Train Up a Child: Messages from Students and Teachers

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Who said this . . . and millions listened?

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. . . .

Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

Some of you may have guessed already. If not, this quote should help:

The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.

The late scientist Carl Sagan is well known for that last line. It opened his famous 1980 Cosmos TV series. A book of the same name was co-developed to go with the series. Really, the message Carl Sagan broadcast to the world was that there’s no ultimate purpose and meaning in life. In his view, the earth is not special, and humans are just a part of this evolving cosmos. The series could have been called Atheism instead!

All this was brought to mind recently as I read an article about Sagan’s daughter. She recently published a book that expounds on what her father taught her about searching for meaning and purpose without God. Like her father, Sasha Sagan firmly believes in a cosmos that exists solely because of natural processes. Many articles about her new book have appeared, and what I noticed is how often Sasha refers to her parents and what they taught her.

That is a sober reminder of the enormous responsibility parents have in teaching their children. The Israelites were reminded in Deuteronomy 6 and Deuteronomy 11 that they were to teach their children in everything they do—when they lie down, rise up, walk, and sit down.

Parents, and specifically the father as the spiritual head, are commanded by God to train up children in the ways of the Lord.

Parents, and specifically the father as the spiritual head, are commanded by God to train up children in the ways of the Lord. You can certainly see the influence that atheistic parents had on Sasha Sagan as she testifies again and again about what her parents taught her about life.

What a reminder to those of us who are parents that we must teach our children not just what to think but how to think. In this way, they will be better equipped to defend the Christian faith.

Sadly, most Christian parents have handed their children’s training over to secular teachers and professors. Even more, they’ve done so without giving their children in-depth foundational Bible teaching and equipping them with the apologetics needed in order to answer the secular attacks. As a result, the majority are walking away from the church after being indoctrinated with views that people like Sasha Sagan hold.

This massive exodus from the church is one of the major reasons I believe the Lord has raised up the Answers in Genesis ministry. We want to challenge Christians to believe God’s Word in Genesis. We also want to equip parents to raise up godly generations who know what they believe . . . and why they believe it.

We firmly believe that students are capable of boldly and unashamedly proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and defending the Christian faith. So much of what we do at AiG is to help Christian parents not produce more Sasha Sagans!

I’ve often said I would so love for you to hear the testimonies of people who talk to me about how AiG has impacted their lives and their families. I would also love for you to read the numerous positive letters and emails we receive. This month I felt compelled to do just that, as I believe it will encourage you and delight your soul.

A teacher from a Christian school in Ohio wrote to me saying, “My [8th grade 13-year-old] students have been so engaged in class this year because of the articles we’ve read from Answers magazine.” She explained that as a result of reading an article, one student wanted to write to me, and others sought to write prominent atheists Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins. I’ve copied sections of the actual letters and have included these for you to read. They will make your day!

Below is a section of a student letter sent to me:

This week, we read an article that talked about how secular scientists feel about creationists and their beliefs. Many of their statements were directed toward parents for supposedly raising their children without common sense and for discouraging them to think and question the universe we live in. Others insulted creationists calling them ignorant, stupid, and wicked.

I disagree with all of these statements. At my school, we are taught about both secular and creationist worldview, so I don’t think we are taught to be ignorant at all.

Student letters to Bill Nye:

letters

Personally, I am a Christian, but I still respect your work as a famous scientist. I just don’t understand why you chose to believe we’re all accidents. I mean, you’re a great person, Mr. Nye, really! I’m just confused that you and other people would dedicate your life to science when your science says everything is meaningless. Wouldn’t you rather believe that there is a God who has everything in control, only doing things with your best interests in mind? God loves you, Mr. Nye, even when you turn away from Him, He will never turn away from you.

I want you to know that your academic accomplishments aren’t what define you. God defines you and still loves you even though you aren’t a Christian yet, same goes for others too.

If someone told me to stop believing everything I had believed so long and devoted my life to, I might not want to believe them either. I would Harden my heart. I pray that your heart will soften and you’ll be able to realize God’s love for you and get saved. God wants your broken self, not your prideful self. Pride is what is hardening your heart so when you hear God’s voice you don’t believe it. Don’t let your pride get in the way of salvation. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “All of you, clothe yourself with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”

I am a Christian. I love God and I love God’s people, that includes you and everyone in this world. We are all God’s children, and like in the story of the prodigal son, and every other teenager, we don’t always listen to our parents, and in this case God is our parent. Even though we may not listen or obey them, that does not mean that our parents do not love us. I know that you may not listen to me, in fact it is a very small chance of that. But God calls us to plant the seed, and I know that you probably have had many people try to do that for you, and who am I a 13 year old girl to preach to you, when you have talked to people on fire for Christ. But God hears our prayers and he will listen so everyday I will pray for you.

This week we read an article about “answering atheists.” And it says in the article that you said “Parents who teach their children creation will rob them of the critical thinking skills necessary to thrive in a scientific age.” I humbly disagree with this statement because in my science class we are taught both secular and biblical views and that has really enhanced my critical thinking skills not rob them. Everyday we learn something new from both sides and it really gives me a new perspective in science.

I have heard about your beliefs in Atheism, and even more specifically in an article I read. I respectfully disagree. The article I read stated that you claim creationists are discouraging the next generation from thinking critically. I am a Creationist, and I am not ashamed to say it, but before you put this paper down, please let me explain.

How is teaching children the Creation story discouraging and removing critical thinking? I find that since I go through life with a Biblical worldview, it forces me to think critically more often. I have to analyze the situations I go through and make the best decision I can. When I hear something or want to do or say something, I think of what I should, shouldn’t, and could do to best honor God.

Student letters to Richard Dawkins:

I completely respect your beliefs and actions, but I would like to politely reject that you call non-evolutionists, or creationists, insane and wicked. I think that you shouldn’t call people things without looking at things from their perspective. If you were a biblical creationist I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want people calling you stupid or insane.

I read that you believe that "ignorant" creationists won’t even look at the evidence for evolution. In this letter, I would like to discuss this topic with you, if you don’t mind reading on. I know you probably get many letters from creationists trying to convince you that they’re right, but I am not writing to you just to be right, but because I want you to someday have the gift of Jesus Christ in your heart.

The teacher concluded by saying that she’s so inspired by Answers in Genesis:

I included those letters because I wanted to afirm what you’re doing at Answers in Genesis. You’ve inspired us, helped strengthen our faith and critical thinking skills, and have given us a reason to pray for those misguided by secular science.

Don’t those letters just bless your soul? We receive many such letters. I also receive numerous letters from very young children with artwork showing Noah’s Ark or dinosaurs. I love to see the younger generations being impacted by the biblical and scientific teaching proclaimed by AiG through resources (books and videos, etc.), the website (see also our kids site!), social media, and our two major attractions, the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter.

This observation is one of the reasons AiG decided that throughout 2020, we would change our pricing structure for the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum to allow free admission for all children aged ten and under.

It’s all part of helping to raise godly generations who will stand boldly on the truth of God’s Word and be shining lights in this dark world.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6.

I urge you to prayerfully consider sending a monetary gift to AiG’s core ministry to support our ongoing commitment to equip children—and to see them confidently defend God’s Word and proclaim its life-changing gospel message.

Your support enables us to develop our many youth-focused resources and to allow free admission to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter for children ten and under this year.

Your gifts and prayers are a tremendous blessing! Thank you for helping this ministry raise young and old alike to defend the authority of God’s Word.

Sincerely in Christ,
Ken

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