Written by J. Warner Wallace |
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Jesus matters so much to the history of humans, that the truth about Jesus can be reconstructed from the books and writings of authors, the historic paintings, etchings, and sculptures of artists, the lyrics of classic and contemporary songwriters, the campus buildings and founding charters of the world’s most prestigious universities, the writings of the “science fathers,” and even the scriptures of non-Christian religions. Jesus still matters, and he ought to matter to your kids, especially in this Christmas season.
A recent Gallup poll reveals that more Americans will celebrate a secular Christmas than ever before. For many of us, Christmas is little more than an opportunity to play Santa with our kids. As a thirty-five-year-old, atheist homicide detective, my Christmas celebrations were largely focused on my children as well. But I eventually investigated the birth and life of Jesus and began to observe the holiday differently. Before you relegate Christmas to a childish celebration, consider the beliefs of the children with whom you’re celebrating.
They probably believe in God, even if you don’t.
Bruce Hood, a professor of developmental psychology at Bristol University, studied the beliefs of children in the United Kingdom and concluded that “children have a natural, intuitive way of reasoning that leads them to all kinds of supernatural beliefs about how the world works.”
Olivera Petrovich, an Oxford University psychologist, surveyed several international studies of children aged four to seven and found that the belief in God as a “creator” is “hardwired” in children and that “atheism is definitely an acquired position.”
Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology and director of the Mind and Development Lab at Yale University, writes, “The universal themes of religion are not learned… They are part of human nature… Creationism—and belief in God—is bred in the bone.”
Children are more likely to believe in God than not but can be persuaded otherwise over time. Gen Z teens, for example, are more skeptical than prior generations. So how can we leverage the Christmas season and the theistic predispositions of our children to learn and share the truth about Jesus?
Start by asking two “whys” for every “what”.
As parents, we’ve all explained what is true to our children at one time or another. What do we believe about God? What are the claims of Christianity? What does the Bible teach about important moral issues? These simple propositions about the nature of God or the claims of Christianity may or may not ignite a fire in our young people.