Sep 19, 2017

When (the young) Brad Pitt Asked Hard Questions About God

Brad Pitt is a high profile, A-list actor in Hollywood.  He has been cited as one of the most important and influential people in the entertainment industry.  He has starred in many blockbuster movies and has earned numerous awards such as the Golden Globe, Screen Actor's Guild, Academy Award and People's Choice. 

Brad was married to Angelina Jolie for five years.  Together they formed a power couple nicknamed "Brangelina."  They have six children with three of them being adopted internationally. 

Brad has said that he is an atheist.  What is interesting is this.  He was raised in a Christian home.  Brad was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  His father ran a trucking company and his mother was a school counselor.

Brad grew up in Springfield, Missouri, in a house surrounded by cornfields.  His parents are believers and he was raised in a conservative, Christian, Southern Baptist home.  In a recent interview with GQ magazine,  Brad said he "grew up First Baptist, which is the cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity."

When he was in high school, he says, "my folks jumped to a more charismatic movement, which got into speaking in tongues and raising your hands and some goofy-&%$#.

When asked about speaking tongues, Brad said, "Yeah, come on.  I'm not even an actor yet, but I know… I mean the people, I know they believe it.  I know they're releasing something.  God, we're complicated.  We're complicated creatures."

Brad went on to say, "I remember going to a few concerts, even though we were told rock shows are the Devil, basically.  Our parents let us go, they weren't neo about it.  But I realized that the reverie and the joy and exuberance, even the aggression, I was feeling at the rock show was the same thing at the revival.  One is Jimmy Swaggart and one is Jerry Lee Lewis, you know?  One's God and one's Devil.  But it's the same thing.  It felt like we were being manipulated.  What was clear to me was “You don't know what you're talking about.”

Brad says this caused him, at a young age, to ask some big questions about God.

But apparently he didn't get the answers he was looking for and eventually walked away from the faith.  He is not alone.  Stats show that 78% of people who claim no religion at all actually grew up in church.  I talk more about this in this article.

When asked why they walked away, the biggest majority said they no longer believe.  How did this happen?  In many cases, it's the same story as Brad's.  They asked the hard questions, but didn't get answers that were sufficient to sustain their faith.  Without answers for these hard questions, their faith was rocked and they walked.

I believe if we are going to pass on the faith to the next generation, we must create environments at home and at church where it's okay to ask the hard questions.  In fact, I believe we shouldn't wait for kids to ask the hard questions.  I believe we should bring up the hard questions and help them find the right answers now.  

Questions like...
  • How do we know the Bible is true?  How do we know it wasn't just written by men?
  • Why would a good God allow bad things to happen?
  • Why should we believe that God created everything?
  • If God is a God of love, why would He punish people after they die?
  • How do we know Jesus was the Son of God and that He actually rose from the dead?
If the first time kids face the hard questions is in a college classroom, it may be too late.  If the first time they face the hard questions is on the high school debate team, it may be too late.  If the first time they face the hard questions is at work, it may be too late.

Church and the home should be a place where kids are walked through the hard questions so they can discover the truth.

Brad, the kid, is sitting in your class at church this weekend.  Brad, the kid, will attend VBS this summer at your church.  Brad, the kid, will learn Bible verses at home this year.  Brad, the kid, will be part of small group discussions this month at your church.  Brad, the kid, will participate in prayer time this week at home.  Brad, the kid, will drop his nickels and dimes into the offering this week.

But will we help Brad, the kid, develop a deep faith that will last for a lifetime?  We can.  If we are intentional.

We are commanded in Proverbs to "train up children in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it."

If we are going to see children walk in faith their entire lives, then we must train them to see the truth.  The 78% that have walked away?  I believe much of it is due to us not doing our part of this Proverbs...that is, training children to be able to answer the hard questions.  If we don't, how can we expect them to serve Jesus for a lifetime?

Let's ask the hard questions.  Let's lead kids to grapple with the hard questions.  Let's help kids find answers to the hard questions.

A great place to start is with the four week teaching series called Pranksters.  This apologetics series helps kids explore critical, hard questions about the Bible and will help them discover why we believe the Bible is God's Word.  You can get more information about the series at this link.

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