Help Your Teen Develop a Biblical Worldview
What can you do to help your teen develop a biblical worldview? Here are three tips to get you started.
Have you noticed that you aren't the only one talking to your teen? I don't mean your teen's friends or teachers, as influential as those conversations are. No, I am talking about the people whose faces you will never see, the ones behind the thousands of advertising messages that bombard our young people every day.
I am thinking of the filmmakers, TV producers and thousands of special interest groups who know (sometimes better than Mom and Dad) that our teenagers are the future. They are working from this pragmatic belief: "Teach the teenagers how to think and you own the future."
Thankfully, many parents are wary about the messages their sons and daughters are getting, even while realizing it's virtually impossible to filter these messages from a teen's experience. However, that might not be all bad. If the sheer persistence of these messages forces us as parents to teach our teenagers how to think about life and learn to filter messages for themselves, then we have given our young people the ability to think critically. And, hopefully, our teens also will be trained to defend their faith in a world increasingly hostile to family values and Christian faith.
There are not two realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Just five years ago we might not have been having a conversation about society's messages. Sure, we knew that the media influence wasn't necessarily good for our teens, but few of us knew just how bad it was for them. There is one term that helps us understand the profound impact today's culture has on our kids: worldview.
This term was popularized by The Barna Group's recent research, which shockingly reported that only 9 percent of born-again Christians have a biblical worldview.
There's a buzz around the term worldview. This is good news for parents because when we look at media issues (and the myriad of other issues facing our teens) from a worldview, we are addressing root causes of belief and behavior. Let's start by looking at some foundational definitions for worldview.
- Have a solid definition of worldview and biblical worldview. To begin, we must define worldview. Focus on the Family's The Truth Project uses the following working definition: "A worldview is a comprehensive set of truth claims that purport to paint a true picture of reality. A comprehensive biblical worldview is one that includes and fundamentally understands God's truth claimed over every area of life. Our personal worldview is the total set of truth claims that we have bought, consciously or subconsciously, which drive our emotions and what we think and do in unguarded moments — reflecting what we believe to be really real. — Del Tackett
- Know what is the core distinction: truth vs. lie. Answer the question, "What is really real?" The first step in engaging your teen around the topic of worldview is to ask him the provocative question, "What is really real?"I recently asked one teen this question. After his initial look of "What kind of question is that?" he realized that I wanted a sincere answer. His second look was more contemplative. At that point, I knew I had hooked him. His first answer: "I think what's really real is what I can touch, put my hand on. I can see it, feel it, know it is real."Now it was my turn to say, "Hmm. Is that so?" And with that we were off on an odyssey of discussing what a worldview is and what undergirds how we think about the most important questions of life, meaning and existence. By the way, as you might have noticed from this teen's response, it was a typical naturalist worldview. If it can't be proven by science, then it cannot be considered definitively "real." I followed his comment with: "Is justice real? How do I prove that?" This is why God's Word is the source of all primary truth. Because it speaks to all the questions about who God is, who man is, what is right and other core questions of human existence, the Bible must always be the defining reference point for all primary truth.
- Focus on the nature of God: the ultimate truth experience. Because truth is a person, Jesus Christ, the most important component of a Christian worldview is knowing God. For this reason, we say that all truth is rooted in the nature of God. In fact, thinking like a Christian produces the most important action of all: loving God. When we think right, we do right.For this reason (all primary truth comes from the nature of God), we see everything in life as sacred. There are no dichotomies between religious truth and other truths. It all belongs to God, and God's truth bears on all of life. All of life.