August 27, 2018
In recent research by the Barna Group, a research company which focuses on how faith in America intersects with the culture, a large cross section of 13 to 18 year olds (part of the generation now being called Gen Z), were asked about their faith in God, (or their lack of faith). Their answers reflect a general growing skepticism in having faith in God. According to this research, one of the key reasons for their skepticism about God is the hypocrisy that they have observed in “Christians,” and the growing belief that Christianity is just a “fairy tale” and should not be taken seriously. They also believe that the injustices that history blames on “Christianity” (wars, racism, and more recently prejudice against the homosexual community), makes it hard for them to take the message of Christianity seriously. For us in a Christian school, perhaps the most damaging trend identified regarding this generation of young people, is that over half of the “church attending” Gen Z’ers surveyed by Barna, believe that the Bible, and the church, reject what “real science” informs them about in the world. In fact, everything outside of our Christian school classrooms, questions the truths about God that are presented to them in our Christian school, especially related to origins and sexuality.
Barna research found that the per cent of Generation Z that identify themselves as being atheist is already double that of previous generations. Gen Z’ers are also a generation in which their personal achievements and interests are often more important to them than their own family identity and how they have been raised. Barna also tells us that today, seventy-five per cent of students who are active in church throughout high school will drop out of church after high school, and leave the faith of their parents. So for Christian parents and for us here at FCS is, how do we approach this generation of students for Christ, when everything in the culture around them says that what we are presenting is false. I believe that it is vital for us, as Christian parents and educators, to be very pro-active in our effort to stop the influence of the bad ideas that influence our students through the media and online experiences which so dominates their lives. In fact, we must take the position that if we don’t push back, the bad ideas that seek to consume an entire generation, including those raised in Christian homes and who attend Christian schools, will consume an entire generation.
The question for us as Christian parents and educators is how will we influence those who are in our care in a way that will equip them and help prevent them from falling victim to the ideas that are prevalent in the culture in which they live, which are not only “bad ideas” but will draw them away from their Christian faith? The younger generations seem willing to embrace an idea because it seems good or harmless, but one of the dangers of each of the false ideas which compete for the hearts and minds of this generation is that they all contain some element of truth. Just as the media today seeks to influence people politically, the counterfeit ideas (fake ideas) sound legitimate because of the way they are presented. But we know that upon further review the world’s messages are far removed from real truth about the one true God. So even though we understand that false worldviews are counterfeit truth, they are very real, and predictably those who fall into their trap will reap the consequences of accepting “fake” ideas about God.
I trust that as we enter into a new school year as parents and faculty, we will be encouraged to resist the bad and false ideas that are overtaking an entire generation. We need to purposefully and intentionally identify, and challenge, the “fake ideas” that are threatening an entire generation of children, by teaching them the truth that there is only one worldview that provides the answers to life’s most important questions, and ultimately helps people find purpose in their life and peace in their soul. This is the importance of the Christian worldview we embrace, and that we want to communicate to the generation of students who walk the halls of FCS. The Christian worldview, which is summed up in the words of Jesus Christ in John 14:6 when Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one come to the Father but by me,” is the answer to all of the questions being asked by Gen Z. We must intentionally and passionately teach that accepting a Christian worldview is learning to think like Jesus about every part of life. We must teach that following Jesus means accepting how Jesus loved all people, and it is Jesus that is the answer for finding inner peace, and for having hope for the near future and for eternity.