I will never forget the first time I read through C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity. I was just being introduced to apologetics, and I found Lewis’ straightforward defense of the Christian faith profound. If you haven’t ever read this book, I would HIGHLY recommend it. In the first chapter of that book, Lewis argues that ALL people believe there is absolute truth. This may seem stark, because as Chapter 8 in Mama Bear Apologetics says, postmodernism not only rejects the idea of absolute truth, but of ANY truth. Many people (and most influencers) today believe that truth cannot be known, but that it is up to the individual to determine for themselves. Taken to its logical conclusion, postmodernism reduces discussions of which religion is right, or about the truth of Scripture, to be about as meaningful as arguing over which pizza toppings are best. Truth becomes opinion, and the rules forbid insisting that your belief is objectively right.
All that said, our role as Christian parents is to help our children understand the Truth of Scripture and why that is important to them. This is a challenge, because our kids are conditioned by our society to see our Truth as opinion. Most of us parents can probably at least remember when absolute truth was still considered a thing. But our kids have been raised in an entirely postmodern age. That’s what Chapter 8 of Mama Bear Apologetics covers- Postmodernism. If you haven’t read this chapter yet, I highly encourage it!
In the chapter, the authors give a brief history of how postmodernism came to be. This portion is fascinating, but rather than retell it all, to quote “Spaceballs”, I’ll give you the “short short version.” The Modern Age taught that science, rather than superstition, would provide all the answers to how the universe worked. But Modernists also believed that as science progressed, eventually the true meaning of life would be discovered through science, and that all people everywhere would rally around this truth. (I’ll give you one guess as to whether this worked.) When it became clear that Moral Truth couldn’t be revealed through the Scientific Method, the philosophers said, “Fine! There is no truth!” And voila, Postmodernism. Because they couldn’t disprove God in their pursuit of the truth, they decided to call off the search.
The problem is, as C.S. Lewis argued in Mere Christianity, is that everyone believes in absolute truth, even the postmodernists. This was the realization that I found so profound as a sophomore in college. This is what Lewis said regarding people’s complaining about the behavior of others:
“Now what interests me about all these remarks is tha the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about.” In other words, we inherently know that there is a right and a wrong. We differ slightly on where the lines are drawn (which is one benefit to knowing Scripture), but each of us has an idea of what Lewis calls the “Natural Law”, a standard of morality we know exists, but often don’t live by. Not only do we know this Natural Law exists, our kids do as well!
Need proof? How much of our time is spent refereeing arguments between our kids? “It’s my turn to play X-box, you’ve been playing for an hour!” “He promised to jump on the trampoline with me, but now he says he won’t!” “She’s picking on me!” “Nuh-uh, he started it!” (Maybe it’s just our household.)
Why do our kids complain about the behavior of others? It isn’t just because we have tried to teach them right and wrong. They inherently know about concepts like honesty, fairness, and friendship. Through parenting and Scripture we correct and shape their understanding, but the basic element is there. Scripture backs this up. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen…”
How can this knowledge help us protect our kids from postmodernism? If we can make them aware of their innate sense of fairness and justice, we can help them see that the idea of “no objective truth” is pretty silly. We can help them see that God has designed them to desire justice, truth, fairness, and love. The question is not whether Truth exists, but how do we discover what is really true? That is where God’s Word comes in.
Have a blessed week,
Pastor Jeff Estep