Skepticism – the thought that what is true might not be true.
With the advancement of technology and the easy access to many different cultures we have seen an increase of misinformation as well as valid information. During the teen years, young people naturally begin to make their own assumptions about the world, as they are pulling away from their parents. While it is necessary for each individual to formulate their own worldview, some guidance is a healthy approach. I can still remember standing in the library of my college and realizing for the first time that there is a great deal of information and things to learn, outside of my degree, more than I could ever attain. This leads to the need to trust someone and their beliefs; so how does that work? How do we decide who to believe? One way is to find out who are the people that many people believe; but, wow, that can go wrong pretty quickly, because the masses are not always right, and certainly do not always have godly values as their basis. I’m going out on a limb to name some Christians who are followed by a lot of people and by their statements are following the best-selling book of all time, the Bible. I will start with Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, a renowned evangelist who led a world-wide ministry for many years and is now led by Franklin. The Statement of Faith begins with the belief that the Bible is the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative word of God revealing the love of God to the world. Other aspects are the belief in the Trinity, the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all will face judgment leading to eternal life or eternal punishment. Another prominent Christian leader Rick Warren includes these same beliefs as well as the Focus on the Family organization founded by James Dobson. Two well known pastors that have passed recently, were Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley, both who pastored large churches and had world-wide ministries as well. Their statements of faith are very similar to those previously listed. We can look to these as the basis of those who want to follow the Christian faith. I will note that there are some differences in some other areas of their statements of faith but the common basics are the best place to start.
Study with your child or teens these basics of the Christian faith so that they will have a foundation. Help them know that the Bible is a trusted book but more than that it is the Word of God. In a way that cannot be explained, it has the power to change us and convict us, as well as to lead us. Following God’s ways are the best and the more we can help our children have values and standards the more that carries over to what they believe about their identity, the meaning of life, and other searching questions. Google listed 5 big questions of life: Origin: Where did I come from? Identity: Who am I? Purpose: Why am I here? Morality: How should I live? And Destiny: Where am I going? As individuals we will search for these answers, and I believe God and His Word gives us those answers. We can have discussions about what others believe and where their values come from, but do not neglect reading the answers in God’s answer book. Where did I come from? Created by God. Known in the womb by God. Jeremiah 1:5. Who am I? “ I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters” We are His children. II Corinthians 6:18. God wants us to serve Him by loving others and telling others about Him. Matthew 22:37-40 How should I live? “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.: Micah 6:8 Where am I going? John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Recognize that these are only a few of the verses in the Bible; the whole gives us more depth and shows us how to live and how to love God and others.
Back to the skepticism…we choose what to be skeptical about. What will you choose? Who will you look to for answers? How will you help others search for those answers? Renew your faith, your beliefs and your trust in God and His word. We must also be diligent in standing strong and putting on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:13-17. We must remember our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Lord, I personally ask for patience and love for those who are skeptical about You. Lead me in my conversations and my attitudes. Increase my faith and my time spent knowing You more. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:7