My son David and I met them last month on our drive to north Iceland where David was playing a soccer tournament. She was from Germany but he from Hungary. I have enjoyed the many conversations I have had with young Europeans hitchhiking in Iceland. I wondered if this conversation would be any different. As usual, I gently started asking them questions as we drove towards Gullfoss, a popular sightseeing place in Iceland.
• Do you believe in God? No, we really do not believe in anything.
• What are some of the main reasons why you do not believe in God? Well, we have not given it much though. It was not discussed much in our childhood and when we got older, we developed a rational outlook to life.
• Is there any ultimate meaning or purpose in the universe? I am not sure. I guess we make up our own meaning.
These questions and more can be found in The God Test which is an excellent tool to start a conversation.
As the conversation proceeded, I found the same answers as I’ve commonly found with young people in Europe. They have not really examined critically what they believe about the world or thought through their world view.
Lack of grounding is bad but not thinking through the implications of what you believe is equally bad. I have yet to meet a young atheist who has really thought through the implications of atheism. For example, is there any ultimate purpose to life if there is no God?
Lacking these two things, grounding and thinking through the implications, is like hanging in midair. You are not standing on anything, but neither do you know where your ideas will bring you as things develop.
I had a sobering conversation with a teenage boy in a nice coffee shop in Aberdeen Scotland a few years ago. I asked him: What are the main reasons you do not believe in God? His answer: I have never really heard any solid evidence for the existence of God. His honesty struck me. Of course!
We make decisions based on the information in front of us. Why should the gospel be any different? Paul wrote:
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?Rom 10:14b
This is also a huge opportunity because I have found that they welcome a good conversation. If approached the right way, they appreciate having their worldview challenged. In short, they are waiting for someone to share the gospel with them.
Lack of thinking leads to a vacuum and where there is a vacuum the result is that anything goes. You could just as well roll a dice. By contrast, solid thinking and honest conversations, is us wrestling with what is actually true about the world we live in. Sloppy thinking breeds confusion and vacuums. Critical thinking is hard work but brings truth and clarity.
Jesus was the smartest person who ever has walked this earth. Let us worship him with everything we have in our heart, soul, and mind (Mat 22:37). This will not only impact our future but is critical to the future of the young generation growing up in Europe now.