Instilling Biblical Values in a Postmodern World
- Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Postmodernism is on the march, and while the Church has vigorously sought how to evangelize the postmodern culture, little has been discussed as to how to raise children in a culture where absolutes are dismissed, even ridiculed. While most parents and grandparents were raised in a time when moral tensions existed between objective good and evil, the children of today are being raised in a society where the lines of good and evil are being replaced by subjective interpretation of the two. Children are growing up in a world where there are no absolutes.
So what are parents to do in order to ensure their children are prepared to confront this ever-confusing trend?
First, parents must acknowledge the critical nature of the situation. The message of complete tolerance is a powerful one that resonates with children and teenagers. One of the primary desires possessed by children and teens is that of acceptance. Once they enter the school environment, they begin to develop an identity that is profoundly influenced by their social interactions with peers. Being accepted vies for position as being one of the primary agendas that rule their hearts. As a result, they may become sympathetic with individuals who are different from them (which is a good thing), but to the point that they will concede to the postmodern idea that their own values and beliefs are no more valid than those held by their peers. The underlying idea being that “If I disagree with another’s values and conclude that his or her beliefs are wrong, I reject him or her.”
Given their own fear of rejection (or desire for acceptance) such children will be challenged in holding firm to a particular belief system as absolute. Add to this the barrage of messages they receive from media and secular school curriculum that reinforce this tendency, and it becomes extremely evident that children being raised in a Christian home are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern message.
Secondly, parents must be willing to engage their children with the deeper truths of the Bible. Fifty years ago when modernism prevailed, children were being reared in a society that at least acknowledged the reality of objective truth. During this time, simple Bible stories served as a powerful tool to provide a biblical foundation for living. Conversely, in the postmodern era, beginning and ending with Bible stories is not enough. Children need to be engaged with Scripture at a much deeper level so that a firm foundation and worldview may be established as it relates to the tenets of the Christian faith.
For example, the idea that God saved Noah and all the animals on the ark is a beautiful narrative, but children need to be taught the whole reason Noah and the animals were on the ark in the first place: the men and women of the world were evil, depraved, and rebellious against a holy God. Many children’s Bibles as well as literature found in Christian bookstores today do a disservice to children by treating God’s Word as merely a handbook for character enhancement. They fail in offering children the resources to confront the voices of postmodern thought.
One popular children’s Bible posed three questions following a brief story about Creation. Those questions were: What is your favorite fruit? Do you like flowers? Can you name some animals? Not one word was mentioned about Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God.
Contrast this with another children’s book in which the following questions are cited, then answered: Who made you? Why did God make you and all things? Why are you to glorify God? Did Adam keep the covenant of life? What is sin? What does every sin deserve?
The difference between the two sets of questions, both developed for children, is glaringly evident.
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