Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A FastPass for Heaven...and Other Myths to Help Your Children Debunk

I was listening to sports talk radio the other day, and Scott Van Pelt was discussing the illness of a legendary broadcaster. He eloquently described how great of a person this man has been--how much integrity, diligence, and kindness he has seen displayed in his life. And then he made this leap of logic and said something to the effect of:

"If there is a heaven, then he is someone who doesn't even have to wait in line to get in. He has lived the type of life that has earned him the right to bypass everybody else and just give Saint Peter a nod as he walks through the gates."

If you've ever been to Disney World and used their FastPass system, that's almost what Van Pelt was describing. While everybody else is waiting, this broadcaster has earned the right to walk right into God's presence....I doubt he thinks that this is exactly how things would play out....But the general principle he was laying out is one with which most people in our society agree whole-heartedly: Good people are allowed into heaven--especially those who seem to be a cut above the rest of their fellow humans.

But parents, when we hear things like this on the radio or see philosophies like this portrayed in television shows, cartoons, movies, or books we read, we need to help our children learn to think biblically. They are constantly interacting with beliefs that fly in the face of the Bible's teachings. Unfortunately, these often are subtle and go unnoticed and undiscussed. So let's be careful to take the time to discuss what authors/speakers/actors are really saying and why their views do not line up with a biblical view of the world.

For example, if you are a father and were listening to Scott Van Pelt on the radio with your son and heard him make this off-handed comment about heaven, you could ask, "what do you think of what he just said?" This would be a great opportunity to discuss how all of us--even those who appear the most godly--are unworthy before God, how God is our ultimate Judge rather than the apostle Peter, and how Christ is the only One worthy of heaven. This would help your son remember to trust in Christ for his salvation rather than starting to trust in his own good behavior....It wouldn't have to be a long conversation, but having short dialogue with our kids about these flawed philosophies will help them sharpen the Truth in their minds.

Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to help your children debunk common myths and misperceptions (e.g. God is an old man in the sky, Jesus was just a great teacher, we become angels when we die, the earth is millions of years old, man has evolved from monkeys, etc.). And continually point them back to the Bible for the only proper understanding of reality.

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