I am a member of several Christian social media groups. Some pages are for men and women, and some are just women’s groups. I enjoy reading and getting encouragement in forums with ladies who are like-minded in faith. These are not the typical women’s pages that promote fluff and talk about issues in the style of “theology-lite”. Usually there are some good and helpful conversations. However, occasionally a question or topic arises that surprises me, and the ensuing discussion can leave me perplexed.
It has occurred to me that it could be beneficial to my audience to blog about some of these topics and try to give some biblically based, common sense clarity on them. I will not reveal names of groups or members, but rather, make the topic as generic as possible without laying out the exact details given in the original social media post. I’ve decided to call these particular blog entries: The Social Media Files.
The topic of interest today is this question asked by a Christian mom:
“Should I allow my child to participate in a school field trip to a Buddhist temple?”
First of all, this group member does not live in the United States. So I’m not sure of the availability of Christian schools, or how friendly her country is to homeschooling, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt that her child is in the best educational setting the family can manage to have her in .
Should our children be taught about other world religions? YES
Should they be permitted to tour a pagan place of idol worship in a context that is friendly to said world religion? NO
I would be the first to say that our kids should not grow up and go out into the world ignorant of worldviews they will encounter once they are out there. However, this field trip is not an outing to the aquarium or the botanical garden. This kind of friendly exposure to pagan worship will plant dangerous seeds into the minds of young children that they are not yet equipped to process. Some addressing this mom in the group say, “But this could be educational in that it can open up discussion for you and your child about what they saw.” Or, “Maybe you could go with them and talk to them about what they are experiencing.” To that I would ask, “Would you allow them go on a school field trip to a Satanic temple so they could learn about those practices?” Hopefully the answer would be NO. And I would say that visiting a Buddhist temple might even be more dangerous for your child than touring a Satanic temple Why? Because visiting a Satanic worship site would elicit proper fear in a child, while the Buddhist temple field trip would be a stunning appeal to the senses, leading to all sorts of confusion.
Here’s my bottom line: Instruction about the world’s religions should be done on the parents’ terms, on the parents’ turf!
As parents we are to be protectors of our children’s hearts and minds, raising them in truth and laying a firm foundation on which they will build for a lifetime of faith. What we would be doing by introducing their impressionable minds to belief systems that conflict with Christianity before that foundation has been laid would be to put weak places into that structure we are trying to build. How many Christian adults today were never taught a biblical “young earth” view of creation at home as kids, only to have their entire creation worldview shaped and molded by worldly evolution philosophies taught in the public schools? These kinds of things must be addressed in the home environment if we don’t want them to readily accept the wrong belief systems once they are outside our homes.
The world WANTS our children to be accepting of all faiths. Not just tolerant. But in their minds we must EMBRACE the very things that according to scripture are lies and deceptions.
Charles Spurgeon said:
It’s hard enough to protect our children from the deceptive philosophies of the world without thrusting them unprepared through that open door the world is beckoning them to enter. Preparing them for facing the lies of the world is our JOB as parents, and we must be diligent in that task.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 asserts the assumption that the Christian family has done the work of raising their children in the scriptures. It is expected.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
“You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always….You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates..”
And perhaps most well known, Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Nowhere in scripture are we told to train up our children in the ways of the pagans. Should they know they exist? YES
Should they be aware of what other religions believe as opposed to what we believe? ABSOLUTELY. But with care. We know when our children are ready to receive knowledge that they are mature enough to handle. And that kind of delicate information should not be introduced in an environment that is out of our control, like a school field trip. We are to be arming them with the tools necessary to go forth into the world, with the truth so ingrained in them that they are not taken in by the lies they will undoubtedly face.
Does this mean our kids will always grow up and follow the right path? Sadly, no. Even if we’ve done all we could to ensure they receive biblical instruction. Even if we’ve homeschooled or sent them to Christian schools. Eventually they will be out in the world and will be faced with all it has to offer. It’s a scary proposition. But parents, just make sure you have done your due diligence to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, with the proper tools to flourish.
So to this mom, I would lovingly say, “No, please don’t allow your precious child to participate in this field trip. Keep her home that day. Do your own field trip. Show her the wonders of what God has created. Go on a day hike, or to the beach. Or to the aquarium or Botanical Garden. He has done great things and has given us much to enjoy in His beautiful world.”