While this may not seem to be a big deal on the surface, this attitude of "I don't care to know why I believe" appears to be having a significant impact on our young people. George Barna has conducted multiple studies which offer some unsettling conclusions.
In a 2006 survey, the Barna Group found that while 60% of people in their twenties had been involved in spiritual activities during their teens, only 20% of those were still spiritually engaged at the same level they had been in their high school years (1).
Another study by LifeWay Research, described in USA Today, showed that 7 out of 10 Protestants who attended church regularly in their teens had quit going by age 23. And of that group, 34% had not returned to church by age 30 (2). What's even more disturbing about this study is that 52% of the "dropouts" indicated they had "religious, ethical, or political reasons for quitting."
These statistics should concern all of us. They should cause us to ask why so many of our young people seem to be losing their faith. And while I don't think this is the only reason that our youth wander away from their faith, I believe one of the key factors is a lack of spiritual depth when they are challenged with the hard questions of life.
Think for a minute about how your kids would answer questions like these:
- How can there be a good God when there's so much suffering in the world?
- How do you know that you're right and all of the other religions of the world are wrong?
- How can you believe in a God that would order the slaughter of women and children in the Old Testament?
- Isn't belief in God the same as believing in Santa Claus?
These are the exact types of questions our children are being asked in high school and college. And if they're not prepared to deal with them, the result could be devastating to their faith. Even we as adults often can't answer hard questions like this. How would you respond if someone posed any of the questions above to you?
For those of you interested in a bit of further reading on this subject, I highly recommend an article and a presentation by Dr. William Lane Craig. He has taken the time to offer his thoughts on why an understanding of the Christian Worldview is important. The links below lead to this material:
- In Intellectual Neutral (excellent article drawn from Dr. Craig's book "Passionate Conviction")
- In Intellectual Neutral (audio presentation within the "Talks" section of this page - this presentation is #19 down on the list)
Hopefully this brief discussion will be of some assistance in understanding the importance of studying Christian Worldviews, and being able to answer why we believe what we believe.Notes:
1. "Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years," The Barna Group, Sept. 11, 2006, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/147-most-twentysomethings-put-christianity-on-the-shelf-following-spiritually-active-teen-years
2. "Young Adults Aren't Sticking With Church," by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, Aug. 7, 2007, http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20070807/d_churchdropout07.art.htm