Why do you believe Christianity Is True?
How you answer will play a significant part in shaping your child’s worldview. Here are some typical bad answers:
- “I believe Christianity is true because I read this book where someone died, went to heaven, and came back.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because there are secret codes found in the Scriptures.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because the lost day of Joshua has been found by NASA.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because we had a special speaker come to our class and show how the Gospel was written in the stars.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because I have seen pictures of Noah’s Ark.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because God spoke to me and told me ______”
- “I believe Christianity is true because there are no better options and I have nothing to lose.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because my friend was healed of cancer after praying.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because I speak in tongues.”
- “I believe Christianity is true because my church/pastor says it is.”
Why might this be? Some possibilities:
- They succumb to temptations they haven’t face before
- They didn’t learn to think
- They are often consumed with the demands of making a living
- They see right through the charade of those who profess the faith but don’t “walk the talk”
In 2006 a Barna study revealed the majority of young adults in their 20s (61%0 had been churched at one point in their teen years but are now spiritually disengaged. In the book “The Last Christian Generation” published in 2006, study findings revealed:
- 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God
- 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead
- 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity
- Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home
- 70% will leave the faith in college
- Only 35% eventually return
- 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23
- 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30
A 2007 Study of Student Ministries by Inquest Ministries revealed:
- 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God
- 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths
- 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead
- 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity
- 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real
- Nearly 25% of the 18- to 29-year-olds interviewed said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” most of the time.
- 22% also said the church ignores real-world problems and 18% said that their church was too concerned about the negative impact of movies, music and video games.
- 33% of survey participants felt that “church is boring.”
- 20% of those who attended as a teenager said that God appeared to be missing from their experience of church.
- Many young adults do not like the way churches appear to be against science.
- Over 33% of young adults said that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” and 25% of them said that “Christianity is anti-science.”
- 17% percent of young Christians say they’ve “made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.”
- 29% of young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and feel they have to choose between their friends and their faith.
- Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church
- 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith
A few of the defining characteristics of today's teens and young adults are their unprecedented access to ideas and worldviews as well as their prodigious consumption of popular culture. As Christians, they express the desire for their faith in Christ to connect to the world they live in. However, much of their experience of Christianity feels stifling, fear-based and risk-averse. One-quarter of 18- to 29-year-olds said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” (23% indicated this “completely” or “mostly” describes their experience). Other perceptions in this category include “church ignoring the problems of the real world” (22%) and “my church is too concerned that movies, music, and video games are harmful” (18%).
A second reason that young people depart church as young adults is that something is lacking in their experience of church. One-third said “church is boring” (31%). One-quarter of these young adults said that “faith is not relevant to my career or interests” (24%) or that “the Bible is not taught clearly or often enough” (23%). Sadly, one-fifth of these young adults who attended a church as a teenager said that “God seems missing from my experience of church” (20%).
One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.” Furthermore, the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in science-related industries.
Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic and judgmental.
Younger Americans have been shaped by a culture that esteems open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance. Today’s youth and young adults also are the most eclectic generation in American history in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, technological tools and sources of authority. Most young adults want to find areas of common ground with each other, sometimes even if that means glossing over real differences. Three out of ten young Christians (29%) said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and an identical proportion felt they are “forced to choose between my faith and my friends.” One-fifth of young adults with a Christian background said “church is like a country club, only for insiders” (22%).
Young adults with Christian experience say the church is not a place that allows them to express doubts. They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense. In addition, many feel that the church’s response to doubt is trivial. Some of the perceptions in this regard include not being able “to ask my most pressing life questions in church” (36%) and having “significant intellectual doubts about my faith” (23%). In a related theme of how churches struggle to help young adults who feel marginalized, about one out of every six young adults with a Christian background said their faith “does not help with depression or other emotional problems” they experience (18%).
(Continued in Part 2 here)