Why Are Youth Leaving the Church?

A pretty good article about why young people are walking away from the church, which you can find here. 

Another excellent article written about young people who have already left appeared in Christianity Today, which you can find here. 

But the most striking and widespread reason the article gives for why people are leaving is shown in this quote:

Another unsettling pattern emerged during my interviews. Almost to a person, the leavers with whom I spoke recalled that, before leaving the faith, they were regularly shut down when they expressed doubts. Some were ridiculed in front of peers for asking “insolent questions.” Others reported receiving trite answers to vexing questions and being scolded for not accepting them. One was slapped across the face, literally.

At the 2008 American Sociological Association meeting, scholars from the University of Connecticut and Oregon State University reported that “the most frequently mentioned role of Christians in de-conversion was in amplifying existing doubt.” De-converts reported “sharing their burgeoning doubts with a Christian friend or family member only to receive trite, unhelpful answers.”

Note that this says that “almost to a person” those who had questions were shut down, ignored, or given trite answers. Christians have been taught to not deal in complex matters, to ignore intellectual problems for so long, that we have forgotten how to deal with legitimate questions. We are driving people out of the church by not answering their questions.

We do our young people no favor by not discussing hard questions with them before they leave home for college. For example, in one of our Ratio Christi chapters, the student president, upon arriving at college as a brand new freshmen, discovered that he had two roommates: one was Buddhist and the other Muslim. This is more typical that we realize. Such a person is immediately forced to deal with pantheism, which embraces absurd contradictions, and another monotheistic religion who claims to have more accurate scriptures than the Christians.

If we do not prepare the students before they leave, they will get bombarded with questions after they leave. We owe it to the next generation to prepare them for the world they live in. One way is through www.ratiochristi.org.



About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why Are Youth Leaving the Church?

  1. This is the truth, we need to encourage questions especially if the young person is not convinced of their faith we need to do our work and show them the evidence. Teachers who ignore or discourage questioning are not teachers they are most likely bullies of the Word. Look at Thomas for example he told his friends “I will not believe” but Jesus revealed Himself to him he just needed more evidence. Simple good article!

  2. dwwork says:

    Reblogged this on Reasons For The Hope Blog and commented:
    This is something we all need to do a better job of. We can ill afford to lose our young people because we do not take their doubts and questions seriously.

  3. Some might be tempted to mutter ‘duh’ in response to this article but I wonder if the author has thoroughly thought through the conclusion to its ultimate end?

    I don’t see apologists answering the questions that atheists raise. Being able to answer those questions satisfactorily is what the ultimate end is if you are to encourage questions from the youth of the church.

    By the way, don’t worry so much about college. Long before they get there the Internet and their friends will have planted the seeds that only mature in college when the young person is away from restrictive home influences.

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