This post will conclude a review of the 6 reasons people state they leave the church at about age 15. These findings were a result of Barna’s research
The reasons are
- Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
- Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
- Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
- Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
- Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
- Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
We turn our attention now to Reason 6-
Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
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%).
One lady quickly stated, “Well, I see some validity to evolution which makes me doubt creation, but I just don’t want to talk about it, because you’ll all hate me”
It was interesting to attempt to encourage her that-
No-I didn’t hate her due to doubt.
Yes-It was ok to ask honest questions about areas of doubt in Christianity.
Similar to the issue of science/faith, questions raised by those who doubt, are often met with church ignorance…the church simply doesn’t know the answer, and it knows that it supposed to.
We are encouraged in 2 Tim 2:15 to
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
But to often we move away from the foundation of the study of Scripture and into the shallow end of boredom (See Reason 2).
We get caught up in maintaining the status quo, we forget to be light in darkness, the city on a hill, salt to heal.
Churches must esteem others higher than ourselves, we must reach out; not focus in.