by Rob Lundberg
I don’t think anyone will disagree with me that our culture is becoming more and more skeptical when it comes to spiritual truth, about God, and what Jesus came to do for us. We hear the stories and the statistics of how kids today are walking away from the faith right out of high school and in their first year of college/university.
But what if I told you that kids are becoming skeptical at an earlier age? This past Sunday, I was visiting with a parent who asked me about their eight year old. The parent me that they were confronted by their eight year old child with,
“You told me that there was a Santa Claus, and I found out that he does not exist. If you lied to me about Santa Claus existing, how do I know you’re not lying to me about God’s existence?“
How do you answer this one? What resources are available for us to equip our kids? Let me dive in and answer both of these questions for us. To answer these questions allow me to answer four questions that I see couched in the objection.
Did Santa Claus exist? This is where myth and the stories of real people in history collide. The stories for both Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus are too large in scope for this posting. But what we can say is that if we are referring to a man who lived in time space history, we might want to refer to Saint Nicholas.
The story of Santa Claus as a person of history stems off of a historical figure that became the figurehead we know as Santa Claus. But the mythological story does not refer to a fat “jolly ole elf” who flew in a sleigh towed by eight tiny reindeer, sliding down a chimney, filling stockings and leaving presents is a tale that takes on various cultural revisions. Though a spin off of a historical figure, accomplishing the delivery of presents on a global scale would be nothing short of miraculous. Enough said here. Let me move on.
What is the Difference between Myth and Reality? In answering the objection of whether or not God exists because Santa Claus, in the popular sense does not, it is necessary to show that there is a difference between the categories of myth and reality. (Of course if there any atheists reading this they may see no difference. Let me invite you to banter with us in the comment section).
The Judeo Christian faith is an historical faith is documented between the books of Genesis to the Revelation, and what we call the Bible. The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitness (some 40, from three different languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) and three different continents (Asia, Europe and Africa). These writers record for us supernatural events done by a supernatural God, that were in direct fulfillment to specific prophecies. And these writers, within a span of 1500 years, tell us that they are divine rather than human in origin (2 Peter 1:16-21).
The stories are consistent and cohesive and correspond to historical relevancy. There is no room for myth, unlike the cultural stories of a character that comes once a year on the Advent calendar.
What about God’s existence? Because the objection from this eight year old challenges God’s existence, we need just quickly address this issue of God’s existence. First, those who say that God does not exist have the burden of proof placed on them. Why do I bring this up. It is because of the tail end of the objection, “how do I know you’re not lying to me about God’s existence?” The proof would have to be twofold: 1) prove that the parent is lying to the child, and 2) prove that God does not exist.
Really there is a lot of evidence showing that God does exist, but enough to where we cannot live on the evidence alone, but have faith that the evidence and the Scripture all point to God’s existence. By the way, Scripture does not prove God’s existence. Scripture only affirms God’s existence and shows how God has intervened in history.
But we have the fact that truth exists. If truth exists then God exists. And if God exists then miracles are possible. The first miracle is found in the first verse and is backed up by science pointing to the origin, the design of the universe; and the universe has a moral code inserted. All of these point to the possibility, not absolute certainty, that God does exist.
How then shall we teach our kids on this issue? As I wrap this article up, it is hard to believe that Christmas is just a little over two months away. So this article is a good precursor to prepare and load up your portfolio for the questions that may come. I believe no matter the age of our children, parents need to be the best apologists for their kids. So let me point you to a three resources that will help you answer your kids’ questions and help you in disciplining your family.
It’s no secret that children of all ages are being exposed to negative criticism of Christianity as they spend time at school, hand out with friends, or even “fish the web” online. The question is are you prepared to talk with your kids about how they can effectively answer the tough questions that come their way? Tough questions like this one are just a drop in the bucket in comparison to what they face.
In Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, by Natasha Crain, you’ll find 40 of the most common challenges kids face—along with clear, easy-to-understand responses you can discuss together. This book will help you do three things: 1. encourage an open dialogue on the issues your kids might hesitate talking about; 2. replace your children’s doubts with confidence only that God’s truth can provide; and 3. equip your kids to build good critical thinking skill that are so direly needed today.
Another source that will help is Lee Strobel’s Case for Faith for Kids. This book provides answer to questions about faith that even adults struggle to answer. We all meet skeptics every day that ask questions like: Why does God allow bad things to happen? Can you have doubts and still be a Christian? This book was written in kid-friendly language that gives you all the answers. It is packed full of well-researched, reliable, and eye-opening investigations of some of the biggest questions you have. This book is great for parents and their kids as they explore together and have quality time in family discipleship.
Let’s not forget on a broader scale, Cold Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective by J. Warner Wallace. This book is geared to kids aged between 8 and 12. These are the ages when kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true. In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, Detective Wallace will get your child excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity.
Thank you for indulging in this post. If you have any questions, please let me know by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to respond and we can dialog on this via email or by Skype.