Truthiness and the Christian Life

What does your child believe about Truth? Could there be a difference in what you think they believe and what they actually believe?

Recently in a middle school girls Connect Group class a conversation about truthiness came up. Merriam-Webster defines truthiness as a “truthful or seemingly truthful quality that is claimed for something not because of supporting facts or evidence but because of a feeling that it is true or a desire for it to be true.” The greatest distinction here is that truthiness does not have to be true to be accepted as true. When it comes to truth, it is either subjective or absolute. Absolute truth is a separate transcendent source for this truth that will make it always true in every circumstance to all peoples of all times. Subjective truth is value chosen to be correct by an individual or a group of individuals. In the latter, people hold the power for truth.

In this class, the topic of homosexuality came up because of the topic of truthiness. Generally speaking, the course of events is reversed, but a student brought up the subject as an example of what some people determine as truth or not. Neither she nor the teacher expected the ensuing debate.

The girls were split in determining the morality of LGBTQ+. Over half of the girls argued for the legitimacy and acceptability of the LGBTQ+ movement. A portion of the girls remained quiet, possibly due to naïveté or the desire to avoid confrontation. A small minority of girls took up the opinion of traditional Christianity. The conversation included quotes like: “I know the Bible says this, but I don’t think it’s right. If they love each other, who are we to say they are wrong. What makes us right?”

Now, before I continue, there is some information about this discussion I find intriguing. First, the group of girls are predominantly raised in the church. Since the COVID outbreak, we have seen a decrease in non-Christian visitors to our small groups. Thus, most of these students have parents who attend our church as well, and their parents seek to raise them with Christian values. Second, the group is a blend of public, private, home, and Co-op school students. There was no clear distinction between the public and home school students on this topic. Some parents choose to remove their children from public school specifically because fo this topic, but based on this conversation, there has been little effect. Third, the most vocal and theologically accurate defendant of the biblical position was a public school student!

This shows that cultural subjectivity is much more pervasive than what school child attends, who their friend groups are, and what curriculum they are learning. Apparently, as long as your child does not live off the grid. in complete isolation then culture is going to sway his/her opinions towards truth.

Over the last few weeks, I have had passing conversations with parents of students in this class to get their perspective. Most of these well-meaning Christian parents immediately and fearfully asked if their child was in the majority or not. Only dad said he wasn’t surprised. Interestingly, the father who said this was the father of the girl who defended the Scriptures so well!

I would like to encourage you to pause and consider this thought: Do we as parents avoid topics because of fearing our children will not believe our Christian values? I am guilty of this one. In the interest of protecting my child, I naively assume that by not approaching the topic, they will not be exposed to the idea. Instead, I should probably more more intentional about being proactive with my children about truth and where that truth comes from.

This conversation I had with parents displayed that the parents who were the most proactive in the Christian discipleship of their children had children who were most prepared to engage culture with biblical truth. I’m sure what school you send your child to does in fact make a difference in this area, but based entirely on this one anecdote, it did not. Raising our children to know truth, recognize it, and engage it is not something that can be outsourced. It must come from an intentional parent, who wants to pass down the truth of Scripture they have learned to their children.