An Honest Search for Truth
By Kara Bettis

David Wright, 20, is thoughtful, speaks actively with his hands, and will pursue any problem presented to him. As a junior engineering major at LeTourneau University, his technological proficiency aids him in one of his greatest passions: serving other people.

Q: What is your spiritual background?
A. I was saved at the age of 4. My Dad was one of the founders of our church, and both he and my Mom had been Christians long before I was born. So my entire childhood was in a Christian home, raised by a very strong Christian set of parents. My Mom and Dad’s approach to biblical teaching was quite deliberate and methodical about how they approached biblical education and our faith, even at a young age.

Q. Did you ever have a time where you think your faith became your own?
A. Throughout my whole childhood I did personally hold to my faith. I never viewed it as something that was only mine through heritage or family. But during high school—the winter of my junior year through my senior year—were both times of serious thought pertaining to the intention of God on my life, especially with college preparations. I internalized a lot more of my faith during those times than I have before. I was seeing for the first time contradictions or potential conflicts in what I had held to be true. So those were times of working out how my faith confronted, addressed, or solved these conflicts between life and faith.

Q. What hindered your faith or caused you to question?
A. Through the winter of my junior year, there was a time of mild depression, perhaps, which helped me discover human value, vocation and satisfying work. It opened me up to a lot of valuable questions that really helped me to define my vocation and how I best operate within the church and in ministry as well as in the job force.

Senior year was a time of humbling for me, because I got sick. I found value throughout most of high school through service and operating as a person expertise. And when I got sick senior year I couldn’t operate as that person, I had to rather deeply redefine how I viewed myself and how I found value in what I did. So it was those two things that caused me to grow deeper in my faith and ask some harder questions I ordinarily wouldn’t have thought of.

Q. What factors have helped you or would have helped you?
A. Openness of parents was a huge factor in helping me develop my faith. They were not worried about me walking away from the faith, nor were they pressuring me to stay in the faith and not question certain elements of it. I was free to explore any idea, and I was free to question any aspect of my faith. They knew that ultimately, I would be led back in an honest search for truth to the faith I had started with.

That gave me great freedom to be open with them as I was questioning things or trying to figure out how in the world elements of my faith were played out in life. I was able to have really great conversations that they lent great wisdom to

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Q. What did you feel like your mom and dad did well in equipping you?
A. What they did well most was live uniformly with what they were teaching. I wasn’t seeing contradictions in what they were telling me with how they were acting when they thought I wasn’t looking. They were people of integrity. That gave me a practical foundation of how Christianity ought to be lived out as well as the doctrinal teaching of what it meant to be a Christian.

Q. Why do you think that some of your peers aren’t following the Lord now?
A. An overdeveloped sense of pride and intellectualism I have seen as a common stumbling block for youth, which I can relate to and can understand. Imbalanced research can lead to agnosticism or universal skepticism, which though it might not initially conflict with the faith will undermine it and tear it down slowly.

Coming from a school where the sciences and the evidences are preeminent, I’ve seen several cases where people have philosophized themselves into agnosticism or made science their god. Though perhaps still nominally Christians, they would give preeminent evidence or final say to a scientific report when in conflict with their faith. Growing more rash or prideful at their skill of derivation or experimentation or discovery, they have then made God secondary. Though not openly rebelling against him, they have slowly supplanted him.

Q. Any advice for parents or pastors who want to reach the next generation?
A. Counteracting the intellectualism or the scientism that has led to agnosticism that I’ve seen. The only thing that can be done is to live a Christian life and to witness through active ministry or by example rather than by theory.

They won’t be swayed by arguments, but they can be swayed by prayer and by observing the witness of strong Christians, by their life. Yes, the foundation of doctrinal principles laid at the beginning at young ages is essential, but what will cement a relationship with God in the heart of a child will be the example of their parents—practical, living out of their faith today. Seeing a parent or a mentor live hypocritically will be crushing to a lasting faith. If [their faith] doesn’t help parents live better, than kids won’t follow it.