Walking in Circles

There was a DiscoveryNews article last week that I thought was rather interesting. The article was entitled “People Naturally Walk in Circles.” As someone who loves the outdoors, I found this a very intriguing article. The second sentence in the article read, “Without landmarks to guide us, people really do go around and around, found a new study.” The article went on to explain that people without any directional cues (such as the sun or moon) walked around in circles. Those that had those directional cues available to them did not walk around in circles but “managed to travel fairly straight.”

This made me begin thinking. It reminded me of the “spiritual circles” in which people often find themselves walking. What do I mean by spiritual circles? The most common spiritual circle today (in my opinion) is relativism. This is the belief that proposes there is no set rule or standard when it comes to religion, morality, or anything in general. The religious relativist might say that Christianity is “right” for most people in America, but Hinduism is “right” for most people in India. In other words, there is no single religion (such as Christianity) that has the exclusive position of being the only true religion.

What I really began thinking about though in this context of relativism and walking in circles with no directional cues was more specific to my cultural context (a Christian in the United States). It seems to me that all too often people abandon the morals they held as children and adopt the “better” position of relativism as they pass through adolescence and enter into adulthood. What happens that creates this dramatic shift in the lives of so many people? I don’t know that I have the answer to this question, but it is something that more people than just me have noticed. Otherwise, there would be not “the statistic” (or some variation) that is quoted so often in religious circles—7 out of 10 teenagers who grew up in a church will quit attending by age 23. This statistic is the focus of a recent article in USA Today.

Some have attempted to answer why this occurs (such as Ken Ham). But I think this DiscoveryNews article answers this question better than most Christians might realize. Just as an average person off the street would not know how to navigate in the wilderness without some training, neither does a Christian know how “to navigate life” if they were never taught how to use their “directional cues.”

I think many churches fail to equip their students (and adults) for life and just spend most of their time entertaining them. I know there are a lot of great student ministries out their, but the majority are notoriously known for not teaching their youth. Why else do so many find the Ignatius video so hilarious (see below)? It is because there is some truth to the video. There needs to be more churches who are teaching their youth how to think through their faith for themselves. They need to teach them how to think critically about issues that arise in society. This is a difficult task, but it is something we cannot afford to neglect. Otherwise, we are dropping our students in the middle of a forest with no idea how to find their way out it.

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