[Originally published as part of 5 Dangerous ideas about faith]
Dangerous Idea #5 “it is better for us to isolate ourselves from those that we disagree with”
The world is a scary place. There are shootings and terrorist attacks. We are seeing the gap widen between people that embrace different worldviews. Some views are leading people to attack or ignore others, or stand with the hurting….or lead to isolation.
Some views have dangerous implications that we feel the need to protect our kids from. All good parents recognize the need to protect their children from things and limit their exposure to things that they are not ready to handle. It is easy to want to feel like the best method can be just to isolate our children and teens from the world. However, this could be setting them up to fail if we become to overprotective.
Typically, when we isolate ourselves from others, we end up just having a giant echo chamber of our own ideas circulating. It becomes easier to misrepresent other people’s views or demonize them and their reasons for holding those views. However, when your teen goes away to college, they will be exposed to many ideas. Some are good, and others not so much. They will receive a level of exposure that will make it harder for them to even react well against false ideas. In fact, they may even embrace those ideas and question much of the worldview of their upbringing. It can be compared to receiving exposure to a flu virus that you never got a shot for. Thus, your body is not able to overcome it, and you become infected with the virus.
What if we thought of a better way to raise the next generation that produces young adults that Love truth, a reasonable faith, respectful dialogue and training in apologetics?
What If we thought about inoculating instead of isolating?
Inoculating is when we get a flu shot that exposes us to small doses of the flu virus so that we are able to fight it off and be immune from the full-fledged version when it tries to come at us. Likewise, what if we exposed the next generation to some of the greatest questions and objections to Christianity from various worldviews while they are with us at home still? Isn’t that option a little risky? To a degree, yes. But is it as risky as sending them off to college with no exposure to these ideas?
If Christianity is true, we shouldn’t be afraid of thinking through some of the tough questions. Remember, we shouldn’t be afraid of questions but engage with them!
All of these reasons above are exactly why Kendra and I launched the city-wide ministry called Engage Apologetics on June 5th, 2018. We had a wonderful night of sharing desserts, sharing the engage vision, and then a time of worship at the Mustard Seed Café here in El Paso, TX. We have a passion to help parents, college students and teens grow in love for truth, training, and in conversations with others about hope found in Christ alone.
We want to vigorously test popular worldviews and objections to Christianity and demonstrate the total truth of the Christian worldview as the best explanation of reality. We will do this through our 8-week intensive classes every semester on various apologetics topics here in El Paso on both the West and East side of town.
We want to help expose our Engage students to other ideas by facilitating opportunities for them to role-play from other people’s perspectives and gain practice in being able to respectfully and clearly communicate the total truth of Christianity.
We want to move beyond just role-playing to going out and talking with people from other worldviews (Atheists, Muslims, Mormons, JWs). We believe that we can build friendships, understand perspectives better and effectively encourage our friends to pursue truth at all costs when we are in conversation with them consistently.
In summary, I invite all my readers to pursue truth, embrace a reasonable faith, debate respectfully, train in apologetics, and engage in conversation with ideas and people that you may disagree with. In the end, you will see the joy of true tolerance, love, celebration of truth, and new friendships that are formed!
Pursuing these ideas will have great consequences!