How Facebook Can Make You a Better Christian Parent

How Facebook Can Make You a Better Christian ParentI’ve finally wrapped up my next book, taken a couple of weeks to recover, and am ready to get back to blogging! I have a lot to tell you about my new book, but it doesn’t come out until October, so I’ll wait a bit to share more about it.

As I worked against my writing deadline in the last few weeks, I spent a lot less time on Facebook. I just had too much to do to check in and engage as regularly as usual. But being away from it has been a good thing because it made me realize something a bit surprising:

Being on Facebook can make you a better Christian parent.

I know that’s not the conclusion of most who take social media breaks. Usually people step back for a while and then conclude their life is better without Facebook or Twitter distractions. And, to be sure, there are aspects of social media that can be tiring and soul-draining. If you’re at the point where you can’t possibly scroll past one more person talking about how blessed they are without wanting to punch your screen, you probably do need a break.

But for Christian parents who want to raise faithful kids in a secular world, Facebook can be an invaluable tool for gaining some much-needed perspective for the job.


The Generational Disconnect

In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at churches and conferences across the country about the importance of parents teaching kids apologetics, the biggest faith challenges parents should address with their kids (I walk through 5 of the 40 in Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side), practical ideas for teaching apologetics at home, and how to teach kids good critical thinking skills.

In my talks, I use quotes from atheist authors/bloggers, memes and snippets of online conversations with skeptics as examples of claims kids will encounter today. I regularly find that parents are surprised by what I present.

I often ask how many have heard the claim I’m addressing—for example, that the Bible is unreliable because it’s been copied so many times—and only a few hands go up.

Or I ask how many have heard of influential atheists/agnostics like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Bart Ehrman—and even fewer hands go up (if any).

Then, when I talk to parents after an event, a common thread of conversation is that the presentation was eye-opening because they haven’t had their own faith challenged in such ways.

Meanwhile, at least 60 percent of kids raised in Christian homes are walking away from Christianity by their early 20s, due in large part to the intellectual challenges to faith they encountered.

I think’s fair to say there’s an enormous disconnect between what kids and parents are exposed to today.

Being on Facebook is one way that Christian parents can gain better perspective. I say that for three key reasons.


1. Being on Facebook can expose you to views and conversations you may not hear elsewhere.

Last month, I shared an article on my personal Facebook page and simply said, “Here are some interesting statistics.” One Facebook friend—an acquaintance from high school—was so appalled that I held a different view on a hot issue that she commented, “You aren’t worthy of being in my Facebook news feed. Consider yourself unfriended. Goodbye.”

Within seconds, she was no longer in my friend list.

Just because we have different views.

Honestly, there are certain people I’m connected to on Facebook who post things that make me want to scream. But—and I mean this in all seriousness—for the sake of my kids, I don’t unfriend them. These Facebook friends and I couldn’t be more opposite in our worldviews, and that’s a good thing for me to experience.

I need to understand what they’re saying and why they believe what they do.

I need to see the arguments and articles they find compelling.

I need to read how they interact with others.

I need to know what they’re teaching their kids about the world, because those kids are going to be the adult peers of my kids someday.

Those whose online comments bother you most are those you can learn the most from. Don’t be tempted to unfriend them. Chances are, you’re not being challenged in the same ways by people you interact with in person.

And if you don’t have Facebook friends who post things you disagree with, that’s a sure sign you’ve built yourself a worldview silo. It’s time to expand your Facebook connections and start following pages that post things you disagree with.


2. Being on Facebook can give you a better understanding of “street-level” logic.

Parents are often intimidated by the idea of learning about and teaching their kids apologetics (how to make a case for and defend their faith). They think it involves reading a towering pile of academic books that would put a “normal” person into a coma of boredom. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

For intimidated parents, I often share the results of the Fixed Point Foundation’s study of college students who are members of Secular Student Alliances or Freethought Societies. These college groups are the atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade for Christ. They meet to fellowship, encourage each other, and even proselytize. In a nationwide study, researchers found that most of these students had had not chosen their beliefs from neutral positions, but rather in reaction to Christianity. When students were asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism—people, books, seminars, etc.—the responses overwhelmingly indicated their loss of faith was due to what they had read in website forums or videos they had watched on YouTube.

Just everyday stuff kids see online.

The kinds of stuff parents can easily see too—then proactively take the time to discuss with their kids—if they’re on social media and are using it effectively.

There’s certainly a time for book learning, but there’s no substitute for seeing the worldview battle firsthand.


3. Being on Facebook can give you a sense of Christian parenting urgency.

The change I noticed most in myself after being away from Facebook for a few weeks was the emotional complacency that started to set in. Of course, I was still intellectually aware of all the faith challenges in the world—after all, I wasn’t on Facebook because I was writing a book about those challenges! But I didn’t feel the everyday sense of urgency that I normally feel when I’m regularly exposed to all that’s out there.

That’s not a good thing.

The more you’re exposed to, the more you realize how important your job is as a Christian parent…and how much you need to do to raise your kids with a deeply rooted faith today.


There are many ways parents can be educated about faith challenges without being on social media, so none of this is to say everyone needs to use it. But I do think Facebook in particular makes it easy to gain some of the perspective that many Christian parents lack. If you’re on Facebook and not seeing a good mix of worldviews in your news feed, try following some of these pages:

And balance it out by following some great Christian apologetics pages that post a wide variety of articles:


How has Facebook helped YOU gain perspective on other worldviews? 

7 thoughts on “How Facebook Can Make You a Better Christian Parent”

  1. Admittedly, I only followed the apologist ones today, but I’m getting a steady stream of atheism daily from a couple of cousins and from people I’ve followed from school, so I’m pretty good. Plus, I’ve already bought your book and I am planning to lead a book discussion group at our church on it.

  2. Thank you for this post. It’s a good one to apply not only to religion but politics as well. If you never search out those viewpoints that you disagree with, you will never understand why people think the way they do and then it’s all too easy to demonize the other side and nothing gets accomplished and in fact can become worse.

  3. What do you do when you find the atheist arguments more persuasive than the Christian ones? I was raised in an atheist household and I’m not in touch with many Christian friends, so I don’t need to follow actively atheist people. My husband and I are trying to raise our daughter to be Christian, but I’m not sure what I’m gonna do when she’s old enough to face those attacks because I don’t even have the foundation.

    1. Read Cold Case Christianity. It really helped me to know and understand the evidence for faith.

  4. Not all beliefs are equal so not all disagreements are “honest.”

    First I consider if the belief is being acted upon. If yes, then I consider if the action, such as a proposed law, brings harm or a restriction to a person or group not holding the belief. If proponents of the belief can’t defend their belief or if the proponents of the belief are intellectually dishonest then YES we can distance ourselves from the proponents of the belief.

    Let’s run a couple of examples through my above checklist.

    Example one: a christian believes that homosexuality is a sin and does not engage in homosexuality. The christian only places this restriction upon himself or herself. I should respect this belief and have no issues with the christian. I absolutely would have this person as a friend within my social medial

    Example two: A christian believes that homosexuality is a sin and enforces this belief on bystanders in a manner which brings a consequence or restriction to the bystanders. Here, the christian assumes burden of proof thus he or she must prove god. Also, if the consequence or restriction is extraordinary then the proof needs to be extraordinary. The restriction of marriage is extraordinary thus god must be proven beyond a responsible doubt. If the christian is unwilling to offer proof or is dishonest then this christian is simply a self centered jerk. We should remove this person from our circle of friends….or I would without a moment of hesitation.

    Sidestepping and ignoring the need for proof when an action on a belief brings a dire restriction or consequence upon an innocent person is…well dark. Furthermore, the promoter of the harmful or restrictive action IS NOT granted immunity or given unwarranted merit simply because the belief is religious. The believer simply can’t say, “It’s my religious belief!” when the belief is used to bring harm to innocent people.

  5. Vanessa Throckmorton

    I have been off of fb for a few years now and have enjoyed the peace of not dealing with everyone’s constant chatter. Recently I have been out of the loop with family, news, etc. that I have been considering rejoining. I just finished your book, loved it, and have been reading your blog. Your latest post convinced me to bite the bullet and rejoin. I just went through your list and started following them all, I had such a hard time following the atheist/humanist pages, which probably means I really need some exposure to them! Thank you for all your wonderful information and insights. I have learned so much and have started to remember how much I love digging into things, my list of reading materials is getting really ridiculous!!

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