I knew less about. By profession, I am a scientist, but in my faith, there are some areas where I am content to simply accept that God is greater than anything than we can understand and find no need to really grapple or be able to present the arguments for and against different perspectives. So I believe that God being God, of course the world could be created in 6 literal days. And God being God, it is hardly surprising to me that the best scientists have not been able to fully explain some of the apparent contradictions in evidence that they find. However, whilst that may be the most appropriate response in my personal faith, I am raising children who ask many questions. I realise that it is indeed important for me to be familiar with these apologetics issues, not so much for my own faith, but to help those who come to me with questions. The great thing is the number of helpful resources available - the blog I have referred to above has many detailed posts on numerous topics - the writer reads extensively as she seeks to address the questions in her own mind, and shares her insights. There are many other links presented such as Answers in Genesis. I resolve to spend more time considering these things.
At the same time, I came across a cautionary tale of a woman who had been raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, yet had 'converted' to athiesm as a young adult. The argument given was that she had been raised to believe, almost without questioning, the young earth creationist perspective and that all of Christianity stemmed from that; so when she encountered scientific argument that challenged her view on creation, her whole worldview crumbled. This underpinned to me the importance of being aware of both sides of the argument, and being able to prepare the children for the inevitable challenges of living in a society and age where Biblical truth is often scorned.
A great advantage of home education is that we can filter what our children read, hear or watch; but it would be naive to think that this will shield them from the influences of the world around them. Indeed, many choose to home educate with the aim that our children will eventually be a productive member of society (and as Christians, our prayer is that they will have a genuine life-transforming faith that shines out to those around them). We need to pray for wisdom in knowing which resources to introduce and at what stage.
This is one of the reasons I have been impressed with Sonlight. If you read their '27 reasons why you should not use Sonlight' , the presentation of controversial texts is specifically discussed. I met a a family of seven children (aged between 4 and 19 at the time) who seemed well able to weigh up both sides of an argument in order to reach their own view; this was a skill I did not learn until half way through my PhD. When I asked more questions, I learnt how the Sonlight curriculum had equipped them in this way. It is my prayer that the boys grow with this ability to listen, evaluate and formulate a correct view. And as we start to use materials from Sonlight in the near future, I look forward to seeing their questioning develop further.
Tonight, my challenge to you is this:
Are you able to answer the challenging questions about our faith? Why does God allow suffering? How did the world begin? Is hell really 'fair'? And so forth.
If you are challenged that you need to read more on some of these, how do you propose to make changes in your reading in order to achieve this?
How does your home education schedule enable your children to develop a Biblical worldview?
How do you teach your children to ask questions and evaluate material to draw a balanced view?
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.