One of the things that I am passionate about as a parent is making sure that my kids are solidly grounded in the Word of God and His truth. This is even more important to me that mastering calculus or writing the world's next greatest bestseller. Without a solid, biblical worldview, my children will not only become easy prey for all kinds of false teachings but they will also miss out on many opportunities to meaningfully interact with those outside the faith. 1 Peter 3:15 encourages us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks us why we believe what we do. This doesn't come naturally. Sure, a winsome character is important (v. 16 tells us that) but we need more than just a feeling or blind faith. We need the facts grounded in sound logic and a confidence that we have a faith that can stand up to close scrutiny.
This is why today's review is one I would recommend for all parents, regardless of educational philosophy. In fact, this is such a big deal for me that I have posted once already on this topic. Not only that, one of my first reviews was on a worldview series for elementary age children from Apologia, today's featured company. Today's review is their newest worldview offering geared for high schoolers through adults, released this spring.
Company Information: If you're new to the homeschooling scene, Apologia is one of those companies that you've gotta explore. Although it is best known for its creation-friendly science curriculum, their worldview products are equally top-notch. (See my last review on Apologia's What We Believe Series for elementary school children for more details on the company.)
Product Reviewed: Developing a godly worldview is not only for our kids. High school students and adults need a strong biblical worldview too. So this time around, I jumped at the opportunity to check out I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Normal L. Geisler and Frank Turek. (Catchy title, eh?) This review mainly focuses on the text, but there is also an accompanying workbook for students to use as a course of study.
This book starts out with introducing why this particular topic merits our attention. Using the analogy of a box top to a puzzle, a solid worldview gives us the big picture of life, so that we can then place the individual pieces in the right place. If you have ever tried to do a puzzle without the lid, the best you can do is guess and randomly place your pieces together.
If you're a seasoned puzzle solver, you might be able to pull out all the side pieces or group things together by color or texture. But even so, having the finished picture before you helps tremendously. With it we can tell whether we're looking at flowers or the sun. Instead of being unsure, we can be certain of what we believe.
In our "whatever works for you" society, there are three major religious world views: theism (God made all), pantheism (God is all), and atheism (no God at all). Interestingly, not believing in God is in itself a religious belief. The book then goes on to explain why it actually takes more faith to believe there is no God than to believe that there is one, going through twelve points that show Christianity is true.
But this is not a dry textbook! With engaging personal stories and examples, the authors takes the reader through their thought process. Each chapter shows where in the 12 point outline you are so you can track along. At the end of each chapter, a summary of the key points helps to solidify the main ideas presented.
Parental Preparation: None. Just open the book and read! If you are using it for a high school course, you may want to create a schedule of reading and workbook assignments (or if your high schooler is very self-sufficient, just hand the book to them to do themselves!).
How We Used It: When I signed up for the review, I knew that this was going to be more for me as a parent than it was for my kids. As with developing anything in our kids' lives, they will probably need more than one pass through the material. This is why I am glad that there is worldview curriculum for both the elementary/junior high set as well as the high schoolers. When they are younger, they can go through the What We Believe series; when they reach high school, we can go through I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.
My plan is to read through this book as an overview for myself (this was an option for this review). There is so much information in the book that I know I will need to read it again. I find that taking notes as I read helps me to remember better, but I would suggest not only taking notes on content, but on how you would use it.
For example, in chapters 1 and 2, we are introduced to the "Road Runner" tactic, which shows how we can take commonly posed statements such as "All truth is relative" or "There are no absolutes" and turn them around to show how they are self-defeating claims. Now I can know what the Road Runner tactic is, but will I know how to use it when I hear it? So for myself, I take notes so that I can help guide others towards Jesus.
This is a key skill for our kids to learn, so when my kids read it, I plan to go through it with them and talk it out. Role playing may be a good way to help them to use what they learn so they are ready when they encounter these kinds of conversations in the future. Remember: being ready is the goal, not just learning facts that get stored away in the back of our minds.
The companion workbook is helpful for students as they work through the main ideas in the text. Much of it is designed to help them to solidify the content and help them to come to their own understanding on the material. Downloadable chapter tests can be found on the website as well so you can evaluate how well they have mastered the material.
What I Liked: I always appreciate lots of stories and this book is full of them. The authors are not just telling us information, but show us by example how they have lived out their faith and how they have practiced the art of apologetics in order to further God's Kingdom. The book is readable, but it is not full of fluff either. I didn't get as far as I would like simply because I had to really think about what I was reading! But that is what I wanted too, and why I really enjoyed what I did read.
What I Didn't Like: Nothing! Everything about it is well-done.
Overall Summary: I highly recommend this to all parents to read first, so they can have a sense of the important truths to pass on to their children. Even if your teen is a good reader, I would encourage you to engage them in conversation over the text. You may be surprised at what they may already have to deal with in their own classrooms, youth groups, or friends. As much as possible, link what they read to real life so that they can leave your home with the confidence they need to stand up for their Lord, wherever He places them.