Boomers, Gen X and even most Millennials have largely made up their minds. They were born and raised at a time in America when the vast majority of parents and friends were Christians. They’ve grown up around church, known many believers, and years ago came to a decision about Jesus – yea or nay. By virtue of their age and long-held stance, it’s hard to win older Americans over to Christ or atheism.
However, the impressionable youth of our country, Gen Z, are still forming opinions or can be more easily swayed, caught between the influence of predominantly Christian parents and post-Christian friends. The struggle for the hearts and minds of our children is the true battleground, a fact not lost on professors, politicians, businesses, and activists bent on reshaping the future of our nation.
Every year that passes, populations representing prior generations decrease, taking with them the Christian values and morals they espoused. To ensure each deceased believer is replaced with an “enlightened” youth, universities and media are working overtime to instill the 7 pillars of social “progress” (i.e. no offense, no sin, no conscience, no consequences, no identity, no religion, no truth). With those pillars in place, evangelism becomes ineffective (at best) or outlawed (at worst).
Christ-followers know Jesus eventually prevails because we’ve read the end of the story (i.e. the Bible), but deluded “atheists” hope that secularizing the next generation will insulate our culture from a return to faith. They envision a utopia of progressive humanism and unrestrained decadence. This isn’t the first attempt in world history to snuff out Christianity – and like most, it may have the opposite effect.
The Battle Plan
Jesus spoke of a childlike faith that trusts in our loving Father for provision and instruction. A child’s healthy growth and development requires dependence on others for support and guidance. Children in their formative years can’t assert independence from external influence, establish identity without association, or develop intellect without conditioning.
- Independence: Youth must rely on someone…the question is who
- Identity: Youth will belong to something…the question is what
- Intellect: Youth need to learn everything…the question is from whom
In other words, will Gen Z in America be influenced and conditioned more by God or by those who don’t have their best interests at heart? Secularism’s (false) promise is freedom from the shackles of religion, but its reality is captivity in chains of sin and hopelessness. The fact is Satan is a far more stringent taskmaster than our loving Father. To deflect attention from that deception, social “influencers” accuse Christianity of the same crime secularism is busy committing – a coordinated campaign to gain control over our children’s lives, in this case wrestling it away from God and (Christian) parents.
The following are 7 messages being drilled into the heads of Gen Z today to position Christianity as a threat to their independence, identity, and intellect. However, each is a bill of goods, based on empty promises intended to curtail freedom, define identity, and steer thinking:
1. “Parents Are Out of Touch”
Presupposition: Christian parents corrupt their children by teaching them arcane views of morality (e.g. gender and chastity).
Misconception: A sense of permanent belonging (as a child of an earthly dad and heavenly Father) can be supplanted by transient professors and friends – and trusted to reset outdated moral standards.
Deception: The real intent isn’t about an awakening sheltered youth but breaking the ties with family and God that hinder the conformance needed to govern a populace (power) and consumerism needed to fuel an economy (profit).
Proposition: A child’s first love is a dad and mom. We were also created to be children of God. When we’re born, parents are our protectors and providers, which is exactly what God is when we are reborn. However, churches have mistakenly emphasized joining a church family more than becoming a child of our Father – making it easier for youth to decide to join other communities (of non-believers) more accepting of immorality.
2. “Trust Your Own Judgment”
Presupposition: At a young age we know what’s best for ourselves and shouldn’t be told what to do or think by parents or pastors.
Misconception: Children can form completely independent thoughts and world views, not malleable or manipulated by the whims and vagaries of culture.
Deception: Once liberated from the influence of families and God, young minds can be reprogrammed to dictate what they must think or face ostracization from “decent” society.
Proposition: What do we know that wasn’t taught to us? What matters is the reliability of those sources of information. The Bible, scrutinized for thousands of years and yet to be discredited, is more trustworthy than the learned secular voices in science, medicine, finance, academia, and media who are so often proven wrong. Churches and Christians shouldn’t soft-pedal or dilute the truths of God’s Word, trying to make it more palatable.
3. “Leaders Care About the Issues”
Presupposition: Politicians and pundits are deeply concerned about and fully convinced of the ability of young children to determine their own gender, make life-altering decisions, and conceive personal versions of truth regardless of their maturity or parents’ wishes.
Misconceptions: Equality, tolerance, and justice are secularism’s actual objectives. Youth have the capacity to do what’s best for themselves without parental and spiritual guidance.
Deception: Ironically, secular leaders are advocating establishment of a new religion – Selfism. With Christianity out of the picture (by labeling us bigots, intolerant, and unjust), secular leaders secure enough votes (as older generations die off) to scale the peaks of the 7 mountains and institute systems threatening the freedoms they’d promised to defend.
Proposition: No one cares more about equality, tolerance, and justice than Jesus. But many Christians aren’t reflecting His love well. To appeal the Gen Z, churches and Christ-followers must show what authentic compassion and unconditional love look like.
4. “Christianity is Oppressive”
Presupposition: Rather than sincere worship of our Creator, Christianity is a man-made convention designed to repress natural inclinations, empower demagogues, and enrich pastors.
Misconception: Unsuspecting, naïve youth must be forewarned of Christianity’s nefarious objectives or risk suffering their parents’ fate – reason and judgment clouded by religion.
Deception: Oppressive governments originate by defining “oppressors” and “oppressed”, particularly through propaganda directed at idealistic youth, pledging to end all oppression. Categorizing Christians as oppressors justifies regulating not only them, but inevitably tying the hands of the “oppressed” as well through “handouts” that breed dependency.
Proposition: No one is more concerned about the oppressed than Jesus. In His own words, He came to set them free – but His mission statement was genuine, not a cover to one day assert dominance over both oppressor and oppressed. Christians do not always follow Jesus’ example, so we should confess our flaws while pointing to His perfection.
5. “Purpose is Found in a Cause”
Presupposition: Youth snowed into believing in God, hoping to discover meaning in what doesn’t exist, are missing out on the fulfillment offered by popularity and prosperity.
Misconception: Absent identity in Christ, a sense of purpose is available in fighting “oppression” (as defined by those who consider Christians the primary culprits).
Deception: Directing the ire of justice-minded students toward Christianity is about agendas, not justice, and costs them eternal impact in this life and hope for the next.
Proposition: Understanding the cause of Christ reigns supreme, churches and Christians must take the lead and invest substantially in addressing critical issues important to Gen Z.
6. “Happiness is the Goal”
Presupposition: Whatever and whoever stands in the way of the inalienable right of each young person to pursue happiness should be summarily condemned and rejected.
Misconception: Happiness can be acquired through promotions, products, and possessions (i.e. the American Dream), a myth promulgated by TV, social media, and advertisers.
Deception: Trying to convince youth that the world can give what it never had (lasting peace and happiness) while concurrently teaching them they’re cosmic accidents combine to create the outcome you’d expect (rampant substance abuse and suicides).
Proposition: Flourishing (“life as God intends”) and joy (“happiness that never fades”) are not fleeting, altered by the next positive or negative life event, because Christ and our inheritance in Him are unchanging. Churches should be training Christians to share that good news when young people inevitably reach the dead end on the road to “happiness”.
7. “Faith is Foolish”
Presupposition: Belief in a God is a crutch for the insecure, a hammer to wield power over the oppressed, or a fantasy only believed by the ignorant.
Misconception: Universities and Hollywood mock Christianity because they don’t believe in God and see no need for His forgiveness for their sins.
Deception: The assault on all things Christian today is about ensuring Gen Z serves no other god than humanism, consumption and government, replacing Jesus as “savior”, to reshape the future of our nation around the world’s priorities.
Proposition: Christians should help youth understand how much faith it takes to believe something came from nothing and how credible the evidence is for Jesus in historical records, God’s creation, mankind’s sinfulness, and the compassion of His followers.
It’s Your Turn…
What other lies is secularism telling Gen Z and how else could Christ-followers fight for truth given that the future of America is at stake?