Losing Faith Because We Aren’t Real

This is an informative and eminently reasonable piece on why young people from churches become atheists:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/

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3 comments

  1. I posted the article at my blog a few weeks back. It is very good. It serves to condemn the shallow tripe which passes for Christianity in far too many churches. I feel pressures myself from parents to have more fun and teach less in Youth Ministry. Very good article!

  2. Interesting observation Paul, the type of church these young atheists described would fit one church I used to go to the T. It is a Baptist church that has a very contemporary feel, and a cross between charismatic renewal theology, seeker sensitive addressing marketing “the church as relevant” methodology, and social gospel. I think most the pastoral staff were converted, but the gospel message was muddled along to be “we all did wrong” and the gospel of Jesus on the cross was deemphasised in favour of 1. charismatic works of the Holy Spirit; 2. helping the needy in the community; and 3. make the youth feel “connected”. We were drilled with the idea that social actions were the must to engage the needy to hear us presenting the gospel, and about how the youth are important to the next generation health of the “church community”. The results? I heard hearsay that a number of young people who found they could stop going to church and admit “not really Christian myself”.

    A cavet about it is that if I use my current church as an example, an evangelical Anglican church that leans Reformed, has a far higher number of people who are not at chruch to “go through the motions” or treat Christianity as “values system that I agree with when convenient”. Many really believe in the Truth of the gospel of Jesus in their hearts, and they take their faith very seriously. The young people I know have some of the most godly people around (in fact, an elder from the Baptist church I described above has nothing but praises on the love of the Lord he knows from my current church, even though he is well aware that the two churches are miles apart in theology within evangelcialism and his own church is not a particularly shiny example of Christian maturity). And quite a large number of believers at my church are adult converts (post-19: my minister became a Christian at 19, while our church secretary became a believr when she was in her 30s. For other cradle Christians, many did not become committed Christians until they are at university age or even 20. This probably makes us outliers in the author’s article about the “age factor of deconversion”.

    Also it may be a coincidence, but more likely God has arranged this to happen, someone from my church posted this article by John Nielson on the same area, about 3 common traits of youths growing up in Christian homes that remain a committed believer when grown up:

    http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/159175-3-common-traits-of-youth-who-don-t-leave-the-church.html

    1. They are converted
    2. They have been equipped, not entertained
    3. Their parents preached the gospel to them

    They all seem to reinforce the article. I think if I get the point across, all it boils down is that if the youth is a genuinely converted believer in Jesus, who had been discipled in the truth of the gospel and been brought up by adults who open the genuinely converted Christian life to them, with its triumphs, struddles, the youth will be less likely to fall away later on in life. (of course youths who grew up in gospel-centred home can and do fall away – I’ve seen it myself, and conversely people from non-believers’ homes who become committed believers when adult, but the general principle, from Proverbs 22:6, stands)

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