7 Things Christian Parents Can Learn From the Tim Lambesis Story

7 Things Christian Parents Can Learn From the Tim Lambesis Story

A pretty shocking story has been making the rounds lately: Tim Lambesis, lead singer of Christian metal band As I Lay Dying, was convicted of attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife and recently confessed he had become an atheist. He and other band members had continued to claim they were Christians so they could keep selling albums to Christian fans.

Lambesis recently did a fascinating tell-all interview with Alternative Press magazine, in which he described (amongst many other things) his journey from Christianity to atheism. He grew up in a Christian family, went to a Christian high school, attended a Christian college, sang in a Christian band, married a Christian woman and later adopted three children from Ethiopia. It wasn’t for lack of exposure to Christian ideas that he lost his faith.

The eye-opening details he offered about his experience can teach Christian parents a lot. Here are seven important take-aways from the interview.

[Note that Lambesis is reportedly rethinking his atheism, so in some of these quotes you'll see him reflecting critically on his deconversion.]

 

1. Kids need to understand the secular nature of the academic world before they get to college.

 

Lambesis: “I was a philosophy major in college. I thought it was something I’d enjoy that would help me grasp what people are thinking in order for me to help people better understand Christianity. I thought I would learn how to defend the faith. I was naïve.”

Freshman philosophy professors are notorious for starting the semester by announcing that there is no God. Lambesis went to a Christian college, so presumably the views would not be so skewed toward atheism, but clearly he wasn’t prepared for what he encountered even in that context. Academia is overwhelmingly hostile to Christianity and teenagers headed to college need to be prepared for where and how they’ll encounter that hostility before they get there. Sending kids to a Christian college is not a substitute for that preparation.

 

2. Kids need solid critical thinking skills to evaluate worldviews.

 

Lambesis: “I ended up touring, so I finished it up through a distance study program. I switched from philosophy to religious studies, as they wouldn’t let me do philosophy via distance learning. I’d get three pages of the traditional evangelical conservative point of view, then three paragraphs or sometimes even just three sentences from the atheist perspective. But even in just a few sentences, I’d think, “This point of view makes more sense,” even when it wasn’t being well represented. In the process of trying to defend my faith, I started thinking the other point of view was the stronger one.”

All of our children will eventually see Christianity side-by-side with other worldviews (if they haven’t already). Some, like Lambesis, will see these worldviews formally compared in an academic setting. Others will see the comparison play out over time in their day-to-day exposures to the secular world. But regardless of when and how the comparisons come, our kids will use some kind of evaluation criteria (consciously or not) to determine what is true. What criteria they use will make all the difference in the world for their spiritual outcome. In this case, Lambesis concluded the atheist point of view made more sense based on his (unstated) criteria at the time.

It is our responsibility as parents to not simply teach our kids about Christian belief, but to teach our kids the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate Christian belief in the context of other worldviews.

 

3. Kids need to have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between what we desire to be true and what is objectively true.

 

Lambesis: “The first time I cheated on my wife, my interpretation of morality was now convenient for me. I felt less guilty if I decided, “Well, marriage isn’t a real thing, because Christianity isn’t real. God isn’t real. Therefore, marriage is just a stupid piece of paper with the government.” I thought of myself as super-scholarly at the time. “My academic pursuit has led me to this.” I was sincere to a certain degree, but we all hear what we want to hear to justify our actions.”

My 5-year-old son has a bad habit of licking his hands. I’m constantly telling him to stop. The other day he replied, “But it feels good!” His twin sister, overhearing this from the other room, yelled, “Just because something feels good, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do!” I had to laugh, but at the same time I was thrilled to see that my many reminders about the nature of truth and morality are sinking in: “Just because you like it, doesn’t mean you should do it…just because you want it to be true, doesn’t mean it is true…just because it makes you happy, doesn’t mean it is right.”

Lambesis was incredibly honest in admitting that he heard what he wanted to hear to justify his actions when he was falling away from God. The more we can consistently find opportunities in daily life to distinguish subjective desires from the search for objective truth and morality, the more alert our kids will be to the dangers of this common confusion.

 

4. Popular atheist authors have a powerful influence that parents should be eager to discuss with their kids.

 

Lambesis: “I interpreted the evidence how I wanted and felt it was intellectually dishonest to consider myself a Christian. I felt at best I could consider myself agnostic, and at least I would consider myself an atheist. That was my original twist on the whole thing. I read a lot of stuff from the people who are now more popularly known as the “Four Horsemen” of the atheist apocalypse.”

The “Four Horsemen” of the atheist apocalypse refers to the popular atheist writers Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Each of these authors has written best-selling books lambasting religion. I’m currently reading Dawkins’ book, “The God Delusion.” It reads as a 400+ page survey of the most common atheist propaganda your kids will hear about Christianity. Like Lambesis, many young adults are swayed by these writers and their atheist evangelists. If I had teenagers, I would be reading this with them immediately as an unparalleled opportunity to tackle atheist arguments head-on. Don’t run from this literature…run to it and address it with your kids while you still can. (If your kids aren’t teens, start by reading it yourself!)

 

5. Kids need to understand the nature of expertise and authority figures.

 

Lambesis [talking about the scientists he studied]: “Because they’ve so accurately and brilliantly described the science, they must be right…You know when you have that friend who’s just genuinely smarter than the rest of you? When he develops a theory about whatever, everyone’s like, ‘He must be right!’ But even that guy is still wrong about at least one in 10 things.”

This is a common problem today. There are a lot of “experts” competing for your kids’ attention and worldview loyalty. But just because someone is an expert in one area doesn’t make them an expert in all areas. And just because someone has a high profile title in a scientific field doesn’t mean they have an objective, unbiased view of the world. We need to proactively help our kids understand what expertise means and doesn’t mean.

 

6. Only presenting kids with the Christian side to worldview arguments is often a later death-blow to faith.

 

Lambesis: “At a Christian school, you’re presented with one argument…So later in life when a counter-argument surfaces, your whole world is thrown into shock, because you’ve been indoctrinated. I’m not blaming religion. But this was one of the factors that sent me into this massive moral decline.”

Whether your kids are in Christian school or not, this is a powerful testimony about the problems with only explicitly teaching your kids the Christian side of worldview “arguments.” What are those worldview arguments taking place today? Read Dawkins’ book and you’ll quickly learn! (Also, if you’re new to my blog, check out my post “65 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Parent Needs to Learn to Answer” to get a good overview of today’s challenges to Christianity.)

 

7. Just because something has a Christian label on it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s Christian.

 

Lambesis: “We toured with more ‘Christian bands’ who actually aren’t Christians than bands that are. In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands.”

This story is a tragic example of how a Christian label can be slapped on anything for marketing purposes, but be meaningless in reality. We owe it to our kids to be vigilant in personally evaluating the words and messages behind the media they’re exposed to. We must decide for ourselves if that media warrants a Christian description.

 

As always, I love to hear your thoughts! What do you think of this story and the quotes from Lambesis?

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Comments

  1. Tim Dodaro says:

    I am a grandfather of a 14 year old boy going into highschool. His parents are unbelievers. I’m born again and pray for him daily. I’m concern about how he’ll be swayed toward atheism and what should I be doing to counter that.

    His name is Matisse and I have 3 other younger grand children coming up.

    Thankyou- Tim

  2. Charles Foxworth says:

    Great article, I just read the exclusive interview with Tim Lambesis recently and what you write in your article was my thoughts exactly on this. By denying the existence of God , people feel that they can push morality out the door with Him. Although he still knew what he was doing was wrong because as we know that the moral law is written on the heart of every man. But man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness for his own selfish desires

  3. A good article overall! He obviously was never truly converted by facing his sin, his guilt before a perfect, holy Creator God, or humbly repenting of that sin and trusting fully in Jesus Christ to take his deserved punishment in his place. Yes, we must understand what schools of thought we are up against and be able to critically think in order to evaluate the claimed truth! I would add that, like a counterfeit investigator, we must know the real truth extremely well in order to easily evaluate and reject a counterfeit truth claim. Just knowing basic Christian thought or what Christianity believes isn’t good enough; we must know WHY it is TRUE. Answersingenesis.org as well as ICR.org have an abundance of articles that address why the Bible is true, how to evaluate claims logically and scientifically, and the reason why our faith isn’t blind.

    • Thanks for your comment, Karen! Very good point – we must be well grounded in truth before we can evaluate counter claims effectively. Unfortunately, that truth has been watered down in many churches and Christians often aren’t prepared to explain their own faith, much less defend it. The bottom line is what you said – we must understand WHY Christianity is true!

  4. Kim Gray says:

    Your suggestion to read Dawkins’ book with my teen is terrifying! What if I don’t have the answers? We have gone through the Starting Points worldview curriculum as well as Fallacy Detective and the Argument Builder (he’s a debater as well), and I have been reading On Guard by Craig in the hopes of reading it with my teen, but I have a hard time fully understanding it myself. Do you have any other worldview suggestions that do present the atheist point of view, but then also present at least some direction toward the Christian answers? I think most life-long Christians (like myself) have just always believed and not doubted or questioned, so feel inadequate in this task of preparing our kids.

    • I hear what you are saying, and have the same anxious thoughts as well, but I can’t help but feel that we need not wait until we think we have the sourced and cited answers from the Christian perspective. We will never feel adequate. Doesn’t being a believer, and raising our children from that view, require us to exercise/teach faith and trust in things unseen (un-cited/un-sourced)? If we are in God’s word and living our lives in full dependence in Him, won’t He provide the answers/dialogue to have? The actions exemplified in our daily lives? The god of this world wants nothing more than for us to feel inadequate. To have us fear we won’t say or do the right thing in opening this can of worms. But the God of this universe wants nothing more than for us to trust that He will guide…we need only ask. (And please know that I am replying as I think out loud…I by no means find this an easy answer.)

      • I love what you said here, Ashley: “I can’t help but feel that we need not wait until we think we have the sourced and cited answers from the Christian perspective…” This is so true! No one has 100% of the answers 100% of the time. Kids sense fear. If they feel there are topics we are avoiding, the natural conclusion is not that mom doesn’t have all the answers, but that there must be a lot of problems with Christianity. If we really believe that Christianity is true, we never need to fear that satisfactory answers are available. Sometimes we might just need to say, “Let me look into that and I’ll get back to you” (or let’s look into that together).

    • you can’t be afraid of not having an answer to a question, and you shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions. i’m sure it’s terrifying. I grew up unaffiliated with a particular religion; however, i did attend church and synagogue with friends, so I asked questions when i could and went to the library if no one had an answer. If you don’t have an answer, then this is a great opportunity for you and your teen to do some research together and have an intellectual conversation. I’m not religious, but i apply aspects from various religions to my everyday life and am very happy. i wish you the best and i hope the bond between your and your teen becomes stronger with this tough discussion. :)

    • Robert Fryer says:

      As a christian and a physicist, my answer to the question of ‘combating’ leading scientists would be to look to other leading scientists. If our Christianity is in fact ontological and the sole reality that exists, then we of all people should embrace the sciences, dive deep into what truths we can learn of the ‘God of Truth’ by observation.

      But I reemphasize, look to actual scientists. Many paint ‘scientists,’ and therefore ‘science,’ as the enemy. Consequently, they’ll look only to those who’ve brushed up on a lot of science and not to anyone who is actually trained as a scientist. While they offer an important voice, those actually observing the world, mastering descriptions of natural behavior can speak appropriately to the roles ‘physics’ and ‘metaphysics’ play, what science can and cannot say.

      Leading theoretical particle physicist Sir John Polkinghorne is a Reverend in the Anglican church of England. He is an excellent model and tackles many of the misguided assertions of ‘The Four Horsemen’ of New Atheism.

      Ravi Zacharias is, like Polkinghorne, a world class apologist, but deals in the realm of philosophy and metaphysics. He is an excellent counterpart to Christian physical scientists because this world is both natural and supernatural–both realities should agree and both should reflect the one mind that brought about their existence.

      Lastly, I highly recommend Tim Keller’s ‘The Reason for God’ as it is well rounded, speaks much to The Four Horsemen’s assertions, and he preaches to NYC, of all places.

      I highly recommend looking past any superficial theological differences you have with any of those three and looking to their academic defense of what CS Lewis calls ‘Mere Christianity.’ Everything else (evolution vs. intelligent design, predestination vs. free will, …) is an intramural debate–important, but intramural. Don’t let it distract you from the only thing that is important: that God has been made our sin and that we have been made his righteousness.

      Thank you, Natasha! This posting is *phenomenal*.

      • Hi Robert,

        Thanks very much for all of your insights here. I especially loved what you said here: “If our Christianity is in fact ontological and the sole reality that exists, then we of all people should embrace the sciences, dive deep into what truths we can learn of the ‘God of Truth’ by observation.” Absolutely. There is nothing – nothing! – to fear if what we believe is true.

        Thank you for sharing your recommendations also. Polkinghorne is one I have not yet read but would like to – any particular book recommendation? I had the opportunity to see Ravi Zacharias speak earlier this year and he was excellent. I would love to see Stephen Meyer (I’m especially intrigued by the intelligent design discussion and loved his books).

        Thank you again for commenting!

        • Robert Fryer says:

          Hi Natasha,

          Thanks for the reply! Polkinghorne is near and dear to my heart, as his writings both as a physicist and a theologian have been foundational for me. Many of his books are heavy in content while still cleverly understandable. A thesaurus at hand will help with most of that though. (It sure does for me.)

          Though he doesn’t speak often to the evolution vs. intelligent design discussion, I know he is a little biased against the intelligent design movement in that it seems to be too ‘top-down’ in it’s research.

          His dealings are with learning the most we can about the nature of God through Natural Theology (as opposed to Revelational Theology, etc.). Consequently, they’re quite metaphysical, discussing Meaning, Truth, and all other capitalized qualities of existence. He also enjoys many imaginative (and necessarily tentative and provisional) discussions on the “Causal Joint” between the natural and supernatural world (where God intervenes with the natural realm) as well as his thoughts on how we might (via a branch of mathematics called ‘information theory’) most accurately describe what the human soul is. Again, tentative and provisional and terribly shortcoming, but it stretches our thinking and our appreciation of such a complex creator.

          His book “Belief in God in an Age of Science” is a personal favorite though it, like many of his books, requires at least a briefing of modern science (quantum physics in particular). “Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship” appears to be a lighter read and though I haven’t read “Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction,” it should presumably fix that :)

          My recommendation: 4 years ago he spoke at Point Loma Nazarene University and his 4 lectures titled ‘The Search for Truth an Science and Theology’ are some of my favorite science/theology lectures to date. They span 4 broad topics we approach in faith, and he deals with them as a Natural Theologian: one who investigates the nature of God through what the nature of our experience of this reality. I would start here if you’re interested.

          • Thanks so much for these recommendations! That’s a great help in providing a starting point. I’ll locate those lectures and check them out. I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

    • Pick up the following books as you are reading through the Dawkins book. It will easily help you counter his weak claims. There is a reason this man will not debate William Lane Craig. He would get trounced with logic & reason, and he knows it.

      The Dawkins Letters
      http://amzn.to/1sGt2p5

      Richard Dawkins and His God Delusion: A Preliminary Critique of His Truth Claims
      http://amzn.to/1wzxMLY

    • You may want to start by watching debates on YouTube. There you can see both points of view articulated fully. For instance, there are innumerable Craig v. Hitchens or Craig v. Dawkins debates. They will certainly challenge your thinking, but if you don’t watch them you can guarantee your kids will (if they haven’t already).

      • That should say “Craig v. Hitchens or Christians v. Dawkins debates”
        See my post up the thread about Dawkins and Craig.

    • Kim Gray, I am reading “Meet the Skeptic” by Bill Foster. It is a very simplified and understandable look at responses to common arguments. I am learning so much. I hope that after this book, I may be able to better understand folks like “The Four Horsemen.” It is intellectually overwhelming. But I am sure that it is my job to prepare my son (now 8) for the onslaught of deceit this world will hurl at him as he ages.

      • Thanks for sharing that resource, Jenny! It looks interesting! I would say the reason it feels overwhelming is that their books touch on SO many areas of apologetics. I mean, every chapter in the Dawkins book is a topic that requires background knowledge from 5 other books. So rather than preparing yourself to tackle the author or the author’s whole book, I would recommend preparing yourself on TOPICS. For example, read a book on intelligent design then read Dawkin’s chapter on that. I hope that helps!

    • Hi Kim, I understand what you mean about the idea seeming terrifying at first. We often want to have all the answers in hand before we attack a problem. But, we will never have every answer. That said, there is great value in reading and studying that material first and looking into some of the ideas you are most unsure of how to counter. Then you can work with your kids through it. I recently read Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. It is short (less than 100 pages) and would be a better starting point than Dawkins in terms of length. I’m considering doing a study of this book with Christian parents on Facebook – that would be a great opportunity to work through it with others. I’ll be posting about it on the blog. Also, here is a post I wrote with some recommendations on apologetics resources if you are starting out: http://christianmomthoughts.com/getting-started-with-apologetics-how-to-learn-to-defend-your-faith/

      • Kim Gray says:

        I would certainly hate to be the well-intentioned one who is the first to introduce significant doubt into my son’s mind! That’s my fear in reading Dawkins’ book. I never had a faith struggle or questions–maybe I’m an oddball–so I want to tread carefully in giving satan any seeds to grow skepticism or doubt in my son’s faith. I think we’re going to start with Lee Strobel’s books, then move on to Holman’s apologetics book, Cold Case Christianity, and On Guard (over the next several years) and THEN we’ll tackle Dawkins head-on. He’s 15, and we homeschool, so I can easily incorporate these readings into his schedule. I feel strongly that it is the most important subject in our school and worth the time.

        • Kim, I posted a comment on Pastor Matt’s blog http://pastormattblog.com/2014/07/07/betting-on-pascals-wager-kind-of/ that is similar to what you are doing (3rd comment in the comment section).

          It makes sense to start with solid apologetics / defending the faith books and then move on later to arguments against God and why those arguments are weak compared to the evidence ‘for’ God.

          My daughter read ‘Case for Christ’ when she was 12 and now at 15 I am seeing some of the benefits of that as she is not easily swayed away from faith. She is currently reading Cold Case Christianity, has signed up for Ratio Christi on twitter and facebook and as she gets into the last two years of high school I will be going through the New Atheist books with her. I will most likely start that process by watching several debates with her (Craig v Harris, Hitchens etc etc). I think that is a good way to start as each side presents its best case and can respond to what the other is saying.

          Finally, be sure to introduce at some point the totality argument as atheists tend to focus narrowly to create doubt. But here are the ‘big’ questions in life and from what I have studied God the Creator / Designer and Christianity supply the best answers to all these questions:

          • The beginning of the universe
          • The fine-tuning of the universe
          • The laws of nature
          • The laws of logic
          • The laws of mathematics
          • Information (genetic code)
          • Life
          • Mind and consciousness
          • Free will
          • Objective morality
          • Evil

  5. David Crain says:

    Christian Mom–An outstanding post today. Congratulations. You do us great favor by bringing the Tim Lambesis situation to our attention and by your brilliant unpacking of the lessons it contains. Thank you and may God’s Blessings continue to guide your work.

  6. It is disheartening to hear of the falsehood of some of the Christian promoters out there (i.e. musical messages), however a good point to note that outside of yourself, the intentions of others remain unknown. The positive note is that what may have been done maliciously for reward and recognition can still deliver God’s message to the awaiting heart. What was made of bad can be used for good!

    I for one, remember my first undergrad year of Philosophy’s verbal war which occurred when discussing the validity and true presence of God. I could only participate for so long before my argument felt weaker in comparison. It did not debunk my belief (thank goodness), but in reading this post it reminds me that we as parents need to also educate our children of the attacks on faith out there and provide them with the skillset and biblical knowledge to be warriors for their faith. I won’t support the atheists by purchasing their work, but I do feel that society at large supports the growing gap between the secular and spiritual worlds, and it is best I prepare my next generation.

    Insightful post!

    • You don’t need to buy atheist books and support their work. Just go to your local library where the religion section will be like an ‘ode to atheism’ (at least that is what my library looks like). You can get the resources there along with the books I mentioned earlier in this thread.

      • Correction….you will need to buy the resources I mentioned as the library probably will not have good apologetic books on the shelves, and certainly will probably not have books responding to Dawkins and his fellow ‘new’ atheists

        The Dawkins Letters
        http://amzn.to/1sGt2p5

        Richard Dawkins and His God Delusion: A Preliminary Critique of His Truth Claims
        http://amzn.to/1wzxMLY

        Another source to help you find expert resources for apologetics, science and God, debates between atheists and Christians etc is at the Wintery Knight blog (which by the way is how I found this articles):

        http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/

  7. Plenty of good stuff here, but the idea that freshman philosophy professors are “notorious” for declaring that god doesn’t exist is chain e-mail fiction. I’m sure there are some outliers, but let’s not make (philosophy) profs out to be the boogeyman.

    • Yeah, Josh, I agree. I have been at two state schools and a Christian school and the attitudes of the philosophy profs were not hostile at any of the schools. I’ve heard bad stories, but these are few and far between. That hardly makes philosophy professors “notorious” for atheist hostility. If we villainize philosophy profs it will come back to bite us. Once our kids realize many of the profs are not villains or at least not hostile, the kids will start to question the veracity of other things we have said about them.

    • Hi Josh, My use of the word “notorious” is of course subjective and based on their reputation. It’s no secret that, as a group, college professors are known to be antagonistic toward Christian belief. It’s certainly not just philosophy professors. But because Lambesis specifically noted his experience in philosophy class, I made the comment in that context. I am in no way saying that profs are “villains” as Nick implied below. As a side note, you may be interested in this interview with John Christy, where he talks about his son experiencing exactly what I mentioned in philosophy class: http://christianmomthoughts.com/my-week-in-atheism-new-must-see-film-for-christians-interview-with-john-christy/

      Does this always happen? Certainly not. Is it known to happen often enough that it warrants a comment about parents needing to better prepare their kids for what to expect in college? Absolutely.

  8. Has anyone written a Christian study guide for the Dawkins book? I would like to have a side by side guide to assist me as a parent because I do believe it is necessary to expose them to the falseness of atheism but I am afraid of not having all the answers. Thank you.

    • Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath

    • Indy,

      Nothing on the Dawkins book to offer per-se, But along that line, Sam Harris has written two quite vile anti-Christian books: “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation”, to which Ravi Zacharias has written an EXCELLENT counter-point book, “The End of Reason”. I would recommend a consideration of reading these books as a group.

    • Hi Indy, If you watch my next couple of blog posts, I am going to be proposing a study group for parents (online) to go through the book together. I am hoping it will help a lot of people work through it!

  9. //There are a lot of “experts” competing for your kids’ attention and worldview loyalty. But just because someone is an expert in one area doesn’t make them an expert in all areas. //

    That is exactly right! And the atheists are perfect hypocrites in this area, because all of them are the greatest experts of the Bible on earth (just ask them). They know all of its “errors” and faults, even though they’ve never had an ounce of theological training. Most have never even read the Bible through one time from cover to cover.

    And yet, let a competent scientist, let’s say in Astronomy, make a critical statement about biological evolution, and they will jump on him like nobody’s business. “He’s an astronomer! He’s not qualified to speak on biology!” (Even if he’s learned to be a good critical thinker.)

    But they’re all theologians and don’t try to convince them otherwise. Try telling Dawkins that he’s out of his league when trying to refute the Bible, and see what you get.

    Gotta love it. :-/

    • Hi Paul – Thanks for the comment! I agree – the mishandling of theology and the Bible is maddening. I always wonder if they are really unaware of the Christian explanation for “errors” they bring up or if it’s just rhetoric that’s not meant to engage in a meaningful way. There’s a chapter in the Dawkins book that is especially mind-boggling from that perspective.

  10. I truly appreciate your efforts and honesty in your blog! I have two daughter’s that are preschool age and I have spent the last 3 years listening to debates, reading Stephen Hawking, William Lane Craig, Christopher Hitchens, Frank Turek, Norm Geisler, the Bible, The Origin of Species, etc. to prepare myself and my girls for defending the faith. I have found that most Christian parents I know are not very interested in planning for the onslaught of unbelief their kids will undoubtedly face in the future, which makes your work critically important and I appreciate it. Thank you!

    • Hi Leanne, Thank you so very much for the encouragement! I’m really grateful for your kind words. It’s awesome that you are equipping yourself so deeply – we need a lot more moms to lead the way. Too many parents think they don’t have to consider these issues until high school – by high school it’s often too late.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and hope you’ll add to the conversation on future posts with your own insights!

  11. Priscila M. says:

    Great article!
    Growing up in a Christian household does not neccesarily mean you’re going to get the right cosmovision you need to confront problems when you grow up… That’s why we see so many christians that were raised in church doing so many un-godly things. It’s so sad, because they’re missing – like Lambesis – life with God, their creator who loves them!

  12. prekrasno says:

    Excellent perspective — and among the best Christian views I’ve read on this topic. I’ve often said that we Christians fail miserably at defending our faith as the Bible commands us to do. Consequently, we come across as ignorant, self-aggrandizing, and dogmatic. The strict prohibition against rational thought in certain Evangelical/Fundamentalist circles is, IMHO, the biggest factor that drives people away from church — especially people like me who thrive on rational discourse. Properly educating our children to defend that faith is the only way it will survive.

    • Thank you so much. I’m very concerned as well about the prohibition against rational thought in some circles, and agree that that view is too often seen as representative of all Christians. Dawkins loves to quote those evangelists in The God Delusion. It makes me cringe. I pray more and more Christians see the need for apologetics, and hope my blog can help in some small way.

  13. I teach at the International Christian School in Vienna. I like your blog and posts and figure to use some of your material next year in my Bible and Apologetic classes. Thanks for what you do.

    Bill Wiisanen

  14. We are steeped in a postmodern world. Like cucumbers in a pickling brine we soak up the ideas, attitudes and beliefs of this world. Every day must be a day of renewal and cleansing where we examine our thinking and actions in the light of Scripture. It is a double job to root out the lies that confuse our thinking. First we must measure our thoughts against God’s Word and then overcome our pride; “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 3:18,19) If we want to become enduring containers for the new wine of Jesus’ Gospel of Salvation we must dump out the old wine of worldly thinking; not once but every day. The wineskin of our minds must be made new; “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

    http://walkingwithtony.blogspot.ca/2013/01/old-ideas.html

  15. Dan'l Markham says:

    Tim has journeyed from light to darkness and back again. As a pastor I have journeyed with him. Much to learn from this now true believer. Stay tuned.

  16. Elmer Chen says:

    Some good insights here – thank you!
    I am surprised that a “Christian college” would allow an atheist philosophy professor to teach a class! Which ever institution this was, I suspect that, like the 9 out of 10 “Christian bands,” it was not really Christian. You said, “Academia is overwhelmingly hostile to Christianity.” Should we not say “Secular academia”? There are truly Christian academics out there – in philosophy as well as many other disciplines – who are doing good work. More importantly, not all of your readers may be well equipped to tackle the “Four Horsemen.” They would do well to read the likes of Alister McGrath, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Greg Koukl, Alvin Plantinga, Lee Strobel, etc. … alongside the atheist critics. When you meet a bully, call on a big brother!
    Thanks again and keep writing!

    • Hi Elmer, Yes, to be perfectly clear I could say “secular academia” (I didn’t specify since Christian academia theoretically wouldn’t be hostile against itself!). There certainly are many wonderful Christian professors.

      I hear what you’re saying about being prepared to tackle the atheist literature. But at the same time, apologetics takes on a whole new sense of urgency and relevance when you’ve first read what you’re combating. If more Christian parents read The God Delusion, it would be a major call to action! I’m planning to offer a book study on it through my blog so hopefully that will make it less intimidating!

  17. Paul Short says:

    Natasha
    Even as a non-believer, I applaud your intellectual honesty. You’ve taken a good angle on this issue, but I think there’s some areas where you… mis-spoke.

    1. Academia isn’t overwhelmingly hostile to Christianity, per se. It’s hostile to supernatural claims that don’t have evidence. It’s equally hostile toward Islam (or any other faith). I think it’s unfair to criticize secular academia for doing it’s secular job, secularly. It would be like me saying, “That darn church down the street doesn’t teach enough secular science!”

    4. They’re generally referred to as simply “The Four Horsemen of Atheism” (or New Atheism). From what I know, none of the 3 living men like that term at all, and I think each would particularly eschew the usage of “the apocalypse” in the title.

    7. Discernment can be hard. Is this person’s argument coherant? It seems to make sense, and aligns with my pre-conceived notions. How can I tell? It’s very hard.

    Basically, though, I agree with a lot of what you say. If you don’t send your kids into the world with those skills, they’ll suffer pretty hard. I’ve seen it, and it’s not pretty.

    Also, there are many stories like Tim Lambesis’. There’s an entire support group set up just for active (and former) clergy members who are atheists, or have lost faith.

    Best wishes :)

    • Hi Paul, Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that academia is hostile to all supernatural claims, but since Christianity is the topic of this article, I referenced it in particular (I have to note that your wording “supernatural claims that don’t have evidence” is loaded with the presupposition that no supernatural claims have evidence, which is simply untrue – but this isn’t the place to engage in debate on that; suffice it to say that theists believe there is plenty of evidence from the natural world for God, and Christians believe there is plenty of evidence for the historicity of the resurrection).

      Regarding the term for the atheist writers, I agree as well – I had never heard this particular usage before quoting him.

      And I agree with you on the difficulty of discernment. I think the biggest challenge is identifying our own pre-conceived notions. Many times people think that if they can create a coherent worldview, then it must be true. While coherence is a TEST for the truth value of a worldview, however, that alone does not make something true. We have to follow the evidence where it leads. I’m reading the book on Antony Flew’s conversion from atheism to theism, and that’s an amazing example of someone discarding pre-conceived notions and following the evidence where it led him. Of course that goes the other way, as well, with people feeling the evidence leads away from theism. Since this is a Christian blog, however, I’m speaking in this article from a Christian perspective.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  18. This is an amazing article! I am an an Indian Christian. I was brought up in a very protected Christian environment (without much discussion on any other religion) and attended a Christian school. But in college my psychology professors were atheists whose first job it seemed like was to discredit God which caused a real faith crisis in my life for few years. My mom had not gone to college so couldn’t answer much of those theological questions but she was a prayerful woman whose life and faith challenged me. If she prayed there would be an answer. In my life also I have enjoyed the blessings of her prayers. However I had strayed away from God during my college years but it was pure misery. After few years I returned to God, my life became abundant again in every ways. I realized nothing in this world can give or replace my heavenly father’s unconditional love for me. He showed that he loved me even when the answers to my prayers were “no”. I understood even if I cant see God, his hand is there in each and every aspect of my life. I don’t want an explanation for or against him. I have seen it for myself. Now I don’t even want to think about those days I had lived without God.

    I encourage all the mothers to live your faith and teach your children to pray to God even for simple things, read his word and develop a relationship with God. Then nothing can draw them away from God. Even if they go away from God momentarily they cannot stay there for long. Because the chaff which this world offers cannot satisfy them too long they’ll come back for the grain!

    God bless you!

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Jane! I’m so glad that by God’s grace you were pulled back to relationship with Him after a time of darkness. I’m sure that experience made your faith stronger – there is always something to be grateful for in suffering. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  19. Jon Jon Wesolowski says:

    Though it’s an excellent step, it’s not enough to train students minds. We must also capture their ‘loves.’ We are desiring beings fundamentally, not thinking beings. That is to say, I can know somethings wrong, but still do it because I love something greater than my thoughts, or even beliefs.

    Secondly, the last point is dangerous in assuming “Christian music.” What if I told you only 10% of the Pizza you ate was Christian? Or, the color of your house was a part the the 90% or so of houses that were non-christian colors. The label is meaningless (because it’s impossible for anything other than individuals to be ‘Christian’), and useless (ultimately because of situations like this0.

Trackbacks

  1. […] downplay it. We should stay in prayer and hope that God leads him back to Christ. We should also learn from it. I simply want to reflect on the category of Christian music and, as a parent (with my first not […]

  2. […] an interesting post for Christian parents by Natasha Crain about that Christian musician who became an […]

  3. […] 7 Things Christian Parents Can Learn from the Tim Lambesis Story- Here, some very good insights into the need for apologetics and solid grounding in theology are taken from the story of Tim Lambesis- the lead singer of a band who has recently said he rejected his Christian faith but kept the label in order to sell records. Check out these great insights. See also my post On Christian Music. […]

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