Beliefnet
On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Atheists and skeptics now have as much access to our children as we have, says bestselling author Josh McDowell.

“What has changed everything?” asked McDowell as he spoke on “Unshakable Truth, Relevant Faith” at the Billy Graham Center in Asheville, N.C., Friday evening. His answer was, the Internet.

“The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not,” said McDowell, author of scores of Christian books, including the bestselling More than a Carpenter and New Evidence that Demands Verdict.

Our children’s beliefs and their worldview, McDowell said, form values, which in turn drive their behavior.

The worldview, he said, “is where we are falling down.”

What is the prevalent worldview in America today? “There is no truth apart from myself,” said McDowell. This removes authorities from young Americans’ perspective. They lack a moral compass since the only thing driving them is their own feelings.

This makes them easy victims for emotional appeals.

In 1994, an alarming 62 percent of evangelical Christians did not believe in absolute truth. In 1999, it jumped to 78 percent.

“You know what it is now?” asked McDowell. “One of the most staggering statistics in history of the church… 91 percent said there is no absolute truth apart from myself.”

That means the vast majority of Americans consider themselves the absolute authority on whether something is right or wrong.

McDowell said atheists, agnostics and skeptics didn’t have access to kids in the past.

“If they wrote books, not many people read it. If they gave a talk, not many people went. They would normally get to kids maybe in the last couple of years of the university.”

But that has changed now, lamented McDowell.

“If you do not reach your child by their 12th birthday, you probably won’t reach them,” he warned. The Internet is weakening Christian witness and “we better wake up to it.”

McDowell, who considered himself an agnostic before accepting Christ, warned that the sexual immorality through the Internet was “marginalizing the maturity of the witness of Christ…all over the world.” It’s an “invasive, intruding immorality… that is all just one click away.” He said the majority of questions young people ask him are about sex, mainly “oral sex.”

However, McDowell said, as many as 85 to 90 percent of the evangelical Christian parents in America are not equipped to handle their kids. Christians, he urged, needed to understand the time, quoting 1 Chronicles 12:32: “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…”