Generally speaking, most people stick with their parents’ faith. Children in Christian countries grow up Christian, children in Muslim countries grow up Muslim, children growing up in Japan grow up with a kind of loose Shintoism, and 90% of the time they don’t really cross over to other belief systems after getting their core beliefs at a young age. On top of that, there are entire eras before what we tend to think of as important human history, like the Assyrian Empire which lasted thousands of years in BC times, where most of the world lived primarily without Monotheism being an option at all.
The idea that we by growing up in a Christian-dominated culture in a certain year “struck the lottery” with the truth is worrying to me because it feels like a case of centering the Universe around our personal experiences. Am I inclined to believe in Christianity over other options more because a personal bias form how I was raised makes me think of the options as Christianity or nothing?
Would love to know if others have struggled with this thought and how they came to a decision on it.
Cody, do you really believe that in today’s world (last 50 yrs.) 90% of kids end up following their parent’s religion? That percentage certainly does not hold for the families I am familiar with–including my own. In my mother’s day (and in her mother’s) it was 90+%. And parents felt it was a mark of failure on their part if even one of a dozen kids ‘left’ the Catholic faith for another–even if the other was a solid Christian faith, such as Lutheran or Methodist. We four kids were raised in a Catholic home, went to Catholic schools and remained so throughout our lives. But the kids that each of us raised (25 in all) were not so ‘loyal’. The overall % is about like in my family: one-third. Our oldest ‘wandered off’ for a few years, but returned to become the “pray, pay, and obey” type of Catholic the Vatican so desires. She also followed her Dad’s footsteps the become a Eucharistic Minister. Our other two ‘experimented’ somewhat and found some evangelical groups that offered supportive fellowship, but have not (yet) settled down to a single Christian commitment. In other words, on questionnaires, they can pick the NOR box (no organized religion).
From what I read in the news media, this is so common with the ‘baby boomer’ and ‘millennia’ generations. So why should I worry? But I do. My two younger kids are good human beings, good citizens, and truly spiritual–they want to live a life that is pleasing to their Creator. So why worry that they did not remain Catholic like their Dad and Mom? Perhaps it is because, like their Dad, they inherited a rebellious, liberal nature, but unlike their Dad, they could not fit that into following a religion with so much restrictive dogma. Looking for Scriptural assurance, I hope John 6:44 applies (no one comes to me except my Father calls him) applies, rather than John 14:6 (no one comes to the Father except through me).
If any of the Forum readers have experiences to share relating to keeping their kids ‘in the fold’, I’d like to hear them.
I’m fully convinced that people need to come to God through Jesus. I am not at all convinced that this requires that they even hear Jesus’s name. Think of all the Jews who died before Christ came - yet they, according to the author of Hebrews, are part of the cloud of witnesses (i.e. they give testimony) to Jesus’s salvation.
C.S. Lewis addresses this in The Last Battle, with the soldier from Calormen who finds out his service to Tash was in fact service to Aslan.
I think Judaism is a special and unique religion because it introduced ethical monotheism to humanity. It compelled humans to change the way they think and act. I think Judaism also showed that there is a personal God who reveals himself to us, who cares about us because we are all of his children. As one big family, we are supposed to care for each other. I think that what makes Judaism a religion of love and justice.
I don’t know how many Jews there were in the Roman Empire, but they only seemed like a small group of people on the edge of the Roman Empire. Judaism was limited in scope, and many Jews just wanted an independent state. Jesus, a Jewish man, taught his disciples that he was the son of God, and his disciples evangelized the non-Jews. Jesus did not came here to rule over a mere temporal state, but he brought us the Kingdom of God which transcends all ethnicities.
Now we arrived at Christianity which “evolved” (if I may use the word) from Judaism. I see ourselves as the inheritors of this Jewish heritage. Not only the idea of a loving and just God passed down from the ancient Jews made me strongly believe in the Christian faith, but there is something about Jesus that is hard for me to put into words.
Maybe you should check out Basic Christianity by John Stott. My pastor is making me read this book, and it is pretty good. I have not finished the book because I am reading like four different books at the same time, but I will try to finish some chapters before Sunday and maybe I tell you what I think.