This past weekend I spent 15 hours in a van with my youth group on our annual white water rafting trip. These trips are my favorite point of the year because you have the conversations that don’t happen at any other point. There are no distractions or interruptions and people just talk. And it struck me how deep and contemplative my high school students were. I’ve quit being amazed at the complexity that teens break down religion at this point. Many adults still write them off as shallow and out of touch, but I think that teens are much more willing to admit their questions than adults. I feel like this makes them more mature in their faith that most adults.
So here are some of the questions and conversations that came up. Some may call them blasphemous or even distracting. What I see though, are individuals who really want to understand what they believe, not just accept what someone else told them. Isn’t that what Jesus would want anyway?
1. If God had a perfect heaven before and there was a rebellion and Satan was kicked out and created sin, who’s to say that when we get to heaven it’s not going to happen again or that this hasn’t happened before and we’re really like Earth #12?
2. Is there going to be marriage and love and families in heaven? Are we going to be able to have that one special someone? Why wouldn’t God want us to have that happiness?
3. We believe that the Bible is God inspired and holy, but what about the other books from the Apocrapha and stuff that aren’t in there? Why aren’t they in there? Should we be reading them? Why not?
4. If Jesus was married, how would that change any part of the gospel and what we know about his life at this point? Just because the Bible doesn’t say he did, does that mean he didn’t? Can anyone really know?
5. Things are bad now and God hasn’t come back, so how bad did it really have to be for God to destroy the whole world with a flood?
6. Will we be allowed to talk about all the stories and questions like this in heaven or will that remind us too much of sin and no one will want to talk about it?