The notion of raising a child with an “unbiased worldview” is growing increasingly popular. Parents want to raise children who are “free to find their own spirituality” without the bias of the parent’s preference. Conversely, attempting to raise a child with a biblical worldview seems to be going the way of high water pants and dial-up internet access. Not only is it unpopular, it’s often viewed as arrogant, controlling, and close-minded. Parents are seen as “imposing their worldview” upon their children, even “brainwashing” them.
The issue is so loaded that I’ve heard Christian parents question whether or not they should raise their children spiritually “neutral.” It just seems so intolerant, even manipulative, to teach an impressionable young child that God is real. That God created her in His own image for His own glory. That she inherited a sin nature from Adam. And that God loves her so passionately that He Himself died in her place to save her.
But here’s the bottom line–every parent raises their child with a biased worldview. We are constantly teaching our children how to view the world, whether we “mean to” or not. Every time they see us rejoice or get angry, we are teaching them something about what we value. The fact that you probably choose to raise your children in a home, with food and clothing teaches them that you find those things important. And if you get down on one knee and tell them that they can determine who God is for themselves, or that they can accept or reject any religion with no consequences–you are not raising them spiritually neutral. You are raising them with a very particular, biased worldview.
Thus the question isn’t should we influence our child’s worldview. Like it or not, we’re already doing that. The real question is how should we influence it? If you are a believer, the Bible gives you an answer. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, after exhorting the Israelites to love the One True God with their whole hearts, Moses issues a mighty charge: “And these words…shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Clearly Christians are to be intentional about raising their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Pro. 19:18, 22:6, 23:19; Eph 6:4) recognizing that only God has the power to save (John 6:44). Fulfilling this biblical mandate is loving not controlling. Think about it this way–you and I teach our children countless things from the moment they’re born. We teach them that the bump below their eyes is called a “nose” and that cows say “moo.” Nobody calls us close-minded or accuses us of “brainwashing” when we do this. Inherently, they recognize our teaching as truth. So dear Christian, if you really believe Christ’s claims are as true and real as the nose on your daughter’s face, how could you not teach them to her? How could you withhold the very Truth that has the power to save her soul on the grounds of allowing her the freedom to “find her own way”? If you’re willing to teach her that there’s a nose on her face, be willing to teach her the truths that matter so much more than that.
If you don’t believe the claims of Christ, then I understand why you wouldn’t teach them to your children. I don’t judge you for influencing your child according to your personal beliefs. But I do urge you not to judge Christians for doing the same thing, and not to deceive yourself into believing you are raising your child neutrally.
One final thing: To those of you who don’t know what you think of God, to those who are indifferent to Him, and those who hate Him–I wholeheartedly believe God loves you more than you could ever fathom (Romans 5:6-8) and longs to have a relationship with you (2 Peter 3:9). Regardless of what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, He is faithful and trustworthy. He is capable of bringing beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3), of restoring what’s been lost (Joel 2:25), and of making you a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
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14 thoughts on “Can You Really Raise a Child with an Unbiased Worldview?”
THANK YOU for this post! It is so refreshing to read about this issue from someone who has the same views as me as I JUST had a heated facebook debate about it and sadly was the only one who felt the way you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Yet another great article! I second what the previous comment said. Those of us who feel this way are few and far between anymore. Thanks for the encouragement. I love the comparison of the truth of the nose as well. 🙂
Well said! If I believe we are lost to our sin without Christ, and therefore doomed to an eternity apart from Him, than how could I NOT impress the importance of embracing Christ on to my children? As parents it is our job to try to shape our children into the kind of adults we would want them to be. I want my children to grow up to be respectful, so I teach them to say “please” and “thank you.” I want my children to be kind, so I teach them not to treat other kids rudely or to make fun of others. I want my children to be intelligent, so I teach them to do their homework and study for tests — to do their very best in school and to listen to their teachers. Well, I also want my children to love God and become disciples of Christ, so I teach them to pray and read their Bible. Although I believe this is the very most important lesson I will teach them, in many ways it is no different from the other lessons we try to impart to our children on a daily basis. As parents, it is our JOB to teach our children the lessons they need to know in life, and this lesson is by far the most important!
It’s great to hear this explained so well, most non-Christians seem to not realise that they are still teaching a world-view to children. I feel under pressure for teaching biblical truth to my girls, like some-how I am denying them the ‘freedom of choice’. Thanks for this post!
Wonderful post! As a follower of Christ, why would I want to deny His wonderful Truths from my children, regardless of what the world believes? This world is extremely fickle in what is cool, what is not, what to believe, etc. and will eventually pass away. I would prefer to cling to the everlasting, unchanging Rock. 🙂
Another scripture came to mind as I read your thoughtful inclusion of the scripture in Deuteronomy. I hope you don’t mind my adding a verse that I consider scripture, but isn’t part on your canon:
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” – 2 Nephi 25:26 (Book of Mormon – I really hope that isn’t offensive. You can delete my comment if need be. Please know I share it with the best of intentions, just as a fellow mom!)
Training our children’s hearts on God isn’t for our benefit(as I think the secular community views our motivation). It’s because we have tasted of joy and redemption and want to share those ‘fruits’ with them. I consider it a moral obligation to help my boys establish a moral compass, based in faith, hope, and charity.
Thank you. I can’t express how wonderful it is not to feel alone in society in the defense of faith in God.
Wow! Beautifully said!
It really comes down to what you believe to be Truth. When you’re pressed, do you claim Scripture as God’s Truth? If so, then there just is no other way about it.
Thanks for being a clear voice in a world that is often muddy with half-truths.
Such a great encouragement for Christian parents to not feel defensive or apologetic for teaching our children the truths of God. So well saidThank you.
That’s very good. So well said.
On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM, Loving My Lot
Awesome post!! I love every word of it. Your wisdom and insight is always spot on, and I love how you shared such a loving graceful invitation at the end- Sharing… 🙂
Thanks! sharing this with our school families.