Raising Kids that Will Love God

As a young Christian, I could never quite understand it. I looked around the other believers I knew and could find no common denominator for why some continued walking with Jesus and others did not.

But, after having walked away from God myself for three years, I now know that it isn’t as difficult as we would like to believe. But, now I am a mom raising children of my own. Unlike me, they will be raised in a “Christian home.” (That phrase makes me cringe. It’s almost like a spiritual death sentence for a lot of kids.)

I can see them now…sitting around a circle with other Christians, sharing their testimony of drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, and the like. They begin with “I was raised in a Christian home.” [insert Jaws music here]. Often times, it’s as if a “Christian home” is the precursor to a life of rebellion and heartache.

Now, as mother myself, I wonder what it is that makes some kids grow up to be Jesus-loving ninjas and leads others to abandon the values of their parents altogether? How do you raise a child who will always chase after God?

I heard good ol’ Beth Moore teach once on the verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Man, do us parents get that one wrong. I have heard Christian moms quote this verse a million times, always in an attempt to comfort themselves or another mom whose kid has gone off the deep end.

We have heard this verse twisted to mean, “If you raise a Christian kid, they will always be a Christian.” The end. And they all lived happily after.

What that verse really means is that, as parents, we are responsible in finding and directing our children to pursue the things that they are good at, encouraging them in those pursuits, and in doing so, seeing them enjoy those same passions as adults.

Pretty different, right?.

“Training” our children, as the verse says, includes training them in godliness. It means discipling them. The “way he should go” portion, however, refers to a child’s natural bent, his talents, disposition, character, etc.

So, where does that leave parents who want to help raise children who will, above all else, love God and love others?

My husband and I sat down my in-laws and asked them the same question. Is there some magic formula to guaranteeing Godly grown children (as both of their grown sons love God)?

They told us there was, of course, no formula, but there were two things that they had personally observed that potentially inhibited children from growing up to love God.

1. Legalism. In their observattions over the years, the families they witnesed who had a more legalistic bent often produced children less likely to be Christ-followers as adults.

2. God wasn’t real. Now, this idea is a bit more gray because “making God real” to our kids is a unique, personal, and daily challenge for any parent. However, my in-laws observed that the less God was made real in a home, meaning the more He was just an idea and not made to be seen as living and active, the more likely those kids were to fall away.

I have no fear of legalism in my household. Perhaps that is naive to say, but I simply don’t. However, I grapple daily with how to make God come alive for my kids–for Jesus to be in and among us and for them to know it. Not just think it, but know it. For them to feel Him, alive and present.

But, sadly there is no magic formula. There is only imperfect people, raising more imperfect people, but being guided by a Perfect God. An English writer named Clarkson once wrote,

“Not the very best training of the very wisest parents in the world can positively secure goodness and wisdom in their children….Therefore, Let all parents seek, beside training their children in good habits, to win their hearts to that Divine Wisdom in whose friendship and service alone will they be safe.”

We have no guarantee that our children will grow up to love Jesus. We do, however, have years to tell them and show them, of His awesomeness, His grace, and His love…and then trust Him with the rest.

Were you raised in a “Christian home?” How did (or didn’t) your parents teach you about God? If you are a parent now, what are you doing to make God real?


42 thoughts on “Raising Kids that Will Love God”

  1. I’ll start the conversation! Yes, I believe that in giving our children freedom we can usher them TOWARD, and not away from, God.

    C.S. Lewis’ stepson Douglas says that a pivotal moment in his returning to Christ after many years as a prodigal was a conversation he had with Lewis shortly after Douglas’ mother died. When Douglas expressed his doubt over whether Heaven existed, Lewis said, “That’s okay.” In retrospect, Douglas credits Lewis’ grace–and not an expected chastisement from a master theologian–for bringing him back to the faith.

    I didn’t grow up in a Christian home but had a personal revelation–an encounter–with Jesus through the Holy Spirit when I was 17. I made a deliberate choice to follow Christ based on a supernatural experience. I pray that my daughters will have this same type of experience, only unique to their journeys. I pray that they will learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. I pray that they will be confident in honoring the Lord. I pray that I and Greg will have the wisdom to recognize when the Lord is prompting them to do something that may initially scare us.

    Because my children will grow up what I, too, dreadfully refer to as a “Christian home,” I think about these things often. I’m thankful Riley and Ariel can already recognize Jesus. May they never forget Him.

    1. Renee,
      What a great story about Lewis and Douglas. I crave to allow my children the same kind of grace. Grace for them to be weird, or eccentric, quirky, or nerdy. But more so, grace for them to say “I don’t know,” and for Jon and I to say that sometimes, we don’t know either.

      You and I share similar stories–meeting Jesus in a supernatural way as teenagers. And look at the legacy God is creating in our own families now. If that is not His grace, power, and love, I don’t know what it!

      1. We should have “Testimony Day” at church one week. OR, each week, one person can take 10 minutes to share his/her testimony. The thing is, as I get older, my testimony keeps getting so much longer. I guess that’s a good thing. Jesus is always at work, peeling away the layers of legalism, liberalism, and lunacy.

        Also, DO NOT WORRY: your kids are SO going to be fully weird and eccentric and quirky and nerdy because they’re a reflection of you and Jonathan! :) Your family will be like the Jesus-loving Ninja Incredibles. Tolan can be the Roach-Warrior.

          1. Well, it says each one brings a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. I think Renee is specifically referring to us, sharing our personal testimonies of how we came to know Jesus. You know, the story of how God got a hold of us. I always find it so encouraging to hear those stores and it helps me feel closer to my brothers and sisters.

  2. Raised as an atheist who used Jesus as a cuss word, and later on jumped into the occult, which, oddly enough, convinced me of the reality of the Judeo-Christian God. (It took the devil to show me Jesus! Oh, the irony.)

    Nicole, you said what needs to be heard.
    “Well, I’m a Christian, so my kids will be Christians (by God, if it kills me!), and their kids will be Christians and so on and so on.” Fah. Such religious and stereotypical rubbish.

    Like you, my House is raising our daughters to hear about Jesus, see Jesus, discern Jesus, talk with Jesus, and fellowship with Jesus. But of course this is no guarantee of anything, and surely not their own salvation. I am hoping they will realize Jesus is Lord through His calling, but…*shrugs*…that’s a bit above my pay grade. I do ask Him to save my kids according to His mercy and grace. It’s really going to be between them and Him.

    I liked how you mentioned legalism in parenting. How true, how true! Our children don’t need Pharisees as babysitters; they need The Spirit. And while you and I cannot save our kids, we can at least ask The Spirit to be their babysitter, for surely the enemy is standing at our doors waiting for his chance with our kids.

    I can show my kids the Fatherhood of God by being a son, myself. I can show them how they should be treated by how I treat my own bride. I can show them how to relate to Yaweh as King, Father, Master, and God. Everything else is up to Him.

    1. Donald,
      Such a simple statement you wrote, but it is so good. You said “I do ask Him to save my kids according to His mercy and grace. It’s really going to be between them and Him.”

      There it is. A simple truth that so many parents miss. We cannot make it happen for them. We cannot force Jesus upon them…although parents try and fail miserably as a result.

      We have to do our part–the things you listed–and HE does the rest. I don’t know about you, friend, but I find that comforting. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Nicole,

        I do want my faith to be generational, for sure. It would please me greatly if my daughters come to Salvation through Christ as I did, of course. Much as it would be with you and Jonathan.

        Jesus told us that whatever we pray in His Name, He will give to us. Yes, a can of worms to be sure, but the principle remains, even if we do not have the ability to accurately explain or model it. I have asked and am asking Him to reveal Himself to my girls for their salvation. In the meantime, I do what I can through Him to show them sonship and salvation and The New Covenant. But you know all this, already, as I know by The Spirit you are doing likewise. ;)

        It is not to ask “CAN He?”, but to ask “WILL He?” I will say, “Yes. Yes, He will. But in His own way, according to His own timing, and in His own Will.” If I am wrong, then I am wrong. But how can hope ever be wrong when it is based on a parent’s love, as brought about due to our own sonship through Christ? Time will tell.

  3. Because I’m a scientist (or, I used to work in that field, but I still have that mindset), I want that magic formula. But like you, God is teaching me about trusting Him with our 3 kids.

    I struggle more with the legalism side, which I think is odd considering I didn’t grow up in a “Christian” home. But God is helping us show our kids that faith in Christ should be a dynamic adventure! And they’ve especially been able to see this as we moved to the most impoverished area in our state, to live in the community and build relationships with kids and families.

    1. Joey,

      Please consider that on the other side of the legalism mountain is our Father.

      What I mean is that if there had not been an Old Covenant, there would have been no reason for a New one. So while you readily admit to having a legalistic flavor, (which can change!), I see it as being the road to a deeper understanding of God our Father.

      I cannot explain it any better than that, so I am hoping you understand what I am trying to say! :)

    2. Joey,
      You said “But God is helping us show our kids that faith in Christ should be a dynamic adventure!”

      I love this! I’m stealing this! And I am praying that your children would begin to, and always, see loving Jesus as nothing but an amazing adventure. Blessings to you!

  4. Nicole, great post! I wish I had some wonderful insight, but all I have is my story. My dad came to faith during the “revivals” of the late 70’s, when the country became convinced The End was upon us (again), and drug me along for the ride as it were…”You are gonna get saved, so shut up and get in the car!” , but it took a very strange flavor – reverse legalism! In our home, there were no “rules of religion” or any form of it, beyond a bible laid open on the table to Matthew 6, and a furtive reading of the Lord’s Prayer each day as we left the house, usually with him cursing and yelling because we were late. He believed that grace was so effective, he didn’t have to repent, God would change him for Him. You can imagine what this did to a child’s image of God.

    I walked away from this strange, all-powerful mystery as soon as I could, and didn’t look back until I was almost 40, and my kids were almost grown, and their lives reflect that lack. I try now to share with them how good God is, and encourage my daughter to come to church and bring my grandsons, but their father is not much for “people telling him how to live”, so it’s difficult. I must find peace that I can share my personal story with them, and hope the testimony can help them seek after Him. I missed my kids, maybe the next generation can have a better chance.

    1. Nick,
      The household you grew up in, I’m sad to say, was the extreme opposite of legalism–also known as libertinism. It is, as you described, when Christians believe that grace is enough to give us permission to keep on sinning. But, as Paul wrote may it never be!

      Please don’t be discouraged for your own children. God knew when you would repent and turn to Him. he also loves your kids more than you. I’m believing in them, now, not just the next generation. I will be praying for your children this week, specifically that they would have a life-changing revelation of Jesus Christ.

      Thank you for sharing!

  5. “Jesus-loving ninjas”. That just about made my day. I think this is a great question to ask, not just for parents but for all of us. After all, the verse says “train” but doesn’t specify who does the training. Parents, teachers, mentors, all will have an impact, positive or negative. I love your insight into “the way they should go”, we so often turn that into a formula or rubric for child development. The verse could almost be phrased: “train a child in who they are and when they are old they will not forget.” Maybe that’s the real goal of parenting: to teach your child who they are and who God is. The rest will handle itself.

  6. I was raised in a Christian environment and grew up loving God and Jesus throughout my childhood and teen years. I’m now 19 and in college and haven’t been to church in a good few months. Now, that is not because I do not believe in God, but because I don’t have the time to due to school and my schedule. I love God with all my heart, but now I am finding out that I can’t just believe what people told me growing up. I want and NEED to find out who God is on my own and I think that is one thing I’ll teach my children when I have them.

    They need to learn who God is to them and can’t just believe what they hear. Because with me, just believing and preaching what I heard from different churches and Christians, caused doubt and a super religious mindset in myself. I’m glad I am branching out and figuring out God and Jesus on my own because my faith is growing. That’s what I want my kids to have, a strong faith and to be able to see God not just hear about Him.

  7. I was raised in a “Christian home” and I am a fourth generation Christian. For whatever reason, God has chosen by His grace and goodness to create an amazing generational line of disciples and I am on the bottom end of it. My parents modeled their faith for me. They showed me who God was by being both faithful and fruitful in thier lives. But there was a clear and evident moment in my life (early in college) where I was faced with the decision to claim my faith as my own and no longer just an extension of my parents. I had to choose for myself.

    Now raising up my three kids, still very young, I am learning what it means to dazzle my kids with the grace of God, tell them the story of God, and model for them what it means to be a disciple. As they mature, they too will come to a point where they will choose. I pray to God that they find their identity in Him alone and in Christ Jesus, Messiah and Lord. If they don’t see a compelling story (Jesus), they will be captured by a lesser one. Lord, give my kids eyes to see and ears to hear.

  8. Perhaps one of your in-laws should elaborate on ways we “made God real” for our kids?

    We memorized Scripture together and discussed the real-life applications. So when one parent once called another driver “stupid”, a 3-year-old son accurately and appropriately quoted James 1:2-3 as a rebuke. The offending parent did not take offense, but humbly received the admonition.

    We informed our boys that we parents were subject to the authority of the Bible, so that they had the right to bring correction to anything we did that was not right according to the Word of God. We explained biblical principles we were using when dealing with issues of life, so that their requests were handled in light of His Word instead of random parental whims. Even though we had an alcohol-free house (and lifestyle), we taught them that the Bible does not say it is a sin to drink, but not to get drunk. They learned how to judge life biblically.

    We regularly played “I spy God” as a family, sharing how we saw the hand of God working in our lives.

    We sang praise songs together in the car. One of our favorites was “Praise God, give thanks to the Father in all that you say or do…” and then each family member would take a turn telling us all what he praised God for.

    We gave thanks to the Lord at every mealtime, and never with a rote prayer. Every conversation and thanksgiving was fresh and new.

    We shared the difficulties we were facing in our business and outstanding needs we had as a family. We acknowledged that we were completely dependent upon our loving Father to meet all our needs. We prayed together, asking God to meet those needs, and then when He provided for those needs, we praised Him together. The boys saw the reality of God working in our family on a consistent basis. He was always there for us, and our children learned to recognize His reality, His love, and His faithfulness.

    We ministered together as a family. The boys shared a room together until their mid-teens so that we could have a bedroom for others to live with us. They spent time with missionaries and some godly friends, but mostly they saw people who were needy, many of whom had made some bad choices in their lives and were now suffering the consequences for their ungodly choices. Others had been abused and needed healing. Our children got to see God at work healing people and loving them through our family. We always made sure the boys understood that this was not just their parents’ ministry, but that they were serving the Lord in their sacrifices and through their love. They knew that our house was the Lord’s house, and that they were ministers alongside us.

    We talked about problems their friends or our houseguests were facing, and asked them to evaluate biblically how those problems arose and what the godly route would be at that point. They learned to use the Word for practical problem-solving.

    We taught by example that when we were faced with a decision, we prayed to God EXPECTING that the Holy Spirit would speak to us and give us the wisdom we needed to make the best decision. Later, when the boys faced decisions in their lives, we asked them what the Lord had said to them. If they had not already spent the time with Him, they went to pray and later came back and told us the Lord’s verdict. We did not have to be heavy-handed about decisions we were concerned about. The Lord told them what to do, and they learned to submit to Him.

    I’ll stop here–you don’t want a booklet. But it all boils down to living a life completely dependent upon the goodness of Lord, communicating out loud to your children what you are doing. Making God real (which is really a bad way of saying “letting the truth of God’s reality and His faithful work in your life”) is all about really trusting God with everything you do, and sharing that life adventure completely with your children. If God is real to you, and you are loving Him with all your being (the Great Commandment), you will tell your children, your spouse, your friends, your coworkers, and even strangers all about His goodness. And their lives will be changed.

  9. I never thought about it as growing up in a “Christian home.” I always think that I’ve grown up in a loving home, with Christian parents. And maybe that’s the key – to show your children how God loves us, and hope they come to know Jesus through that love and grace. But even then, people stray, because children become adults and adults make their own decisions.

    I would agree that legalism can lead to rebellious children, as I’ve seen it with friends. As soon as they left the house, they did all the things they weren’t supposed to and made some decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. As far as making Jesus real goes, my parents did that by praying with us, by talking about Him, by taking us to church, and by reading the “Christmas story” every Christmas eve. I always knew that, in addition to be able to go to my parents for comfort, I could always pray when I was scared or lonely. That still applies today, at 23. Another important thing for me was to learn about important life things in a Godly context (i.e. sex is good, but made for marriage). Those lessons have stuck.

    All that being said, one of my brothers is no longer a Christian, and the other has gone through some periods of doubt and rebellion. At this point, all my parents really have the power to do is to be there for them and pray for them (and me! because I still need a lot of help, too). God will do the rest, as He sees fit. :)

  10. I’m not even a parent and my (single) friends and I have wrestled with this question as we’ve watched more and more young people walk away from the Lord despite the seemingly amazing, Godly homes they are raised in. We look at our lives, and we look at theirs and we wonder, “What’s the difference between us and them?” Why have we “stayed the course”? I wish there were a magic formula.

    I definitely agree with the points your in-laws made. My younger sister and I are the “babies” of 6 daughters. All 4 of our older sisters RAN from the Lord and my parents largely due to hypocrisy and legalism they experienced in our home. Knowing what they went through I can’t blame them. By the time my parents got to us they’d learned “how not to do it”.

    And my parents made it real. In every sense. You’re sick? Let’s pray. You’re scared? Let’s pray. “What would Jesus do?” was not a rhetorical question in our house. But when I say it was real I mean that they were honest about their shortcomings, despite being “Christians”. We saw them mess up but we also saw them repent.

    My friends and I have said one thing that made us “different” is that we NEEDED Jesus. We were raised in “Christian Homes” that were far from perfect. We’ve experienced hardships such as divorce, abuse, sickness, or financial strains. From the time we were young we’ve cried out to Him because He was all we had to turn to. And we have seen His faithfulness to us as a result. Our hearts are tied to Him. In many ways I think that’s what has made the difference.

  11. Nicole, I just stumbled across your blog post via Twitter and your post really resonated with me. I grew up in a Christian home w/ only one parent who drug me to church whether I liked it or not. I strayed away from my faith in college, but recommitted in my late 20s after a major life event that drew me closer and saved me – in more ways than one.

    I have two little boys and pray daily that I’m doing enough to raise them as Jedis for Jesus (Star Wars is big with my 7 & 5 y.o.). We use lots of analogies about the “Force.” Sadly, I’ve had to step up as the spiritual leader of the family, but I’m amazed at how open and honest my boys are in sharing with me their questions, doubts & “that warm feeling.” I wish we were always like that as adults!

    I recently heard Tim Tebow’s parents speak about raising kids who are on fire for Christ and it was an eye opener. Not that they did anything out of the ordinary, but it was an affirmation that lessons need to exist in every aspect of life – despite living in a world that pulls you in another direction. I never shared my faith with my online community, but the Tebows’ presentation prompted me to write about it. While to the world, it may not be a big deal, to this one Mom, it was a huge step out of my comfort zone.

    It’s events like this that I hope my boys see how God works and communicates.

    @rejectdad, loved this:

    “If God is real to you, and you are loving Him with all your being (the Great Commandment), you will tell your children, your spouse, your friends, your coworkers, and even strangers all about His goodness. And their lives will be changed.”

    And so I will continue to venture out of my comfort zone to share…

    Love the work you’re doing, Nicole!

  12. I read all the comments and rejectdad stood out to me. Not every point did I do but the theme points my wife and I followed in our home. I agree with your process and my daughter’s often comment to me is, “I remember when you prayed, which taught us to pray”. I had my wife and daughter pray for me and for our family needs and now she and husband does the same with their children.
    I will say our formula was and is Live Scripture, When reading scripture to children, tell it like a live action packed story, Live and act like Jesus is really in my house, on my job, in my car and talk to him like he is.
    I recently observed my grandchildren and friend’s children calling on Jesus from their heart for certain needs. When our children spontaneously display their trust, love and belief in our God, without prompt, then you have prepared a liftime foundation for them.

  13. Nicole, you post is so significant to me and many other people I know, I linked it to my church social site called The City, emailed it to my contacts lists. I am convinced many parents, single or double could do better with minor tuning; and the children being persuaded to turn back to God is the result we all desire.

  14. I recently read this quote: “God is not threatened or angered by honest agnosticism.” I think it’s okay to let children discover Christ for themselves. Let them work through it. What I tell the kids I mentor is that if you can’t answer the question “why do I believe what I believe?” once you hit the real world, out from mommy and daddy’s shadow you will lose it.

    1. Yes, each of us has to make that discovery ourselves. It is the job of every Christian parent to personally demonstrate grateful submission to Christ, explain why he makes the choices he makes in light of the Scriptures and his relationship with God, repent and confess (yes, to the children, too!) in humility when he messes up, and share ministry work with the child so that they both experience the rewards of serving God. The parent needs to show the child what it means to love God and love others, and help him to exercise loving choices in difficult situations. And the parent needs to love that child completely, wisely, sacrificially, and in ways that the child receives and acknowledges love (his own love language) so that he can understand that his Father in heaven loves him.

      It is in these ways that a parent provides such an abundance of clearly observed and verbally acknowledged clues throughout the life of a child that he can easily discover for himself the truth of God’s existence and His perfect love.

  15. You had my at ‘Jesus loving ninjas!’ So many other great points but I guess I’ll put my two bob in too….

    When I went ‘astray’ as a teenager (for 10 years) I could easily put it down to legalism and hypocrisy. I’m sure others could list many other reasons. However I think the one thing we can all agree on is that there aren’t any guarantees. So, I’m going to continually try two things… PRAYER and BEING REAL. One gives the power right back to God (where it belongs) and the other empowers me to share my faith journey WITH my kids. Watch this space huh?!

  16. If you have faith in God, I challenge you to read Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion with an open mind. It changed my life for the better in so many ways.

    1. Richard Dawkins has never met my wife. If he wrote a book, even a best-seller, putting forth his personal conclusions which, in his mind, prove that my wife does not exist, I would not spend a minute or a penny to read his absurd assertions. I know better. I know my wife and I love my wife. My wife blesses me every day. Why would I give any attention to a fool who told me she doesn’t even exist? The same is true regarding my God.

      I do not use the word “fool” commonly or lightly. But the Bible tells us simply that one who denies the existence of God is a fool. I do not believe that anyone whose life denies God even deserves a hearing. He is stupid and should not be given even a moment to advocate his philosophy of life, especially regarding how and what we teach our children. Solomon taught us to “leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.” (Prov 14:7) Those who subject themselves to the counsel of the foolish and ungodly will suffer loss.

  17. I think that a parents ability to be open and honest about their past & present struggles (when appropriate) is crucial. Likewise, I think it is vitally important for a child to hear their parents say sorry when they have done something wrong. What an amazing example of humbleness and honesty. Children need to see their parents as “real” in order to get a real picture of who Jesus is. In my personal experience, my father was extremely dominating, critical, and harsh and so this was the picture I had of God for so long and it has taken me a very long time to see something different and change my view.

  18. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home and often ask the same questions you are asking here. Our small group once had a couple come and speak to us on parenting. He was a pastor and they raised 4 kids who love and serve God. When he answered the question, he said they never did devotions together…hardly even prayed together outside mealtime and bedtime. But his kids always knew that he loved Jesus. That was it. His life showed that he loved Jesus. Similar to what your in-laws said about God being real. If they can’t see it, they won’t know it and they won’t believe it. May it be so.

  19. *insert jaws music*

    I have to tell you I laughed out loud.

    So – until recently my husband was a megapastor. And I have to tell you I was terrified of what complexes our children would end up with – either holier than thou (which I have seen and it is not pretty) or rebel and DIEHARD (neither an attractive option).

    This is a great blog post…and there are hard hard questions that I do not think christendom in it’s current form can answer.

  20. Interesting post. I, too, grew up in a Christian home and had some years “away,” even after graduating from Christian college. I think some of the missing keys for me was personalizing my relationship with Christ. I had a lot of questions growing up that adults seemed afraid or unequipped to answer, and I in no way, until college, had like-minded friends for support or accountability. Anyway, post-rebellion and now a mom, I get a whole lot more now. We have a 7-year-old son and are doing everything we can to give him the foundation he needs to succeed in his faith. I’d like to recommend a book I just started reading that I’m very excited about by Dr. Tony Evans called “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” He says, “It’s far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith.” It’s all about equipping for me – both parents and kids – to understand the “why.” God is personal, not legalistic. There are free downloadable samples on his website. I think you might enjoy it. I highly recommend it!

  21. Many kids are inherently skeptical and become atheists. It’s not that they don’t love God, it’s that they don’t believe God exists and therefore all the followup biblical dogma is completely false. A young person’s faith choices are theirs to make not yours. If they don’t believe the universe is operated by a magic celestial super being (primacy of consciousness) but instead undirected, naturalistic explanations (primacy of existence) that is entirely their prerogative. I see nothing wrong with this.

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