In a book titled, “The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone,” authors Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach say we’re not so good at knowing what we don’t know. We underestimate our own ignorance, confusing the knowledge that’s within our own heads with what we constantly rely on from other people and external associations.
In other words, we need the help of others for the knowledge we think we gained on our own.
How did you learn about God? You weren’t born with that knowledge. Did it come from a parent or grandparent who read the Bible to you before you could read it on your own? Did your knowledge of God come from prayers you were taught to say before meal time or before you went to sleep at night?
Did it come from those patient Sunday school teachers who tolerated your misbehavior so you could hear Bible stories and draw pictures of your favorite Bible characters? Most of us can think back to someone, if not many people, who made sure we knew about God and all God does for us.
I read a disturbing statistic the other day from the book Europe’s Young Adults and Religion by Stephen Bullivant. Bullivant stated that in the Czech Republic, 91 percent of young adults claim no religious affiliation, 80 percent never pray and 70 percent never attend religious services.
It might be easy to say that these are not statistics for the United States, but Bullivant noted that Americans tend to overstate their religious practice and church attendance. In other words, we Americans may not be much better than our European counterparts, but we are less likely to want to admit it.
If the knowledge we have is knowledge that is given to us by others, what kind of knowledge we want our children and young adults to acquire? The most important knowledge we can pass down to our young people is to know God and to know what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. The best place to get this knowledge is in the church, at worship and other opportunities for learning that the church offers.
Unfortunately, not everyone will come into the church to learn, so we need to take our knowledge to them. Maybe over a cup of coffee, at a neighborhood get-together, or other opportunities when you are with people who may or may not share your love of Jesus Christ. I’m not asking you to preach a sermon to them, but it won’t hurt to express to others how grateful you are to have Christ in your life and give examples of when you have found comfort in knowing God’s love and mercy are never ending.
People are hungry for good news in their lives, What better knowledge to share than the fact that no matter what happens God will never leave us and we are all saved by what Jesus Christ has done for us? That is the kind of knowledge all people need to learn and take to heart. That is the kind of knowledge that keeps the church alive.