How to Talk to Kids About Religion

How to Talk to Kids About Religion.  That’s the title of an article I just read on MSN Lifestyle.  It would have been better titled How NOT to Talk to Kids About Religion.  There were some links related to Trumps immigration policies.  The only other link is to Board of the Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear.  Seriously.  This is about how to Talk to Kids About Religion?  And you’re references are about Trump immigration policies and a Humanist Association?  Just to be sure, here’s what their web site says about this association:  they are a diverse group of Humanists, Freethinkers, Atheists, Agnostics, Rationalists, Skeptics, and others who question organized religion.  This is who parents are supposed to check out to learn to talk to kids about religion?

How to Talk to Kids About ReligionThe MSN article goes on to quote the president of the association:

“It’s really important to understand religions and to have an academic background that includes an understanding of the world’s religions,” Rose told SheKnows. “Think about how influential religion is in every aspect of our lives: in literature, in politics. If you don’t understand, you’re not part of the greater conversation. … If we don’t want to ‘other’ people who are not like us, we have to have some understanding of what there is in the world. And not understanding makes you fearful and judgmental … We should promote freedom of choice for everybody and understanding and conversation is important.”

Obviously, there’s a grammar error in that quote – I’d guess because of the … stuff left out.  However, there’s enough still there to see that this person doesn’t really know about Christianity.  Or about God.  Not to mention – what’s really important.  True Christianity never claims to make us perfect.  Not in this lifetime. 

Christianity is – or should be – about the way we try to live this life, but ultimately what happens in the next life.  We’ll see that this article and the humanist association have nothing to offer in terms of the next life.  And really – that’s what most important.  When talking to their kids, parents really should take into account the most important things – not ignore them or pretend they don’t exist.

The attitude of the  MSN article’s author is summed up in the final paragraph:

Finally, it’s more than OK to admit that you don’t have all of the answers. Rely on religious and scientific resources whenever needed, and most important, have fun.

How to Talk to Kids About Religion

To start with, let’s deal with the “organized religion” part of this.  I’m guessing that in many cases, as soon as someone says organized religion, it means they’ve had a problem with what they think some religion is about.  I’ll speak only to Christianity here.  Organized religion is really about a local church, a parish, a denomination, Etc.  When people talk about organized religion – chances are it has little or nothing to do with what Christianity is really about.

How can I say that?  Ever since the very beginnings of the Christian church, right after Jesus’ death, people were teaching the wrong things.

Here’s something the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church in Corinth:

Divisions in the Church

1Co 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas’”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Here was Paul – approximately 25 years after Jesus’ crucifixion – having to write a letter like this to a church he had founded only a few years earlier.  And they were already messed up.  There was disunity of mind and thought.  Different people were teaching different things, so groups of people in that church were going along with what was said by various teachers.  One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas’”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Notice – Paul even starts off with “I follow Paul”.  Not to agree with it – but to say that it’s the wrong thing to do.  The same is true today.  We shouldn’t be following any pastor, priest, bishop, pope, Etc. any more than we should follow some TV evangelist who’s obviously trying to do nothing more than get people to donate money to them.  BTW – I’m not saying all of them are bad – but some are.  I’m also saying that no one – repeat no one – teaches 100% correctly.  That includes me.  We can’t.  We’re only people.  Some of us try very hard to get it right.  Others don’t seem to hardly try at all.  But that doesn’t mean Christianity is bad.  Or wrong.  Or worthless.  It means people need to read the Bible to ensure that what’s being taught is correct.  A bit later in the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote this:

Paul and the False Apostles

2Co 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

Paul starts off with a bit of self-deprecation.  But then he immediately gets very serious.  He says that those who teach the wrong things about Jesus are from the devil.  That’s a really important thing to remember.  For anyone whose view of Christianity comes from someone involved in false teaching – they are actually making their decision about Christianity based on the words of the devil.  Yes, I wrote that.  And yes, I mean that. 

Like it or not, there is a spiritual war going on.  Those who base their decisions on a false teaching are making one huge mistake.  Consider when you talk to your kids.  Do you want them to learn the wrong things?  Do you want them to be on the wrong side of that battle?  If you think this isn’t real, please check out If you don’t believe in the devil, then … .  It’s part of a series on evil in this world.  

2Co 11:7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

This is about how Paul supported himself while he was teaching the gospel.  He took nothing from the church in Corinth.  When he says he “robbed” other churches, he’s actually saying he did receive some support from other churches he traveled to – but again, not from the one in Corinth.  But the bulk of his income was from tent-making.  Yes – making tents.  Not asking for tons of money from the people of the church.  Certainly not enough to travel in luxury, as one preacher has done today – asking for enough donations to buy a new airplane.

2Co 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

As Paul wrote: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  These days, it’s probably more realistic to say that Christ didn’t send Christians to only baptize and say “you’re saved”.  Jesus also didn’t send Christians out with a whole bunch of rules to limit us.  He also didn’t send Christians out to make tons of money and do little beyond ask for donations.  

The Great Commission

Here’s what Jesus did tell His followers to do: 

Mt 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus teaches

And why did He do this?  Why did Jesus come to earth and die on the cross?  For you.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Two things here.  One – eternal life.  What does the humanist have to say about eternal life?  There is no such thing.  We live.  We die.  It’s over.  Two – regardless of what many will say – Jesus came to save us, not to condemn us.

There is more to this passage.  Some is for those who choose to believe.  Some is for those who refuse to believe – such as the humanists.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

It’s not Jesus that condemns us.  We condemn ourselves when we refuse to believe.  We condemn ourselves when we listen to someone like the humanists, the atheists, Etc. who tell us there’s no God and this is all there is.  We don’t get eternal life with God – because we refuse to believe He exists.  Ultimately, we lose eternity in Heaven because we don’t want it.  That’s what we don’t get when we believe this is all there is.

Life to the full

Here’s the thing.  Remember that last part of the article?  most important, have fun.  It’s sad.  We think that refusing to believe in Jesus gets us more fun.  We’ll have a more fulfilling, exciting, and better life without Jesus.  But look at this:

Jn 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It’s the thief who tell us there’s nothing after this.  It’s the thief who tell us that life is better without Jesus.  It’s the thief that kills and destroys both life on this earth and eternity in Heaven.

I can tell you of my own experience.  I spent more than 30 years working in the IT field at a large university.  My last position there I was responsible for a budget of millions of dollars for  computers, networks, security, and staff.  I was good at it.  Very good. 

But what I’m doing now is so much better.  It’s more valuable.  It gives me more of a sense of worth.  Not because of me.  But because the creator of literally everything is using me to further His gospel.  I’m no Paul – but I take to heart what Paul wrote:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Conclusion – How to Talk to Kids About Religion

When you talk to your kids about religion – talk about the truth of God’s Word.  Not about organized religion and all the things people have done to it.  Not about religions that promise nothing of the future.  Not of a religion that says you’ll be weighed and judged for whether or not your life was more good than bad.  Christianity doesn’t do that.  Witness the other men on the cross with Jesus.  One believed.  One didn’t.

Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”

Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

If you’re going to talk to your kids about religion – talk to them about Christianity.  The way Jesus said it should be – not what people have sometimes turned it into.  And certainly not what non-Christians are trying to turn it into.

For a look at non-Christians and their thinking of going to Heaven, please see The problem of “a better place”.

Hope to see you and your kids in Heaven.

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