I was teaching a grade twelve biblical studies class when something unexpected happened. In a class full of strong minds and bodies, I saw fear in my students’ eyes. They were afraid of University; not afraid of the workload or the professors, but afraid of not being able to answer the onslaught of questions about Christianity and their personal faith. It was at this point as a teacher that I wanted to do my best to answer these questions in the short time I had with them. While I know we weren’t able to cover every question, or even most of the questions, the experience led me to look for viable and relatable resources that I could share with my students after high school. It would be almost two years later that I was blessed to listen to Rebecca McLaughlin speak and then shortly afterward to read her phenomenal book Confronting Christianity.
YouTube and social media platforms seem to be teaming with biblically based philosophy and Christian apologetics. And while I am grateful for this kingdom work, as a teacher, I struggle to connect this wealth of information with the adolescent brains in my classroom. This is why I believe Confronting Christianity is so timely. McLaughlin’s book is conversational yet contemplative, vulnerable yet convicting. In many ways, it is the type of book that appeals to both Christians and atheists alike. The type of book that high school students desperately need.
McLaughlin breaks her book into twelve questions that high school students are either asking or will soon be compelled to ask:
- Aren’t we better off without religion?
- Doesn’t Christianity crush diversity?
- How can you say there’s only one true faith?
- Doesn’t religion hinder morality?
- Doesn’t religion cause violence?
- How can you take the Bible literally?
- Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?
- Doesn’t Christianity denigrate women?
- Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
- Doesn’t the Bible condone slavery?
- How could a loving God allow so much suffering?
- How could a loving God send people to hell?
Note: You can read a short article from McLaughlin at www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/enlightenment-now.
McLaughlin, Rebecca. Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion. Crossway, 2019.
Josh Withrow is a high school biblical studies teacher in Langley, BC. He has taught middle school and high school humanities and biblical studies for seventeen years and also teaches Bible study at his church in Cloverdale. Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids and feels at home when reading the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling. He is a Ravenclaw.