Your teenage and pre-teen children might think the marriage debate ended when the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal last summer. You might think so, too. It didn’t. The legal debate continues, just as Roe v. Wade has done. More importantly by far, though, the moral debate rages on. And for most teens, favoring the LGBT side looks like the moral thing to do. Homosexuality, transgenderism, and same-sex marriage has won, as far as they know. Christianity and conservative morality have lost. The Christian view is “intolerant,” “homophobic,” “hateful,” “against equality,” “on the wrong side of history,” and the list goes on.
How Christianity Seems To Have Lost
Right away I need to stress, “as far as they know.” They don’t know enough. What they do know is that the LGBT message dominates almost everything they see and hear. You already know it, though you might not realize how overwhelmingly powerful it is. It’s in popular music, it’s all over television and film, it’s in social media, and it’s even common in public education. If your kids are home-schooled or attend a Christian school they’re still hearing it.
“If that’s what the Bible says, then I don’t like the Bible.”
But they don’t know enough. They don’t know that there’s a great Christian answer to all the pro-gay messaging they’re deluged with. Some kids have heard that the Bible disagrees with homosexuality and gay marriage. That’s good — if the teen or pre-teen gets the rest of the message. If it’s just, “The Bible says so,” they’re likely to think, Well, then I don’t think much of the Bible. It’s intolerant, too, and it’s homophobic, hateful, and a full 2,000 years on the wrong side of history!
And if no one tells them reasons that isn’t so, it’s hard to blame them for thinking that. It’s wrong, but (from where they’re coming from) it’s not irrationally wrong. They’re drawing their conclusions from the information they’ve got on hand to work with.
Kids Need To Know Both What’s True and Why It’s Good
Kids need more than a truth explanation. They need a moral explanation to go with it; and it isn’t just, “Morality is what the Bible says it is.” It’s, “Here’s what the Bible says about morality, and here’s why you can be confident that what the Bible says about it is really good!”
They need to know that marriage is good the way God designed it, and there are reasons it’s good that way. Sexual morality is good the way God designed it, for a married man and woman; and there are reasons it’s good that way. Introducing sexuality into same-sex friendships is hard on same-sex friendships. Kids raised in same-sex households aren’t getting the proven benefit of having both a mom and a dad.
I could go on, and in fact that’s a large part of why I wrote Critical Conversations: to help kids discover the rest of the story: the Bible isn’t just true, it’s good.
The Tragic Result of Getting Just Part of the Story
Before I close I want to ask you to think about what’s likely to happen with young people in Christian families who never get the rest of the story. They know what the Bible says. They know what their churches teach. And they think, If Christianity is as intolerant and hateful as it looks to me right now, why would I even think about following it? And they walk away — just as statistics show they are doing.
That’s the danger we face if we don’t explain the whole truth. We might be pushing our kids away more than we’re drawing them in.
The Marriage Debate Still Matters
Kids who grow up with solid convictions — who know why they believe what they believe, and why it’s good to believe it — tend to stay in the faith for a lifetime. Kids who are left to grope for the goodness of Christianity often leave.