I got permission from this father who wrote to me about the eroding faith of his son. The presenting issue is moral relativism. I wrote him back and will share of that tomorrow, but wonder what you’d say to the father.
I have come to appreciate your recommendations for reading, blogs, and other topics of interest helpful for building faith and commitment to the kingdom of God. I am hoping you might have some insight and direction you may point me to that would be helpful in my understanding of relativism and postmodern thought. I realize there is a virtual sea of information, books, and debate on the topic(s)???and certainly no shortage of opinion from the church, but what I seek is more specific in nature. Disclaimer and qualifier aside, let me get to my point.
My wife and I have raised our sons in the church; we communicate with them openly and in an erudite fashion. My middle, teenage son has been struggling for the last 2-3 years with defining his faith. We have had our ups and downs in recent years and I have exercised much grace, forgiveness, and temperance with him as he continues to ???work out his salvation.??? Most recently his attitude toward Christianity, and our household, has been one of ambivalent compliance. He agrees to attend church and (for the most part) abides by the rules of the household. I realize though that these ???agreements??? are out of deference and respect to us (my wife and I) as parents more than a product of his faith. He and I were talking last night regarding an invitation for him to attend a Christian event. While I was hopeful that he would want to attend, I knew that he did not want to. I approached the conversation as objectively as I could and asked him about his faith.
The sum of our conversation was textbook relativism. He believes (or so he said) that man???s search for god is relative. He stated that he did not believe Jesus was the son of God and that Christianity is simply ???another path??? toward ???self enlightenment.??? The rest of the arguments and assertions he presented could have been excerpted from a hundred and one other conversations.
At any rate, my question to you is what recommendations for reading might you have that could help me understand the mindset better. My understanding of the philosophy of relativism lends itself to anarchy when it is taken to the logical conclusion. It is hard for me to speak objectively with my son when he holds the viewpoints that he espouses. I need help to be able to keep dialogue open between us. If I show disdain for his beliefs???I destroy the opportunity to be an instrument of grace in his life. How might I not come across as pretentious and false in conversation with him. I think it is easier to do this with a stranger than it is my child. My expectations are different for him and the ideals I have tried to instill in him are different than others I have taught. I am asking you these questions on the assumption that you, as a professor, come into contact with more postmodern world views than I do. I know I might have left a lot of blanks in my little story and request, but I have made this email too long as it is. Can you point me in any direction?
Thanks, and God Bless you!