Inoculating Your Children Against the Progressive Mind Virus

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“The serpent in the Garden of Eden was the first progressive. He questioned the truth of God’s Word, sowing doubt in the mind of Eve — “did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1). He challenged God’s good creation-order by seeking to undermine Adam…He told them to forsake the image of God in which they were made and encouraged them to remake themselves in the image of personal desire.”

WILLIAM WOLFE

One political philosopher put the goal of liberal progressivism in rather stark terms. He said, “Progressivism is, at its core, the hatred of your father and the rejection of God.”

While many self-proclaimed progressives might not put it like that, he’s right — at the core of their ideology is the rejection of anything and everything from the past that might hinder “inevitable progress.” This often means family. It always means biblical Christianity.

The triumph of progressivism in American culture has been on full display this week, as the Senate passed the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies the unconstitutional Obergefell decision “redefining” marriage in our nation.

Another way to describe progressives is as “moral revolutionaries,” and indeed they are. In Albert Mohler’s piece addressing the passage of this bill, “A massive victory for the moral revolutionaries,” he rightly noted:

“No civilization stands still. This kind of legislation is not neutral. The so-called Respect for Marriage Act is either the sign of a civilization advancing or a civilization crumbling.”

That’s a good litmus test. Progressives see this bill as a bright beacon of advancement. For Christians, we know that this is a tell-tale sign of civilization collapse. But this is the path of progressivism: God, family, and marriage must get out of the way as the arc of history hurtles toward their flawed conception of justice — diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a father of three who wants my children to love (not hate) me and obey (not reject) God, it’s important that I serve them well by helping prepare them to fight against progressivism — to inoculate them, as best I can, against the ways of a world that wants to infect their minds with delusions of expressive individualism and unconstrained desire.

How do I do this? How can you do this? Here are four ways parents can inoculate their children against the progressive mind virus:

1. Teach them the truth of God’s Word

One of the most important things that parents can do is teach God’s Word, the Bible, to their children. Let them know that the Bible isn’t a book of fairy tales, nor some collection of “stories” with a little self-help thrown in, nor a good book about good moral living.

No, the Bible is the “living and active” Word of God, “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The Bible tells the truth about God, humanity, sin, Jesus Christ, the Gospel, redemption, the final judgement, and eternity. It answers our hardest questions, such as, Why do sin and suffering exist, and what hope can we have in the face of a fallen world? Most importantly, it lets us, as guilty sinners, know what hope we can have to be forgiven and welcomed back into a right relationship with our Creator God — the Gospel message of the perfect life, atoning death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These are indeed the things of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).

Teaching our children God’s Word actually isn’t just a “best practice” or an optional idea — it’s a matter of obedience.

God commands his people to do just this: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7a).

Or consider Paul’s encouragement in Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’”

Teach your children to know and love God’s Word. But don’t just tell them, show them. Show how much you love God’s Word, and how it is “a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path,” even as you invite them to follow you.

2. Teach them the goodness of God’s creation-order for men, women, sex, and marriage

Along with teaching them the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word, it is absolutely critical that parents teach their children the goodness of God’s fixed biological and moral order, or what we could call the creation-order.

Our children are truly growing up in a “brave new world.” One that doesn’t know how to answer questions like “What is a woman?” One that celebrates men, like William Thomas, swimming against women (and “winning”) at the collegiate level. One that tells little boys they can grow up, not to be godly men but to be pretend “women.”

While it’s important to denounce debauchery, it is equally important to teach your children about the goodness and beauty of God’s creation-order design for men and women. Curse the darkness and light a candle. Teach them about how God made man and woman to be different, but that both are equally made in God’s image. Teach them that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman because it is how God, in His wisdom, designed procreation, the way in which more image-bearers will fill the earth. (Genesis 1:28). Teach them about how it reflects greater spiritual realities, such as Christ’s love for the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

The fixed nature of biological sex, the goodness of man-woman marriage, and the reality that God created sex to be enjoyed within the context of a committed, monogamous, exclusive marriage union of husband and wife — and only between a husband and wife — aren’t “old-fashioned and prudish” concepts, they are the foundations of society! Even more so, by honoring these realities, we enjoy life the way God intended for us to. Celebrate these truths with your children.

Show them that the “yes” of embracing being made either a man or woman far outweighs the “no” that the world tries to offer with its gender-bending, promiscuous, rotten fruit of the sexual revolution, that their nature, though fallen, is good, that waiting to enjoy the goodness of sex within its proper context is right and honorable, and that marriage is to be pursued and desired, not put off for a career.

3. Ensure that their education is moral formation and not mindless indoctrination

Over the last year-plus, the sewage of much of what passes for public school curriculum washed out into the public streets for parents to see. Critical Race Theory and Radical Gender Theory are being taught in the classrooms and pornography is put on the library shelves. Beyond this, students are taught to hate their country and be skeptical of Christianity — if not outright reject it. We took prayer out of public schools and put atheism in instead.

Underneath all of this is a flawed approach to education overall. Children are not being taught how to think, but what to think. They are not being taught how to pursue virtue and moral excellence but rather indoctrinated with progressive ideology.

One way to help your children be prepared to stand against progressivism is to take control of their education back from the state. I know there are wonderful teachers in our public school system, but the sad reality is that they are few and far between.

If your local public school isn’t publicly committed to keeping trash out of the classroom, consider Christian education — either private school, classical Christian education, or homeschooling.

Whatever you do, make sure you know how and what your children are learning. They need education, not indoctrination.

4. Train them to spot cultural “siren songs” and prepare them to “kill dragons”

In ancient mythology, sirens presented themselves as beautiful women sitting on rocks in the seas, singing songs to passing sailors in hopes of luring them to their demise as they crashed their ships onto the unseen rocks.

Sirens are alive and well today, but we don’t meet them out at sea — we meet them in Disney movies and on smartphones. What looks attractive at first glance has deadly consequences at last.

Consider how many Disney movies begin with this basic premise: A child (the Little Mermaid, Simba, Luca) wants something that the parents tell them they can’t have. The parents tell the kids that they should trust them, stay home, and embrace tradition and obedience. But the kid “follows their heart” and disobeys. What’s the moral? Ignore your family, reject tradition, and chart your own path.

This message is everywhere. As a parent, you need to learn to spot it. The point isn’t to put your kids in a bubble. The point is to equip your kids to spot the seduction of the wicked world. That’s one of the dominant themes of the book of Proverbs — beware of the evil and (genuinely) tempting ways of the world and seek God’s wisdom instead.

Along with spotting sirens, children need to know that dragons are real and pose a threat to their very lives. They need to learn how to spot the dragons of the evil one —the embodied lies of the serpent — and to know that they can crush its head. But in order to help them spot the sirens and counter the dragons of this world, you (and they) need to learn how to spot and kill them first. One simple way to do this is to constantly ask yourself, “What is this book, show, song, movie, etc., teaching my children about God and family.” You might be surprised at what you hear when you start listening closely.

Conclusion

Consider this: The serpent in the Garden of Eden was the first progressive. He questioned the truth of God’s Word, sowing doubt in the mind of Eve — “did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1). He challenged God’s good creation-order by seeking to undermine Adam. He questioned the goodness of the tradition that Adam and Eve had received from God, telling them to reject it and chart their own path, free from custom and constraint. He told them to forsake the image of God in which they were made and encouraged them to remake themselves in the image of personal desire.

This is the root of progressivism: the belief that man can be God. What does the Bible have to say to that? “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” (Romans 9:20)

Remember, progressives want your kids to hate their families and reject God. This goes against the First and Fifth Commandments. So, help protect them from this and prepare them for it with these four steps — and lots of prayers.


Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.