Re-Thinking College Education for a Career

I don’t recommend this post for everyone, but if you are thinking about college for your child it might be for you.

It is not the case that a child growing up today must have a college education in order to economically succeed in life.  This is good news because, for one thing, college educations don’t convey as much knowledge as they previously did.  In fact, I’m often appalled at the lack of education demonstrated by today’s college students and graduates.

Aside from the academics, the college scene itself has become a moral cesspool.  It is harder than ever for a college student to save himself or herself for marriage.  For this reason, even when a college degree is necessary for a certain line of work, distance learning is a more desirable option – and it’s more accessible than ever.  Young people can continue living with their parents while they pursue the degree.  And they can do so year-round, shortening the overall time it takes to complete the degree.

Adding insult to injury, many of today’s college students take on debt to attend the college of their choice.  This is insanity.  No adult starting a career should have to do so with a load of debt on his or her back.  Repeat: No one should go into debt to pay for college.  If you must obtain a degree, seek it in the most cost-effective way possible.  If that means you go to the local community college instead of an Ivy-League school, so be it.

Technology offers many opportunities for education that did not exist in prior generations.  While the moral quotient of society is declining, the options for Christians determined to find a way to economically survive are multiplying.  Here is a mind-stretching podcast about education and career planning from American Conservative University:  Show 1436 – Tom Woods interviews Zachary Slayback: The End of School: Reclaiming Education from the Classroom (lasts 35:44; it’s Episode 623 from The Tom Woods Show).  This is the first I’ve heard of either gentleman, but their ideas support the idea that parents and children have more options today regarding college than they used to have.  There is much more to the subject that what they have to say, and I am not fully endorsing everything they do say, but what they have to say will open your mind to new paths for a young person.

Men: Take heed to your influence!

“When mom follows Jesus, 17% of time her kids do too. When a dad follows Jesus? 93% of time his kids do too.”

Yes, we’ve heard stats like this before, but it’s good to be reminded.

Secular minds smugly think they can re-write the laws of nature

I only skimmed the article linked below, but I did watch the entire video.  Both are typical of the secular drivel that currently passes for wisdom on family structure.

The point of both the article and the video is that children need a primary parent and that each couple can negotiate which parent that should be.  To use their language, couples should “co-parent” with one of them being “lead parent” – and it doesn’t matter which is which as long as the couple agree.  This is the logical equivalent of saying a couple can agree to jump off a cliff and remain in mid-air without falling.

Mothers cannot father; nor can fathers mother.  Conception takes place in a mother – never in a father.  If a couple cannot choose which partner gets pregnant, why do they think they can change other aspects of their respective natures?

The kind of thinking that animates this article and video is the same kind of thinking that says the only difference between men and women is something that can be changed with some hypodermic injections and surgery.  This is absurd.  Yet The Atlantic is the type of periodical that America’s intelligentsia reads and trusts.  And “the morning shows” are the epitome of what secular society considers normal these days.  Our nation has embraced foolishness and called it wisdom.

Nature cannot be wished away.  It can be tamed; it can be made more godly through the power of God.  It cannot, however, be ignored…which is what these “smart” people think they can do.

And why are secular minds so smug in their opinions?  They are not only sure they are right; they are convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a Neanderthal.  If smugness gave off an aroma that could be contained in a video, I would have fainted from the noxious fumes coming out of this one.

God gave us a model for family.  To call it a “stereotype” is simply to taint the idea with a pejorative term without having to make an argument about what’s supposedly wrong with it.  There is no valid argument against God’s design.  It works…when it is respected and Christ is put at its head.

Mothers should mother, and fathers should father.  A child deserves no less.

(an 11-minute read; 2,704 words)

Article: Fathers Who Serve as the Primary Parent – The Atlantic

Video:  Anne Marie Slaughter’s Husband Speaks Out, Says ‘Nobody Can Have It All’ – Good Morning America (5:28)

Where is the best place to apply the cure?

If all the people who are trying to get the nation right through politics were to go home and get their own family right, we’d make a lot more progress toward getting the nation right.

As the health of a tree proceeds from the health of its roots, so the health of a nation proceeds from the health of its families.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
–  Henry David Thoreau
Source:  BrainyQuote.com

Get the family right.  Your family.  And keep it right.  If enough of us do this, the nation will take care of itself.

Conversations with your children about God

I have not read this book, but here’s what I can tell you:

  • I first heard about the author Natasha Crain a few years ago when I read a couple of posts from her blog Christian Mom Thoughts.  I was favorably impressed.  Here are titles of some of her most popular posts:
    • The Number One Sign Your Kids Are Just Borrowing Your Faith (and Not Developing Their Own)
    • Six Scary But Important Words Every Christian Parent Should Say to Their Kids About Faith
    • The Danger of Teaching Kids to Be True to Themselves
    • How I’m Teaching My 6-Year-Olds to Be Critical Thinkers
    • How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith
    • 17 Ways Your Kids Will Encounter Challenges to Their Faith
    • What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Christian Parents
  • I am more familiar with J. Warner Wallace, the man who has written the foreword to the book.  He is a former cold-case detective and atheist who shares – through books and other means – the facts that led him to faith in Christ.  He blogs at Cold Case Christianity.  Jim Wallace is to atheist-turned-Christian homicide detectives what Lee Strobel is to atheist-turned-Christian newspaper reporters.  Both men put out a lot of fact-based Christian resources.  Jim’s recommendation of Natasha’s book speaks well of her.  She 1) has a focus on children, and 2) looks just as productive when it comes to helpful resources, so the three of them are doing a lot of good for the Christian cause and seem to be cut from the same bolt of cloth.
  • Even if you’re not drawn to the book, you can still gain value just by perusing the table of contents (which you can find by clicking on the image above and then clicking on the “Look Inside” feature at the book’s Amazon  page.  Natasha has 40 “conversations” about God, organized under five different subject headings, you could have with your child or children.  Just think of having one such conversation each day for forty days.  Or you could devote a week to each topic and take 40 weeks.  As I say, you don’t have to follow her book or even read it – you could develop your own conversations.  Such a process can not only strengthen your child’s faith, it can strengthen your own faith.

I don’t feel good about recommending books I haven’t read, so this is not a recommendation for you to get the book.  However, I became aware of it (through Jim Wallace), and, having learned about it, I also don’t feel good about not making you aware of it.  So there you are.  I feel better that we were able to just talk about it.

The sexual revolution is rebellion against God and nature as He created it

Google defines the sexual revolution as “the liberalization of established social and moral attitudes toward sex, particularly that occurring in western countries during the 1960s, as the women’s liberation movement and developments in contraception instigated greater experimentation with sex, especially outside of marriage.”

Wikipedia defines the sexual revolution as “The sexual revolution, also known as a time of sexual liberation, was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s to the 1980s.  Sexual liberation included increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage).  The normalization of contraception and the pill, public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed.”

In other words, the sexual revolution is rebellion against our Creator’s plan for marriage and family.  It’s supporters think that this revolution has been successful, but they are looking at things myopically.  Like the drunk who thinks more drinking is solution to his hangover, so baby boomers keep following their lusts in spite of the negative consequences that pursuit of their lusts has brought them.

There are many branches to the tree that is the sexual revolution.  Many of them are named in the definitions above, but an important and fundamental one is not:  divorce.  As for more recent branches that have sprouted we have “SOGI” – that is, sexual orientation and gender identity.  Don’t doubt that there will be yet more branches.  This pernicious tree grows like a cancer and crowds out all legitimate forms of life.

Marriage is the place for marital intimacies.  Period.  This is God’s way.  Fight God’s ways if you wish, but be aware that things will not go well for you.  Rebellion against marriage is like jumping off a tall building in an act of rebellion against nature.  Nature will win.  Rebellion against nature always ends in disaster.  Like all sin, there may be pleasure in the moment, but the negative consequences will eventually come…having greater effect and lasting far longer.

The sexual revolution will ultimately destroy every nation that practices it.  God’s way is marriage.  Honor marriage and you honor God.  Be aware that you are raising your children in a society where only a minority of people believe this.

To get the nation right, get the family right; to get the family right, get marriage right

Families are the building blocks of a nation.  If families are off course, then their nation will be off course.  Likewise, marriage is the foundation of family.  If a marriage is crippled, then the family will be crippled.

Satan, therefore, seeks to destabilize a nation by destabilizing its families.  And he seeks to destabilize families by destabilizing marriages.  The so-called sexual revolution is Satan’s assault on marriage.

Men, if you want to resist the devil (James 4:7), then love your wife in the fear of God.  I did not say to merely love your wife.  I said to love your wife in the fear of God.  That means loving her in your thought life as much as in your words and deeds.  That means rejecting every impure thought, and focusing your devotion solely towards her.

There are many temptations to impure thoughts in our day.  You are not responsible for them, but you are responsible for turning away from them.  If you think a few impure thoughts are not that bad, you do not understand how Satan began the sexual revolution.  Big trees come from little seeds – and if the seed is bad the tree will be bad.

In this season of a presidential election, people are focused on choosing the right president so that the nation can be made right.  Yet the nation will never be right until enough of its families are right.  And its families will not be right until enough of its marriages are right.  And its marriages will not be right until enough men and women submit their thought lives to a righteous God…day by day, hour by hour.

If you think this is hard, then you have not tried it long enough to experience the blessing God bestows on the soul that honors Him in this way.  Yield your thoughts to the Lord Jesus until you recognize the peace and joy He gives to the obedient soul.  Then you will understand that purity of mind is not hard; rather, it leads to contentment.

Recognize also that God expects you to mature in your walk with Him (Luke 12:47-48).  Just as a parent expects more from an eight-year-old than from a two-year-old, so God expects more from you now than He did in the past.  Therefore, if the peace and joy do not flow to you as readily as before, it is because God is expecting more from you now than He was before.  In no case, however, will He expect more from you than you are able to give.  Therefore, do what you know to be right (James 4:17) and the flow of His blessing will be restored to your soul.

Remember: to get the nation right, get families right.  To get families right, get marriage right.  To get marriage right, get individuals right.  To get an individual right, get the individual’s thoughts right.  To get your thoughts right, think them always in the sight of the God who loves you and endured the suffering of crucifixion for you.  Big trees grow from little seeds – and if the seed is good, the tree will be good.

 

Parents are the explanation for the worldview held by today’s young adults

This is a lengthy post – over 3,000 words.  That means it will take you 10-15 minutes to read.  I thought about breaking it up into a series of posts, but each point builds tightly on the previous point – and something would be lost if I were to break it up.  That said, you may want to break up your reading time into segments.  Since you have the whole article before you, you can always back up and refresh your memory at any point.

This is not a post I am writing; rather, it is an article by someone else on which I am commenting.  The original post is based on a revealing social science study of Christian parents and their children – and particularly on what those children believe as they become adults.

We do not need social science in order to know that those things which God teaches us through the Bible are true.  However, the findings of social science can reinforce those truths and open our eyes to how those truths manifest themselves in human experience.  Certainly, the Bible tells parents to teach faith to their children; this research helps explain how that dynamic actually works – and sometimes doesn’t work.

This original article (it was also broadcast on radio and released on podcast) is titled “The Importance of Parents in the Faith of Emerging Adults” by Steve Cable of Probe Ministries (and can be found at www dot probe dot org).  This study makes clear that parents are the greatest influence on their children’s spiritual development, while also revealing why parents seem to be failing at the task these days.  The study focuses on “emerging adults” – that is, children as they become adults and why they have the worldviews they have.  In other words, it doesn’t focus on children as children, but rather on children as they become adults.  That’s what really matters when it comes to raising children: how they turn out as adults.

In order to focus your reading and emphasize key points, I’ve made the print bold in places.  I’ve also eliminated some small portions of the text that seemed extraneous (knowing you have access to the complete text through the link given above).  The essay begins by reporting that being and Christian and going to church are no guarantee that an adult will hold to a Christian worldview.

[D]ramatic changes in the beliefs of American evangelicals particularly among young adults [are taking place]. It certainly appears that we are sliding into an era of cultural captivity where one’s identification with Christ and an evangelical church does not keep one from holding a set of beliefs consistent with the culture and counter to biblical truth. Here we want to consider the role that parents had in establishing these inconsistent belief systems of their children, and think about some ways today’s parents may be able to counter these destructive patterns in the future. Before looking at the roles parents do and should play in establishing these belief systems, let’s consider some of the key belief trends that are driving our concern.

Foremost among our concerns is the dramatic change in the number of young adults who hold to no Christian religious beliefs or espouse a liberal view of Christianity. Looking at data from 1970 to the present, we uncover a disturbing new trend. From 1970 through 1990, the number of 18- to 25-year-old Americans who professed no Christian belief was constant at about twenty percent of the population. In 2000, this non-Christian group had grown to about thirty percent of this young generation, and by 2010 the numbers had exploded to around thirty-six percent. If this trend continues, less than half of young adults will consider themselves Christians by the year 2020.

So, less than four years from now the proportion of young adults who identify as Christians won’t even reach 50%.  However, that’s just the beginning of the bad news.

This concern over the future is heightened by the conflicted beliefs of young born agains. Among young adults, who consider themselves born again believers, only about one-third of them ascribe to a basic set of biblical beliefs. These beliefs include a creator God, a sinless Jesus, salvation through grace, a real Satan, an accurate Bible and the existence of absolute moral truths. This statistic means that over two-thirds of these born agains do not ascribe to one or more of these beliefs. Overall, this means that less than ten percent of young American adults profess to being born again and hold to a set of biblical beliefs as compared to the sixty-eight percent who hold to no Christian beliefs or a liberal view of Christianity.

Therefore, not even one in ten young adults holds to a biblical worldview.  And this is the pool from which your child’s friends – and ultimately his or her mate – must be chosen!

When we delve further into young adult beliefs, we find that their beliefs appear to be a hodgepodge of cultural concepts and what’s going on in their life, with little or no connection to their religious upbringing. Even though emerging adults looked to religion as a place to learn good morals, in his study Christian Smith discovered a chilling paradox. “It was clear . . . that emerging adults felt entirely comfortable describing various religious beliefs that they affirmed but that appeared to have no connection whatsoever to the living of their lives.”  One emerging adult observed, “I don’t think it’s the basis of how I live, it’s just, I guess I’m just learning about my religion and my beliefs. But I still kinda retain my own decision or at least a lot of it on situations I’ve had and experiences.”  In fact, when we look at how many have a consistent biblical worldview that carries over into their views on sexuality, science, a concern for the poor, and basic religious practices, the survey data indicates that less than two percent of evangelical young adults would qualify. So the overwhelming majority of young evangelicals are not carrying their basic religious beliefs into the realm of everyday decision making.

Wow.  Only two young adults in a hundred hold to a Christian worldview that guides their daily lives.  We must therefore understand and take to heart the force of the peer pressure that is coming against our children.  It is overwhelming, and therefore must be met with indefatigable resistance.

The Impact of Parents on Spiritual Beliefs

So, what role did their parents have in establishing these inconsistent beliefs?

In 2010, we commissioned a survey to help us examine the causes and potential opportunities to change the marked shift in the thinking of young adults over the last decade. We surveyed over 800 born again, young adults across America to get an understanding of what they thought about spiritual and cultural issues and how they felt about their beliefs and actions. One area of questioning was, “When you think about how you developed the religious beliefs you hold today, who do you feel had the greatest influence on you? Did your beliefs come from your family, your friends, your church, your independent studies, your college professors, or others?”

The answers we received to this question were not shocking but still sobering. Over sixty-five percent of the respondents reported that the source that had the greatest influence on their religious beliefs was a family member, with the vast majority of those saying it was parents or grandparents. Over twenty percent of the respondents pointed to another influential individual such as a pastor, youth leader, or college professor. Only about eleven percent stated that something less personal such as a youth group or the Bible was the greatest influencer of their religious beliefs.

As Christian Smith noted, “What the best empirical evidence shows . . . is that . . . when it comes to religion, parents are in fact hugely important.”  In fact, “religious commitments, practices, and investments made during childhood and the teenage years, by parents and others in families and religious communities, matter – they make a difference.”

Of those who stated that a family member was the primary influence, over seven out of ten stated it was their mother or grandmother while less than three out of ten said it was their father or grandfather. So clearly amongst born again young adults, the female side of the family has a greater influence in passing down religious beliefs than do the males. One can postulate that this may be due to a combination of greater spiritual involvement on the female side of the family and a higher level of communication with their children. However, the rate of fatherly influence almost doubles for young adults with a biblical worldview compared to those without such a worldview. So it appears that fathers who hold a biblical worldview are much more likely to be involved in establishing the spiritual beliefs of their children.

This next paragraph explains why you can’t “outsource” your parental responsibility for spiritual training to others.

Less than one out of ten of the respondents listed a pastor as the primary source of influence, and only three percent listed a youth group. These church-related functions may have an important role in helping to shape our religious beliefs, but our survey shows that it is at best a secondary role for the vast majority of people. We are misguided if we are relying on the church to pass on the right type of beliefs to our children. Parents, what you communicate through your lives is picked up by your children. What are you communicating to them concerning religious beliefs?

In this next section, the author explains how parents’ unspoken attitudes affect what the children learn.

The Translation of our Beliefs

Since the beliefs of today’s young adults are dramatically different than the dominant beliefs of forty years ago, does this mean that older adults have changed their beliefs as well, or have the beliefs been translated by the younger culture into something different?

An important part of understanding this question is that the survey results on who was the most significant source of our religious beliefs were almost identical regardless of racial background or levels of church attendance. In other areas of consideration such as biblical worldview, views on cultural behavioral issues, and church involvement, we found significant differences based on racial background, education, etc. But it appears clear that no matter our race, economic level, or religious beliefs, our mothers are the primary sources that pass down those beliefs to the next generation. In other words, if born again believers have degraded views on worldview and cultural issues, it appears that their parents are communicating (or at least not contradicting) similar views.

As we look at the hodgepodge of religious and cultural beliefs held in our society, we can see the results of what Christian Smith referred to as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”  The Baby Boomers and their children are captives of our society’s focus on pluralism and tolerance as the only acceptable views. With this view, I can hold to certain religious beliefs that are strictly private in their application. But, when those religious views begin to move into areas which may imply someone else’s belief is wrong, then I need to modify my beliefs to be more accepting. To believe in God as creator and Jesus as his sinless Son is probably okay. But when I say that Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled to God, I am starting to step on other’s toes, making it inherently wrong.

On the one hand, Baby Boomers have bought into the cultural distaste for absolute beliefs which makes them loathe to state their beliefs too strongly. This viewpoint has been interpreted by the younger generation as an indication that those beliefs are not firm but rather culturally determined. So living in a more multi-ethnic, culturally diverse, and sexually liberated generation, these young adults pick and choose among biblical beliefs and distinctly non-biblical beliefs, with no apparent concern for the discontinuity in their belief systems.

In other words, many Christian Baby Boomer parents care more about the approval of other Baby Boomer parents than they do about the approval of God.

The culture is winning the battle on two fronts. First, the older generation is buying into the importance of not being too forthright with their views. Second, the younger generation, given no clear direction from their parents, is buying into a disjointed set of views that avoids any conflict with others. According to Smith’s research, the result is the vast majority of young adult Americans holding to some form of mainline Protestant philosophy. This philosophy states that Jesus is a worthwhile model of good behavior but our focus should be on getting along and not making waves rather than promoting faith in Christ.

What good is holding Christian beliefs if one suppresses them whenever they might conflict with someone else’s beliefs?

Countering Parents with a Truth Experience

Have we, the Baby Boomers, the parents and grandparents of our society, so flummoxed up the works that we have started a downward spiral of disconnected beliefs from which we cannot recover? Of course, time will tell, but if we hold to a consistent set of biblical worldview beliefs, we should not sit back and wait patiently for the end of Christianity as we know it. We are called to “proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man so that we might present every man complete in Christ” (Colossians. 1:28).

Interestingly, of those respondents who graduated from college and have a biblical worldview, a much greater percentage of them pointed to a source other than a family member as the most influential. This factor is probably the result of college students having their faith challenged and looking for answers from pastors, Bibles, and books. In other words, the direct challenge to their faith presented by some professors and many of their peers caused some to fall away but caused others to examine the reasons for their belief in Christ. We do not need to fear this examination. Our Lord’s case is more than capable of standing up to examination. In fact, it is the only religion that has a consistent, viable explanation for the complexities and shortcomings of life as we know it.

Is it too late to make a difference in the lives of our young adults? When Viggo Olsen was in his mid-twenties, beginning his residency to become a doctor, his wife’s parents had a change in their belief system, becoming followers of Jesus Christ. Viggo wanted to restore his wife’s parents to sanity so he began an intense study to show the obvious failure of Christianity to address the real world. What he discovered was that a biblical worldview was the only viable answer to understanding our lives and our future. He went from a mission to disprove Christianity to accepting Jesus not only as his Savior but as his purpose in life as a medical missionary to Bangladesh.

In a similar way, we need to encourage, or better yet force our younger church-goers to examine their beliefs and compare them with the teachings of Christ. Ask them not to live an unexamined life conforming to the culture, but rather to examine their beliefs and see if they stand up to close examination.

Either we subordinate culture to our Christianity or else our Christianity will be subordinated to culture.  If the parents only give lip service to their faith while they conform to the culture, then their children are likely to do the same.

Consistent Worldview Parents are Best

Unfortunately, many parents have not been passing on a clear view of faith in Christ from generation to generation. Instead our belief system, even among those who believe they are going to heaven when they die because of their faith in Jesus, has been eroding into a mishmash of popular cultural beliefs mixed in with some variation of beliefs taught in the Bible.

Confronting young adults with the disconnects and shortcomings created by their mixture of beliefs as compared to a consistent Christian worldview can get their attention and bring about changes in their thinking…Listen up, young adults! If you do not communicate a clear set of biblical worldview beliefs through your words and through your actions, your children are going to pick up on the worldview you do communicate. Your desire to fit in with the culture and not make too many waves will result in children who believe that the culture is the ultimate authority on truth and right living. Why? Because that is what your life is saying to them loud and clear.

Suzie strongly believed that sex outside of marriage was wrong before God. It had a detrimental effect on the individuals caught up in it and on the society which promoted it. However, she felt that many of her friends did not view it in the same way she did. So, to get along, she never said much about it. What she did not realize was that her children were watching what she said. Even though she had told them she hoped they would remain pure until marriage, they did not hear her standing up for sexual purity among her friends. Without even thinking about it, her children relegated sexual purity to a nice ideal but not an important belief to live by. Suzie was instrumental in establishing their thinking on this topic. Their thinking lined up with what Suzie demonstrated was important to her even though it did not really line up with what she truly believed.

The next paragraph encapsulates the key finding of the entire study:

As parents, our beliefs have the greatest impact on our children’s views. Things that you may not agree with but grit your teeth and say nothing about will become core beliefs of your children. The society is saying they are true; they don’t see a consistent disagreement from your words or your life. Thus, it must be the right value to hold. This process of gradually turning over our core beliefs to be reset by the culture is at least partially the reason for the tremendous shift in our cultural morality over the last sixty years.

The village will raise your child if you let it.  However, the village will not raise the children to trust in your God; rather, the village will raise the child to trust in the village.  There are millions of young American adults today who are trusting in the village to which the parents capitulated.

Relativism and secularism dominate American culture today; yet God will be with those parents who resist it.

As parents, we can make a difference in future generations. We need to hold fast to the truths of Jesus Christ, speak them with our tongues, and live them through our actions. Our children are still looking to us for truth in this area. Let us commit to not let them down by deferring to the norms of the culture.

To state the obvious, society is changing – not for the better, but for the worse.  The reason it is changing for the worse is because Christian parents are not teaching the Christian faith to their children.  And parents are not teaching the faith because they are not practicing it.  If we want to the precipitous decline in societal morals to stop and be reversed, we must stir up parents to 1) live the Christian faith they profess…and to 2) teach it to their children.