When I was young, faith choices were fairly limited. The main choice was between Catholic and Protestant and among the Protestants it was a sub choice from a variety of groups – Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian and so on. Then a few cults arrived: Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. In the 1960s Charismatic churches started making their presence felt. Up to this point the general focus of faith was still around the Christian tradition even if a few seemed flaky.
Anyway, the choices were largely determined by family tradition. For me, Catholics and Anglicans were out as our family had always been Reformed. The big question in a small country town was where would the girl come from whom I was going to marry? I know it gave my mother sleepless nights! I could come home with a Baptist or even worse, a Catholic!
In the late 60s and into the 70s other, non Christian, groups started showing their faces. Hare Krishnas were the most talked about as they drummed their orange lives into our consciousness. Buddhism, the Baha’i faith, Islam were just some of the other new comers. The occult was always there but it was only whispered about.
All in all it meant that in a few short decades our religious culture had become far more pluralistic. Alongside this came the Postmodern idea that truth is relative and personal. From a relatively homogeneous religious culture we arrived at a smorgasbord. Every person’s taste is now catered for.
How in this culture do Christian parents train their children? If one believes in the truth of Scripture and the reality of Christ and His Kingdom (very absolute beliefs in a Postmodern era), how do we encourage our children to follow, what we believe is truth?
In coming days I hope to explore some approaches that parents take, and consider their effectiveness.