10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin is a book which aims to answer ten difficult questions facing modern-day believers. 10 Questions, gives the readers an idea of how to approach living in the twenty-first century as a Christian, while following Jesus’ example of love.
Hot-Button Issues Handled Carefully
This book deals with ten hot-button issues facing many people in the world today. McLaughlin explored a few main themes which can be applied to each issue she tackles. The main themes are Christianity is beneficial and for everyone, God is loving and in control, Jesus is our example in all things, Christians should not be hateful or judgmental, and following Jesus means saying ‘no’ to our desires even when it is hard.
The author begins the book with describing the benefits enjoyed by those who are regular churchgoers and who follow the Bible’s main principles. She opens with this in order to lay a strong foundation for the basis of her beliefs which she builds her arguments upon in later chapters. Those who attend church habitually are “less likely to suffer from depression. . . commit suicide. . . take drugs or abuse alcohol” and the many morals found within the Bible are also good for us such, as being forgiving and selfless (39). McLaughlin insists that these claims are backed up by psychologists and health experts (39). This chapter allows her readers to learn spiritual ways they can look after their mental health, a prevalent issue in modern day society McLaughlin notes.
McLaughlin acknowledges that Christianity is not exclusive to a certain group of people, but it is for everyone and anyone. As she puts it, “Jesus invented diversity” (43). The author reminds us throughout her book that Christianity is very diverse. There are believers who are: men, women, black, white, scientists, activists, ex-atheists, and more (49, 51, 93, 11). McLaughlin emphasizes how people from all walks of life can become a Christian and enjoy the benefits that come along with it. She uses examples of those who have struggled with same-sex attraction, unbelief or who have been converted from a different religion. Conversely, she warns us that the Christian life is not all rainbows and sunshine. We will face persecution and challenges, just as Jesus did.
Where We Get Our Morals
Most of the morals humans live by today come from the Bible, the author argues. Expanding on that, McLaughlin urges that without God’s ultimate example of love there would be no law. Without a loving God the total depravity of humanity would have destroyed the world because humans are naturally selfish, sinful, and destructive. All sense of right and wrong ultimately comes from the Bible. McLaughlin argues that having a God who is in total control is very comforting. Christians can rest in the fact that their God is good and present, even when life seems bad.
As Christians, our ultimate example, the person mankind should look to, is Jesus. Throughout the book, McLaughlin refers to Jesus as our example for love. She writes about how marriage is a symbol of how much Jesus loves his people. During the entirety of this book, the author compels Christians to mimic Jesus’ character and attitude because he is their Lord and Savior.
McLaughlin also implores Christians to be accepting, not hateful. Humans tend to ridicule and dismiss people who are different. Jesus rejected racist ideals and his work inspired many civil rights activists such as Harriet Tubman and Bryan Stevenson. Therefore, the author’s stance is that those who follow Jesus should not be racist or intolerant to people of a different race or ethnicity. Similarly, she believes that, “Men and women are equally important” and ties this to occasions in the Bible where Jesus treated women the same as he treated men (136). For example, McLaughlin points out that after Jesus was resurrected, the first people to see him were two women. In addition to not being discriminatory, the writer shows that being homophobic or Islamophobic is sinful. She writes, “Loving people doesn’t mean agreeing with all their decisions”. Her assertion that Christians should be is accepting is not her saying Christians should condone sinful actions.
McLaughlin’s view is that because we can’t agree with everyone all the time, we also cannot continually say ‘yes’ to ourselves. Following Jesus means saying ‘no’ to our desires even when it is hard. As the author put it, “Jesus never promised us an easy life now. . . But following Jesus. . . turns out to be really good for us” (39). One example of this is she refers to dealing with same-sex attraction. The author mentions a friend who had to say ‘no’ to their desires, in order to follow Jesus (124). Her friend Rachel struggled with same-sex attraction and came to realize she needed Jesus more than she wanted to say ‘yes’ to herself. To summarize, “we should trust him [God] more than we trust our feelings, even when it is really hard” (153). The author uses this principle in relation to topics such as gender dysphoria and other unbiblical sexual desires.
Questions Christians Must Answer
One strength of the book is that the author reached her target audience well through easy-to-read chapter and useful pop-culture references. The chapters were short and split up by descriptive subheadings. For example, chapter eight “Who Cares If You’re a Boy or a Girl?” is only twenty-two pages long. During this chapter she has many subheadings to help split up the different topics discussed, such as “What about Feminism?” where the author looks at feminism from a biblical view. Having her chapters structured in this way was extremely practical because McLaughlin puts a lot of information into each chapter. If the chapter was dense with information and difficult to read, the book would not have been enjoyable.
The author uses many pop-culture references to illustrate points. One of the biggest reoccurring pop-culture references is the Harry Potter series. McLaughlin references this series over twenty times during 10 Questions. The author’s use of popular movies, books and music was very clever and subtly brilliant. The references she made were never in vain, each illustration she used was complementary to her points. McLaughlin’s book is aimed towards teenagers, potentially teenagers who are unsaved and she made the book more accessible and accommodating them.
McLaughlin kindly provides the readers with summaries at the end of each chapter. This is extremely helpful as it recaps the information that was just covered. In addition to this, it allows the audience to have summary pages they can look back on which concisely answer McLaughlin’s ten questions.
A lot of thought clearly went into this book as the author makes her points punctually and in a well-structured manner, instead of over-complicating her arguments. In chapter three “Can Jesus Be True For You But Not For Me?” the author combats the argument of all religions pointing to the same God and being equally valid (55). She writes, “What we can’t say is that Christians, Muslims, and Jews are all right about Jesus. He is either the resurrected King of the Universe, who defeated sin and death, or he is not” (58-9). By being so direct, her view is made very clear on the matter, and it allows the readers to understand what her take on the matter is.
McLaughlin answered the ten questions she set out to answer, while leaving room for the reader to learn, grow, and formulate their own opinions. McLaughlin covered a range of topics that are huge questions in our modern world especially for teenagers and I would argue new believers. I liked the way the author used personal experience, real life examples, outside sources and the Bible to solidify her positions because it allowed me to trust her arguments and follow her thought process. It also showed me that she had thought about the questions she was seeking to answer.
This book would be beneficial to so many people; it would helpful for parents, youth workers, pastors, carers, teachers and evangelizers. I would strongly recommend it to everyone, especially non-believers. This book would be a great way for them to educate themselves on what the Bible teaches. Additionally, it displays a Christian worldview in a respectful way, contrary to the media portraying Christians as hateful, intolerant, racist, homophobic, xenophiles.
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