Thursday, October 14, 2004

Teaching Beliefs or Teaching to Believe?

I had an interesting interaction on a message forum that I particaipate in. I'd like to share it with you:

Do you agree or disagree with my assertation:
The earth is less than 10000 years old and God created the heavens and the earth in six 24 hour days.

I voted that I disagree, but that's not really accurate. I would prefer a "no opinion", or "I don't care", or better yet "how this question is answered doesn't affect my faith at all".

Just curious, but as I recall, you're a youth minister.
(Or am I mixing you up with someone else?)
How does your stance affect your ministry to youth?
Or more specifically, how do you deal with kids asking about evolution?

That is an excellent question (and you have a good memory, I might add). Actually, I personally don't believe in evolution and my kids know that and know my personal reasons as to why I don't buy it. But, I also don't think my faith depends on that belief. I don't believe that you neccesarily have to be converted from evolution to be a "real" Christian. I'm afraid that most Christians' belief "in" God is made up of their beliefs "about" God. Most people would probably say "Yeah! So? What's wrong with that?" The problem is that when your faith in God is structured in that way, and one of your beliefs about God comes into question or crumbles all together, your faith "in" God is at least in serious jeopardy if it is not lost all together.
Instead, I teach my kids:
1) God (the trinity) IS.
2) Now, here are some things I believe about God, but even if we learn that some things turn out to be different from what we currently believe, Fact #1 is still true.
Due to the fact that I am constantly learning new things about God through the Scriptures and my understanding changes as I learn more, I feel that it is important to teach teens fact #1 and then show them how to search for truth themselves (truth and God being able to stand for themselves and not being afraid of questions). I believe that if I can accomplish those to goals I will be much more successful as a youth minister than if I make my kids carbon copies of a crystalized set of my beliefs at any given time.



c said...

thanks Adam. great reminder about not reducing God to a system of my beliefs but letting God be. don miller has some great thoughts about this in his new book, "searching for God knows what." it's hilarious as well as convicting.

Adam said...

I'm actually in the middle of that book right now. I love Miller's writing.

Chuck Wilensky said...
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