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If Christianity Really is True, Then Why...?

A few years ago I held Papa School for nine older grandchildren (ages 15-24) and four of their girlfriends/boyfriends. The idea was to take eight weeks to discuss some of the most challenging questions many young people have about the mysteries of the Christian faith.


I wrote a curriculum for them to read each week and some questions for them to consider and then we had a conversation over pizza at our home. The topics they read addressed a few of the important, honest, and thoughtful questions many Nones, or Dones have about God, The Bible, and if Christianity is really true, then why...? and you can finish that question a hundred different ways. I was not out to prove that God exists or the Bible is true. However, I did hope by the time we finished they'd have a greater confidence and respect for both.


By the way, Nones are generally younger people who when asked on surveys what their religious affiliation is, check the None box. They are secular. Their values are not tied to religious dogma. Dones are people who were raised in the church and may still consider themselves Christians, but are done with organized religion and church. This group has been called de-churched. But for the purpose of these blogs and the draft of a book I'm working on, my shorthand for all these groups will be Unreligious people.


But this blog series is also for you, the "I've been a Christian all my life," type Christian. If you're like most, you know what you believe, but don't always know why, or how to explain it to others. So instead you've tried getting family & friends to attend church and have them sent out books, or podcasts. Plan B. My hope is that these blogs and maybe a future book are Plan A.


This is your opportunity to personally engage. In each of these chapters, you'll learn the "back story" of how and why Christians believe what they do. And you'll discover serious followers of Jesus who believe things you may not. You may not buy every argument, so you are going to be stretched yourself. Before you finish this blog series, I hope you'll say to yourself a dozen times, "I never thought about it that way before." For Unreligious people a teachable, humble Christian is an attractive, but rare thing.


If you're a conservative Christian, you likely belong to a denomination, listen to, or watch only, religious media, or news with a particular slant, so any idea that feels different than what you've been taught is very likely to be met with suspicion as liberal, dangerous, or just plain wrong. You will have to work hard to resist those impulses and be teachable.


Some ideas and traditions, which we've grown up thinking were biblical, may not be at all, or are more narrow than the Bible allows. As a result we've come to believe some of these Christian Urban Legends because those before us believed them and now a new generation of younger Christians are calling us out on them and it feels like they're rejecting faith. They may not be.


In my experience, few people have outright rejected Jesus' teachings or everything in the Bible. What many are rejecting is Christianity, the religion, the organized church, or our narrow interpretation of Biblical Christianity. They simply question things we never did. I hope you'll find in these blogs new words and word pictures to tell the "old, old story." Truth never changes but how we express it and teach it, will and should.


So, next week we'll start a three week series exploring this question, "Just what makes you so sure the Bible is true?". As you read each week, pray about meeting after the three weeks, with someone you care about who you'd like to discuss these ideas with. Be the "thought leader" in your family, maybe with a grandchild, or nephew who is indifferent to God. Even if you disagree with me, tell them why and what you believe.


One last idea; they may say some pretty off the wall stuff about what they believe about God, the Bible, the church and evangelicals. Don't take the bait! The people I know who are successful at meeting with younger Christians have learned to "take a punch." Admit that well-meaning Christians have made many mistakes. Yes, there are lots of hypocrites in the Church and you and I are one of them. Listen to their concerns and questions and be honest about the questions you had yourself at one time in your life, or still have about faith. Be teachable. Roll your eyes and you are done! This is a journey of learning together.

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