Last time in this student-focus series I wrote about respecting the questions: that it’s healthy for students (and all of us) to have questions about Christianity, and that we ought to be free to ask them and pursue answers.
I think the central question for any young person raised as a churchgoer might be, “What does Christianity have to do with me?” You’ve been raised by church-going parents and expected to follow their guidance. Chances are you’ve seen both good and bad at church. (Not long from now I’ll share how — and why — one young person kept going on Christianity despite seeing really bad things at church.) You’ve probably also had good and bad examples at home.
Meanwhile your friends are a mixed group, and you know that the whole world is mixed and multi-cultural. Christianity appears as one option among many. Your church and parents may say it’s the best option or the only one, but that’s not the message you’re getting everywhere else.
So then, what does Christianity have to do with you? It’s your parents’ faith. Your question has to be, Is it mine?
I can think of a thousand good reasons why you should answer that question yes. The main one is Jesus Christ: his historical reality, his great example as a leader and teacher, his goodness, his power, and then ultimately his life, death, and resurrection for you. That last word brings me to my second main reason to say yes: you: your life now and for eternity, since this is all very real.
But this brings up even more questions, like, how do we know Jesus is real? Is Christianity any better than any other option? Can’t other religions be true, too? Isn’t Christianity intolerant? What about the hypocrisy I’ve seen in the church? What about science — doesn’t that contradict Christianity? And so on.
They’re all great questions, and I hope you have someone nearby you can ask them all. It should be someone who listens well, and who also knows there are good answers and knows how to guide you to discover them.
I’m going to keep these Monday Student Focus articles short, so I’m not going to try to answer any questions today. I’m going to pick up one at a time, starting next week. Feel free to comment here and let me know if there’s one issue in particular you want me to start with.
If you want to jump ahead and get a lot of questions answered at once, though, I recommend Cold-Case Christianity. It’s great for students.