Family, Faith, and Apologetics

Family, Faith, and Apologetics

On the way home from a fishing trip (no catching, just fishing), one of my sons asked, “Dad, how do we know that Christianity is correct and what people of other religions believe is not?” After a moment of panic as I thought about how to answer, I decided to bounce the question back to him. He responded something to the effect of “Christianity seems to make the most sense.”

His answer impressed me and not just because of fatherly pride. It recognized a profound principle—the things we believe and teach our children to believe, if they have any lasting value, should be grounded in truth. How, then, can we help our kids discern truth amid the noise of viewpoints competing for their attention? Science can help test the truthfulness of different religions and worldviews.

Developments in big bang cosmology demonstrate that the universe began to exist. The spacetime fabric of the universe has steadily expanded since the earliest moments after creation. The laws of physics show exquisite fine-tuning in order for galaxies, stars, and planets to form.

Eventually, Earth formed in an uninhabitable state (despite being covered in liquid water). The collision of a Mars-sized object helped clear Earth’s atmosphere and formed the Moon that stabilizes Earth’s rotation. The existence of a long-standing, stable water cycle distinguishes Earth from every other planet in the solar system (and possibly the galaxy). Continents formed a constant presence on Earth between 3.5–1.0 billion years ago. Life appeared quickly — early in Earth’s history — and exhibited a remarkable complexity.

Christianity anticipates these discoveries, with descriptions of creation in the Bible mirroring the sequence I described. Beyond that, Christianity seems to provide the only worldview that anchors all the necessary requirements of a vibrant scientific enterprise. It’s no coincidence that modern science arose, flourished, and endured in the Judeo-Christian culture of Europe.

In spite of this agreement between Christianity and scientific data, I often hear people claim that religion encourages belief and faith while science operates on reason and fact—as if belief and reason, faith and fact were completely unrelated. Yet, the Bible contains numerous passages that charge us to trust the facts, to believe what is true (e.g., Matthew 11:2–6).

My wife and I desire that our kids learn to believe the truth. We regularly try to discuss the basics of Christianity with them and, even more importantly, explain the reasons and evidences that support the validity of those basics. Science apologetics provides a great toolbox for demonstrating the truth of Christianity. Without such tools, I wouldn’t know how to help my kids follow the Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”