THE TAKE AWAY
Milk and Meat
By Kersley Fitzgerald
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Last night JT was practicing for a spelling test. It was a whole bunch of "ology" words. I rattled them off (in between catching glimpses of Failblog), he wrote them down, I went over them. He missed six, including two that I have to type regularly and never get right — archiology and geneology. I told him to write down the words he'd missed ten times each.
Oh, the drama! Oh, the pain! His hand hurt! Too much writing! Disney Infinity was calling! The sadness! The abuse! TEN TIMES?!!!
Then I told him he had to write them down correctly, not just repeat his misspellings ten times.
Good grief, you'd think I'd reset all his video games.
A couple of days ago, our CompellingTruth.org editor asked for some personal insight on the question "How can I keep the faith?" I mentioned that, for JT, it was important to not muddy the waters by exposing himself to unchristian beliefs that he doesn't have the skillset to understand yet. In particular, he's had to curtail his watching of Ninjago, a cartoon based on a line of Legos. There's nothing wrong with the toys, but the eastern mysticism that saturates the plotlines and characters had him actively doubting the existence of God. When he stopped watching, he stopped questioning.
I cannot tell you how many times we get a line of questions at GotQuestions.org that parallels JT's experience. The questioner starts out self-identifying as a faithful but young believer. Then the doubt creeps in. It may be because he took the Great Commission to heart and started witnessing to an educated atheist friend. It may be because he wanted to be an apologist and started watching videos on the (contrived) similarities between Jesus and Horus. All of a sudden, he's experiencing a major crisis of faith that no single email is going to solve.
I believe it is a very bad idea to get too far into the world of anti-Christian arguments if you don't have a strong foundation of biblical truth. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Faith in God and Jesus develops as you dig into the Bible and come to understand how it speaks to your life. When faced with normal doubts, go back to the truth. What was it that drew you to Christ in the first place? How do you see God working in your life? Where do you find insight into God's work? Two Scriptures address this. Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:2 both talk about new believers needing the milk of biblical training before they are ready for the meat of hard theology and apologetics. This foundation is key. And you'll find it in the Bible, not Youtube.
But, believe it or not, it's not all about hearing Scripture. It's also about logic and awareness and cognitive maturity. I can't tell you how many times someone has posted a Terrible Great Tragedy on my Facebook Newsfeed that was soundly refuted by Snopes.com. The person who posted did not have the online cognitive maturity to recognize the signs that something on the internet might be false. They didn't have the experience.
The same can be said for people who lose faith every time they hear a new report or see a new video claiming Jesus never existed or copied pagan gods or was made out of clams. They don't have the background in the long-standing battles between Christian apologists and the goofballs who recycle the same tired old story that has been defeated in the past — or who made up new stuff that doesn't even make sense.
"Geneology" looks fine if you don't have experience enough to know it's spelled "genealogy."
Several months ago, I had to write an article on the "God virus". I was apprehensive, wondering if the claims would shake my faith. But as I researched, my faith grew stronger. The mechanisms that the author claims spread the false belief of Christianity, I saw as part of God's plan to help us choose Him and become His followers. JT, at 12 years old, does not have the cognitive maturity to stop a doubting line of thought from shaking his faith. A minimal amount of prior understanding of the context of the argument and a significant amount of faith in Christ made me understand the issue from God's point of view.
We welcome questions from people who have stumbled on what looks like a mistake in the Bible or who have caught wind of a book that seems to refute the existence/identity/resurrection/marital status of Jesus. Our apologetics team will happily explain what these conundrums mean. What's sad is the teenager or 20-something who actively looks for anti-Christian videos, knowing they will pull him away from Christ, and comes running to us, arms flailing, because once again he's lost his faith.
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." If you know your faith is young and you're just beginning to understand who Jesus is, go to the place that teaches the truth about Jesus — the Bible. Don't go running into the arms of anti-Christian atheists. That's about as silly as writing "archiology" ten times.
- Article on The Zeitgeist Movie.
- Article on is Jesus a myth.
- Website that addresses many "difficulties" found in the Bible text.
- Blogpost on "Covert Messiah."
- Blogpost on Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
- Blog series on miracles in the Bible.
- Blogpost on the multiverse.
Photo credit: Mr. Stabile; Some rights reserved