Indoctrination or Intelligent Faith?

By Lisa Quintana

I was blessed to be able to watch a recent presentation by Elizabeth Urbanowicz, who will be one of the breakout speakers in our upcoming WIA conference, Find Your Voice, at Biola University this January.

Elizabeth is a former elementary school teacher who has had years of practice educating children on how to think critically about the Christian worldview. She was asked so often for information on this topic, that she’s developed a school curriculum on the subject. It’s called Foundation, and it is designed to get kids to wrestle with ideas by asking good questions and finding reasonable answers.

In her breakout session at a recent apologetics conference, Elizabeth’s goal was for attendees to be able to articulate three steps needed to equip children with an intelligent faith.

The first step in equipping our kids is to talk less and ask more questions. Elizabeth gave examples of how parents typically ask questions that are not very open-ended, so children tend to answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” This doesn’t require much thinking on the child’s part. To get kids thinking, parents should not presuppose an answer. In other words, don’t already give the answer in the question asked (e.g. asking why is abortion bad indirectly tells the kid that abortion is bad). She went on to provide examples of how parents can phrase questions to their kids in a manner that requires them to learn how to defend various positions.

The second step that Elizabeth recommended for equipping kids with an intelligent faith is to have a game plan. She encourages the cultivation of an environment where thinkers are made, and gives several steps on how this can be accomplished. We need to explore what concepts are important to the children in our lives simply because we love them.

Finally, Elizabeth says parents (or anyone working with children) need to prioritize truth and love in their relationships. When these two things are combined, children learn that it’s safe to ask the hard questions.

Elizabeth pointed out that too many children tend to separate thinking and religious belief. Many believe that religious belief is a matter of opinion, not objective truth. This can stem from how they’ve been taught to “parrot back” answers in church, she said. This needs to change.

Elizabeth has the tools to teach us how to make this change. Together, we can raise children who are not simply indoctrinated but have an intelligent faith based on reason and critical thinking.

Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s breakout session this January at the WIA conference, and learn some tools on how you can raise children with a solid foundation based on a thoughtful Christian worldview.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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