I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since we started blogging and producing books for Picture Book Apologetics! That’s crazy talk, since it feels like it can’t have been more than a year? Then again, in those 4 years, we’ve made 70 blog posts, started up Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, and produced 5 children’s books (9 if you count the translated versions, and 11 if you count the 2 that will drop before the end of this year!). Not to mention the 2 children that have joined our family during that time. I suppose it really HAS been 4 years.
apologetics for kids
This summer, our church’s Sunday School program pulled together a curriculum for the K-5th grade students. They focused on God and science. Biologists, mathematicians, astronomers, nurses, and chemists from our church congregation presented lessons to the children each Sunday morning, accompanied by group experiments, worship songs, and more. The kids came alive with each presentation and excitedly discussed God and science in one breath. We could all see that something uniquely important had taken place this summer. God and science aren’t two opposed “things” to these children; they go hand in hand. It was a beautiful effort on the part of our teachers and members, and is one of the many reasons we’re thankful to presently be part of this church body.
Let’s begin in the beginning; the beginning of the universe, that is!
(This article will attempt to explain in simplified terms the Kalam Cosmological Argument, so that it can be easily relayed to young children. Quick conversation examples and resources can be found at the bottom of the article.)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” Isaiah 45:12
This Friday, we pulled together a few videos from around YouTube for young and old(er)!
For the Young:
ApologetiX – Baa! We’re Lambs (parody of “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys) Simple, truth based lyrics with simple, cute lambs.
Hip Hip Hooray – Hippopotamous by Mary Rice Hopkins Get ready to have this song stuck in your head for weeks. Presents the creation story and praises God’s good work… plus there is hippo dancing.
For the Young Adult:
These three “Think for a Minute” videos are just a sampling of what we found on Apologetics Canada’s YouTube page. Each is well made and takes a brief look at some question that Christian apologetics seek to answer. Their website offers some valuable resources as well.
Does God Exist?
What is Evil?
Is Jesus God?
Have you seen something particularly helpful or interesting on YouTube lately? We’d love to hear about it! 6 days to go on the Picture Book Apologetics Kickstarter project…
We were excited to pick up a copy of the first book in the Young Defenders series, How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis, this week. Below, we will share briefly what we found to be the pros and cons of the book.
- Presents important Christian apologetic arguments in a children’s medium.
- The flow of conversation seems natural, and the young character’s imagination is endearing.
- The young character’s father is patient and thorough as he shares evidence for God’s existence.
- This book addresses the gap. That is, the lack of Christian apologetics materials available to families with young children. We look forward to seeing the next topic addressed by Travis!
- Written by a graduate of the well-respected Christian Apologetics Masters program at Biola University. We didn’t have to be as apprehensive about the theological undergirding of the material.
- Good Quality. The physical product is a sturdy, 48 page, hardcover book.
- The words are legible and readable.
- The illustrations are full-color and full-page. From artist Christopher Voss.
- At times complex for the assumed age range. At times, the language seems appropriate for young children, but at others, it seems to be for 5th grade and older. An adult can help clarify for younger kiddos.
- The illustrations have a “rough draft” flavor. Part of us wishes they had been polished a bit more, and the other part of us realizes children will probably not be bothered by this at all!
Do We Recommend it?
Despite the cons that we laid out above, we think that this book is a useful, entertaining tool that can help families begin conversations about why they believe in the Christian God. It is so important to begin these discussions at a young age, and to assure our children that asking questions is encouraged and biblical. We look forward to more Young Defender books, as well as other authors stepping into the youth apologetics gap.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’” (Matthew 22:37)
Read more about Melissa Cain Travis’ quest in Biola Magazine.
Pick up a copy here: How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis (2013)
Have you ever heard someone say, “True for you, but not for me”? How about, “You shouldn’t tell people what to do”? Of course you have! But did you know that those are signs that that person doesn’t think there is absolute moral truth? That’s relativism!
In other words, they think that there isn’t any truth that is true for everyone. Instead they think that truth is subjective(determined by personal feelings and beliefs, “I think it is this way, so it is this way for me.”) rather than objective(not determined by personal feelings and beliefs, “It is this way even if I don’t think it is this way.”). Relativism is very problematic, for a number of reasons, and we will explore a few of the reasons below.
One day, Absolute Andy and Relative Rita are playing at the park. Relative Rita sees a swing that she really wants to play with, but another child (we’ll call her Unfortunate Uma) is already on the swing. Rita shoves Uma off the swing and happily begins swinging!
Absolute Andy: Rita! Why did you take the swing from Uma? That was a really mean thing to do and it was wrong for you to take it. You should say you’re sorry!
Unfortunate Uma: *sniffle, sniffle, sob*
Relative Rita: *rolls her eyes* It is wrong for YOU to tell ME what I should and shouldn’t do! Just because you think it’s wrong doesn’t mean I have to. You shouldn’t tell me what to do!
Do you see what happened there? Rita told Andy 3 things. (1) She said that taking Uma’s swing wasn’t wrong because she didn’t think it was wrong, (2) she said that it was wrong for Andy to tell her it was wrong, and (3) she told Andy he shouldn’t tell her what to do! This is an example of moral relativism. Rita is saying that things aren’t objectively right or wrong unless she agrees that they are right or wrong. She says that if she doesn’t think shoving and stealing are wrong, then they really aren’t wrong for her to do. Let’s think about what Rita said.
Do you think it is okay to steal? Probably not. How about to punch someone for no reason? Of course not! If a person like Rita, who thinks that truth and right and wrong are subjective, in order to be consistent, they would have to say it is okay for people to punch other people for no reason at all! Does that sound like a good way to think? I sure hope not. In the same way, your friend can tell you all day that he thinks the sky is green, and he might even really believe that, but it doesn’t actually make the sky green, does it? That is a small example of a thing that is true whether you think it is or not. I’ll bet you can think of lots of things like that.
There is one more thing we should notice about the story. Did you catch that Rita said it was wrong for Andy to tell her stealing the swing was wrong? She told him not to tell her what to do! She was doing the very thing she was saying was wrong. Isn’t that a confusing way to think? A lot of the people you will talk to who say things like this haven’t thought carefully about what they believe. This kind of relativism is often just an excuse for them to behave however they want. They may say it’s wrong to stop people from doing things you think are wrong, but if you tell them “Alright, I am going to steal your iPod because I think it is OK,” and start to take it, I’ll bet they’ll try very hard to stop you(That’s just an example of a way to get them to think about what they are saying; obviously you shouldn’t ever steal anything).
Moral relativism is full of things called logical fallacies, and we will look at logical fallacies in a future article. It is important to know about moral relativism, because sometimes people say that Christians shouldn’t tell other people that things are wrong or true. You’ll hear “be tolerant of other beliefs,” but what they are usually really saying is “we don’t like what you believe, because it isn’t what we believe, so stop telling us about it.” Our God has told us truths that are true for everyone, and it is our job as His followers to defend that truth and share it with others. Even Jesus called himself “the way, the truth, and the life!” Truth is really important! For now, let’s see how Andy responds to Rita!
Relative Rita: It is wrong for you to tell me what to do!
Absolute Andy: May I ask you a question, Rita?
Relative Rita: Well, I guess. What?
Absolute Andy: If it is wrong for me to tell you that it was wrong to shove and steal from Uma, then why is it okay for YOU to tell ME that it is wrong to correct you?
Relative Rita: Uuh, I don’t know, I guess that doesn’t really make sense, but still, that doesn’t mean it was wrong for me to take this swing.
Absolute Andy: Hmm. I guess in that case I will just shove you off the swing and take it for myself. *Andy starts walking closer to Rita’s swing with his arms outstretched*
Relative Rita: No don’t!! That’s not fair!!!
Absolute Andy: Exactly! I wasn’t really going to shove you, but I wanted you to see that you’re being silly. Let’s go apologize to Uma.
More in-depth resources about Moral Relativism for parents and young adults:
This short, informative video, created by Nathan Hoffman, addresses a commonly raised objection about the accuracy of the Bible: unicorns!
We were fortunate enough to see this video shared on Facebook, and hope that it proves to be an interesting watch for you as well. Why does the Bible mention unicorns? Aren’t those things mythical? What is going on?? Watch with your kiddos, or explain what you learn to them as you read the verses provided in the video and in the article we’ve linked to below.
You can follow the link to the original article on Creationtoday.org. Enjoy!
Today we are reviewing a Christian apologetics book written for the 9 and up crowd, titled Case for Faith for Kids(Updated and Expanded). It was written by Lee Strobel, bestselling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator and holder of law and journalism degrees; Rob Suggs, author and illustrator of several children’s book projects; and Robert Elmer, author of numerous novels including books for young readers.
Reading Strobel’s “The Case for…” series for the first time several years ago was a groundbreaking experience for me. It was my first foray into the land of Christian apologetics, and I quickly discovered that Strobel’s books were written in such a way that reading them never felt like drudgery, though they dealt with philosophical, historical and technical subjects. By presenting the evidence and terminology in plain language, “The Case for…” books invite Christians to ask tough questions, think more deeply, and find solid answers about their faith, Creator, and Savior. So, as I began reading Case for Faith for Kids, I was interested to see how Strobel would present the information without causing mental fatigue and subsequent brain shutdown in young readers.
In 144 pages, Case for Faith for Kids details several common objections and assertions presented by non-believers and skeptics(and even, regrettably, some believers), and then provides reasoned answers to the objections. The authors manage to distill a wealth of logical and philosophical arguments into language and arguments that are appropriate for young readers. For example, the first subject tackled is a big question: “Why would a good god allow bad things?” In brief interview-style segments and plainly worded “bad thing” scenarios, readers are walked through a concise explanation of the nature of evil, God’s role in evil, and free will. By the end of the chapter, the problem of personal and natural evil is determined to be the result of mankind’s free will choices, rather than machinations of God. Sophisticated arguments undergird the highly accessible language and format of this and the other four chapters in Part 1 of the book.
Part 2 contains four vignettes that directly relate to the material covered in Part 1. One of the stories depicts several young people attempting to sneak into a movie showing using counterfeit tickets. The realistic scenario covers the material presented in Chapter 4 – whether the world’s religions all lead to the same God – and serves as a cautionary tale against compromising one’s morals. The book ends with an exhortation to decide which of the four “D”s the reader will become; will they become a Denier, Delayer, Departer or Delighter?
The facts + story + application approach applied by Strobel et al. seems to be an effective technique for transferring the information to young minds and then helping it to stick. For children in junior high and high school, the wording(it can seem a bit condescending to the older crowd at times as it attempts to use “hip” lingo), scenarios, and illustrations may be too childish, and the original The Case for Faith may be more edifying and suitable.
Overall, the usefulness of this book is twofold. On the one hand, for a child 9+ years of age, it is appropriate reading material and a springboard for further apologetical investigation. On the other hand, the book will prove handy for parents who would like to acquire language and examples that can be shared conversationally with older children or quickly adapted for conversations with children younger than 9.
I would recommend Case for Faith for Kids as a good tool for beginning conversations about deep, faith-related issues, firming up belief foundations, and reassuring young children that it is okay to ask the big questions.
This is not the time to be a weak-minded Christian.
Today, Christians around the world face daily challenges similar(and in some cases, disturbingly identical) to the challenges God fearing men and women faced long ago in the time of the Canaanites and more recently in the time of the Romans. In Western society, a climate of persecution is percolating that should be regarded by believers with wariness, tempered trepidation and faithful determination. In the United States, we watch as absolute morality slips through the fingertips of the nation, and gives way to rampant baby killing, flagrant sexual deviance, open pursuit of a quieted Church, and inculcation of bad thinking and bad ideas at young ages in our children without our consent.