Skip to comments.It's the Parenting, Stupid
Posted on 03/05/2005 12:42:01 PM PST by Scenic Sounds
A new Barna survey is shedding some light on why some Christian children are losing their faith in modern-day America it's the parenting, stupid.
Conducted by the California-based research organization in November, the poll asked over 1,000 American adults (comprised of 707 parents, including 366 self-identified born-again Christians) various questions relating to parenting and how best to raise the next generation. Tragically, the survey highlighted one disturbing fact: When it comes to parenting, there is little difference between Christians and unbelievers.
George Barna, who spearheaded the research project, didn't mince words in his rundown of the poll's results: "You might expect that parents who are born-again Christians would take a different approach to raising their children than did parents who have not committed their life to Christ but that was rarely the case."
Barna's findings paint a bleak picture. Only one out of every five parents identified instilling a set of religious beliefs as an important part of raising children. Almost double the percentage of parents ranked a good education as a more desired goal for their children than having a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. When asked what makes a parent successful, only 4 percent identified prayer as an integral part of parenting and a scant 1 percent pointed to good character.
Even exclusively among Christians, the numbers were startling. "Only three out of 10 born-again parents included the salvation of their child in the list of critical parental emphases," Barna said.
Should that fact surprise us, seeing how enmeshed the Christian family has become with secularized culture? Examine most Christian households and you will find little difference between them and families composed of unbelievers. Fathers and mothers are still absent from the home from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening; children are still plopped in day-care facilities until they are old enough to be shipped off to public school; teenagers are still expected to learn more from their peers than their parents; and the media are still greater implanters of values than the Bible.
No wonder the voice of the Christian church in America has lost its fervor.
Scripture continually warns believers to avoid conformity to secular ways. In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul encouraged the brethren to resist the pattern of the world and allow their minds to be renewed by the power of God. In 1 Peter 2:9, followers of Jesus Christ are called "sojourners and pilgrims" in the world and are encouraged to "abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation."
The American family is a fractured institution. The godless ideology espoused by post-modernists has served to shackle mankind to the evil of this world. Many are searching for answers beyond the emptiness humanism and atheism grant. In such an atmosphere, Christians have the unparalleled opportunity to display the transforming power that a relationship with God can have on the family. But it takes guts and firm commitment to raise children differently from the rest of the world. Although the blame for a child's unbelief cannot be laid at the foot of every parent, fathers and mothers do possess the greatest human influence in shaping their child's worldview.
Benjamin Franklin defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Today, Christian parents are exposing their children to the same influences as the rest of society the same distorted public education system, the same lurid popular culture, the same false morality, the same humanistic philosophies and yet they are expecting different results. Why should we be surprised when Christian youth recklessly abandon their faith in high school and college? Parents have immersed them more in the values of popular culture than in the values of Christianity.
After all, what do parents gain if they win a thousand souls to Christ but neglect to commit the time and energy necessary to evangelize their own children?
Bribing children into coming to church one Sunday out of each month is not enough. Depending on the church to take the place of parental spiritual teaching is not enough. Expecting a public school to teach your children anything other than relativistic humanism is not enough. Sticking them in a church youth group or shipping them off to a Christian private school is not enough. Even regulating their media intake is not enough. Why? Because God does not promise salvation or change through grudging obedience but through a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ.
That's the greatest gift parents can give to their child. In our post-modern age of fractured families and disintegrating familial relationships, it's not just the best hope for real change it's the only hope.
s a 19-year-old Christian homeschool graduate who has written for World Newspaper Publishing and is a regular columnist at AmericanDaily.com, IntellectualConservative.com and RenewAmerica.us. While attending college, he interns at a pro-family public-policy organization. Bass currently is working on his first novel.
David Bass is a 19-year-old Christian homeschool graduate who has written for World Newspaper Publishing and is a regular columnist at AmericanDaily.com, IntellectualConservative.com and RenewAmerica.us. While attending college, he interns at a pro-family public-policy organization. Bass currently is working on his first novel.
You do not have to be religious to be a good person.
My family didn't instill a large sense of spirituality in me when I was young. We went to church and prayed a lot, but we did not have very much parent-to-child religious talk. This did not drive me from Christianity, but drew me closer. Instead of being saturated by the commercialization of religion such as modern religious videos or music, I was taught by the preacher's sermons and the bible. Granted, in late high school I went through a phase of questioning how God interacted with science, but I think this just solidified my faith when I realized religion can't be explained by the laws of science. Parents do their children a disservice to force every aspect of their life to be immersed in religion, they should instill basic religious education and morality and let the kids know that God is what the household believes and lives for, but parents should let the kids find out on their own what it means to be a Christian and it will be more important to them.
Well, that's easy to say, but do you know of any Biblical support for that? ;-)
I fully agree and I believe that every good person goes to heaven regardless of their closeness with God.
1000 surveyed - out of how many million people?
California-based research organization - were the 1000 surveyed also from California?
"You do not have to be religious to be a good person."
Good? According to whom? (Your mother doesn't count)
What this reminds me of is the Army in World War II.
After they put just about every man in the Army, they discovered tha half the Army was below average in intelligence.
Once you get big enough, it's hard to maintain any kind of standards.
Both of your statements are unbiblical. But they are consistent with the philosophy of most Americans today.
The fifth paragraph is beyond disheartening.
Unfortunately, the Bible disagrees with you. You can't get there based on merit or simply being a "good person". There's only one way, and that's through Jesus Christ.
Point is, what's a "good person", and by whose standards are you judging their "goodness"? If you say "God's standards", then you have to accept what He says sin is, and what the criteria are for eternal life with Him. If you say "man's standards", then, well, none of us have a chance because we all can make the argument that we live "good" lives. To man, "good" is a relative term.
I'm not surprised by the research in this article. It just goes to show that the born-again parents probably aren't true converts in the first place. Any honest, truly regenerated person would first see to their own family before preaching to the rest of society. A true convert knows that they are seperate from society, and would raise their kids accordingly. A true convert would know what God's position is on child-rearing and would obey without a second thought.
This research shows the dangers in man-centered, "name it and claim it", emotionally-driven 'conversion experiences' as opposed to honest, humble, sincere callings.
I tend to agree with you. God will find each person and draw them to him. Forced religion will do more damage to a child IMO.
I was married to a very 'religious' man who pushed me away from God for many years with the constant assaults and condemnations and expectations that I just could not live up to.
I live in this world warts and all.
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." ~ Deuteronomy 6:6&7
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." ~ Ephesians 6:4
As Christians we're SUPPOSED to talk about it and impress it upon our families. Faith is not for spectators. God will hold us all accountable if we know His commands but don't tell others about them.
"Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fearhating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." ~ Jude 22&23
Um, wait a sec, if half of the Army was below average, and everyone was in the Army, then wouldn't the other half be above average? :P
Oh, you meant Gods definition...
...One that doesn't have a flexible acceptable level of evil.
Indeed - liberalism destroys everything - even religion.
And these are Christian parents??? That is just so sad.......... :-(
When asked what makes a parent successful, only 4 percent identified prayer as an integral part of parenting and a scant 1 percent pointed to good character.
Good grief. As if this article couldn't get more depressing..........
Thank you. To limit a discussion of parenting issues on Free Republic to some perceived lack of Christianity only drives good people who don't happen to be born-again Christians from conservatism and the Republican party. We need to welcome all good people who care about their children's character into this discussion.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." James 2:10
God does not grade on a curve. One sin will do you in. Your only hope of salvation is a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
You're missing the point.
To the saved Christian, to those who have truly been called into His service, there is no such thing as a "good person". A regenerated person will know, with 100% certainty that they are not "good". We know and understand that we are wretched, depraved, sinners, and can't do anything "good" to gain favor with the Lord.
This is where the difference lies with repentant and unrepentant sinners. Liberal religions will have you believe that people are inherently 'good' and that we just need the right environments in which to flourish. The Bible teaches us just the opposite. We're born into sin, and up until the point of reconcilliation and regeneration we are at a natural enmity with God whether we choose to admit it or not. The saved knows this, hence our dedication to His commands, His instruction, His word, and His precepts.
"A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is goodexcept God alone." ~ Luke 18:18&19
Check out Romans 9:9-20 for more information...
Why do you believe that? Because it makes you feel good?
I believe that every good person goes to heaven regardless of their closeness with God.
Why do you believe that? Because it makes you feel good?
I would believe in it for a couple reasons:
1. I dont like to think that over half the world ends up in Hell, mostly because they were born in the wrong spot on the planet.
2. I would rather be in Heaven with a bunch of good people, whatever they believed in, than in Heaven with a whole crowd of @R$EH@L35 or criminals just because they were 'born again'.
I did say that parents need to talk to their kids about God and the Bible, I just don't think one needs to listen to DC Talk or watch Veggietales in order to properly raise their children. An overbearing parent can do detriment to a child's development. I don't care what denomination someone is, EVERY individual has different views and beliefs. Kids need to have room to think about what God wants them to get from the Bible without someone standing over their shoulder 24-7 telling them how things are. Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will never go hungry again. Have you ever seen "Carrie?"
So in other words, yes. By the way, your second point is a false dichotomy -- there are other possibilities.
Religeon teaches us that God has ear hair.
Religeon has nothing to do with God.
I think if someone asked me that question, I wouldn't think to answer prayer.
Prayer is just such an integral part of our lives that I take it for granted.
Now, that doesn't mean that I pray enough. It's kind of like food. Feeding children is an integral part of parenting, but I wouldn't list that as one of the important aspects of parenting.
I understand what you're trying to say. It's really tempting to think that all "good" people will go to heaven.
But understand that as Christians, we have no choice except to say that other religions are wanting. Our Lord said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6. Peter repeats this in Acts 4:12 when he says "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Knowing this, we would be liars if we told people that any other way would get them to heaven. Worse, we would be condemning them to hell forever if we allowed them to go on their way, thinking that whatever path they chose to travel would take them to heaven.
So, if we come off as being intolerant, it's because the founder of our faith tells us there is no other way.
Well stated, TwoWolves. Where one will spend eternity is determined by what the Bible says and not what we try to reason through our human minds. I'm not a gambling person. I'm going to go with the Word of God. It's the truth.
I understand that, and I understand that most are trying to do the right thing according to their beliefs. But you have to understand that some people do not believe there is a heaven. And that does not make them bad people. From your point of view those people are condemned, but please just be tolerant of others beliefs. You can be sad for them if your belief is that they will never know Jesus, but each person makes their own choice.
If ALL religions taught tolerance of others views, we would never have had to wage the war on terror.
Please see post 34.
I respond because this is a POLITICAL discussion board, not a narrowly Christian board (and by the way, I am Presbyterian, as though that should matter). Like it or not, whatever you post reflects on all conservatives and Republicans. People come here exploring the political views and checking to see where they fit in. As long as there are statements on Free Republic that dismiss entire groups as a result of their chosen religion, I will feel compelled to respond, if only to show potential new conservatives browsing on the forum that not all conservatives feel or behave that way.
Yes, the Lord has given us free choice, and I am very sad when someone chooses to ignore the most important decision he can possibly make in this lifetime. I say this out of love and compassion for you, not out of intolerance; but frankly, we are talking about matters of life and death, and for that reason, it hardly seems appropriate to be concerned about tolerance.
You don't get the fact that there aren't any gray areas when it comes to Christianity. It's all or nothing - you're either 100% for God, or 100% against Him. You can see that as domineering, or overbearing to have that impressed upon a child, but its the stone-cold truth.
>>Kids need to have room to think about what God wants them to get from the Bible without someone standing over their shoulder 24-7 telling them how things are.<<
What you're talking about is akin to setting a rudderless boat out to sea in the midst of a storm. The Bible is very clear about the proper way to raise children. Society for the last several decades has embraced every child-rearing tactic that goes completely against Holy Scripture. What does that tell you about where their allegiance lies?
"This is but one thread on the board, which you were not forced to participate if you did not agree."
So if I do not agree, I am not welcome to participate? I should just leave?
You have just made my point for me. The thread is mean-spirited and narrow-minded in its assumptions...that only a certain type of Christian is capable of being a good parent. And it is precisely this message--agree with me or get lost--that will drive people from conservatism, if voices like yours are permitted to define it. It is something to think about.
First, religious relates to repetitive practice and adherence to a certain philosophy or action.
Second, nowhere in the Bible does it say you must attend Church on Sunday.
Better read the New Testament again.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Basically the books of John, Revelations, and others will say that without the relationship your after-life hopes are for naught. Good deeds alone do not secure a place in heaven.
Your parenting is not supposed to produce Christian children. That is not your intent, and you do not believe that you have a sacred commission from God, on which your eternal salvation may well depend, to do so.
Christians believe all of those things, or at least they're supposed to. If there is no difference between Christian parenting and your own, that is indeed tragic from a Christian perspective, because it means that Christian parents are failing in their most important mission, that of passing on the faith to their children.
Why is that observation offensive to you?
A good person based upon what? Without religion there is no standard for what is good and what is not. Is it OK to steal from the rich and give to the poor? Is it OK to have premiscuous sex with everyone you come into contact with? Without religion, what is good is undefined.
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