As a parent or grandparent how can we help our children to thrive in secular schools, and not stumble over the many arguments that are antithetical to Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) Put another way, how can we teach them to be in the world but not of the world?
Yesterday I was watching an "Animal Planet" special on Africa. One of the most fascinating animals to me is the Honey Badger. It is not that big but I was astounded by the way it attacked a King Cobra. The cobra "ran" when it saw the Honey Badger by climbing a tree. Undaunted, the badger scampered up the tree and jumped from limb to limb until the cobra fell to the ground. Unlike Riki Tiki Tavi, this crazy Honey Badger ran straight to the cobra and its celebrated fangs. This unassuming badger ran right up to it and did swift business with it, and ate it. The commentator stated (and this is key) is that it had been stung and bitten so many times by bees and cobras that it had become immune to the stings and bites of both. Incredible....
There are two extremes to avoid as a parent. Some think, I'll quarantine my children. Homeschoolers are especially tempted to this extreme, but if the virus is still out there in the world, and if they are not given some exposure to the world, then they will not have built up any resistance.When I was in college, I saw so many professing Christians take Old Testament or New Testament classes in order to learn. However, many lost their faith in a semester or two because they had not been exposed to the arguments that are out there. It was horrible to watch. So, quarantining is a bad idea.
The other extreme is overexposure where the kids are cast as sheep among wolves, and hope it will toughen them up. This is what happens by default when we have no strategy against Satan's schemes.
So, what is the golden mean? As Jay Richards says--inoculation: measured exposure to a pathogen.We can be inoculated against smallpox by getting an injection of of cowpox, to which our bodies react by developing antibodies which protect us from more harmful pathogens. Or like the Honey Badger who builds up immunity. We need think about ideas like Darwinism in the same way. We do not want to wait until high school or college before our children hear the best arguments for/against Darwinism. Mom and dad need to discuss these things before then, and be able and willing to have the compassion to give honest intellectual answers to honest intellectual questions.
Richards says, kids should learn to ask their professors, "What would be the best argument I could go read against what you have just told me?" (lol, can you imagine the prof's reaction?!) They rarely know the answer to that question, but that is what intellectual honesty requires. Imagine a jury that only heard the prosecution but not the defense. What I found in higher education were professors who knew all the liberal nonsense, but did not even know the names of hundreds of scholars who could defend the biblical view. However, at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis (and other conservative seminaries), my professors knew the best liberal arguments, and were on the cutting edge of showing their intellectual bankruptcy, and the reasons for why the bible is the inerrant Word of God.
Last week we talked about how oppression is an unassuming, but very common, tactic of Satan. It is not as sensational as possession, but is very ruinous. Likewise, in the arena of ideas, Satan is tearing to shreds millions of Christians who have not been equipped. The best way to equip our children to handle the landmines of education is by measured exposure to the world.Then, like the Honey Badger, they will be equipped to seek and destroy arguments and bring every thought captive to Christ.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.