Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why Young People Leave the Church

NPR did a fascinating story on this phenomenon, interviewing six young adults in Washington, D.C. They came from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions. One was raised Jewish; she still loves going to synagogue but describes herself as having an "agnostic bent." She goes to be quiet with her thoughts, but states, "I don't think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with."
The Muslim considers the account of Abraham offering his son to be "crazy" and became an atheist because he couldn't believe such stories. The Catholic left her church because she disagrees with its beliefs on homosexuality. The Seventh-day Adventist couldn't understand why God allowed the suffering his family has endured. One young woman, raised by a Jewish mother and Christian father, lost her brother to cancer and "realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning."
The sixth person interviewed has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says "Salvation from the cross" in Latin. He now says, "I don't [believe in God] but I really want to. . . . I think having a God would create a meaning for our lives, like we're working toward a purpose – and it's all worthwhile because at the end of the day we will maybe move on to another life where everything is beautiful. I love that idea." [The Christian Post - Why Are Young People Leaving Religion? Jim Denison]
I have argued for a few years now that original sin can be summed up in one word: autonomy! Autonomy is at the root of every other sin. As the song goes, "I had it my way." It is either my way or the highway for religion, for God, for Christ, and for Scripture. Many pastors have learned this lesson the hard way. Autonomy is put on display in ancient and modern idolatry. We carve out a god we can live with. It is displayed in the ancient Greek pantheon. Autonomy is the root of the enlightenment. Unaided human reason is the unrestrained and unashamed desire for rational autonomy. The same is true of empiricists. Science is their god. Science is a god they can live with. This is fundamentally true, literally true, of every unbelieving heart! Autonomy shows up in numerous Christian churches so-called who distort and deny Scripture either overtly through liberal theology, secular philosophy, and humanistic psycholoy or through a hermeneutic that not only corrupts the actual meaning of the text, but in many cases suggests that the very idea of meaning is metaphysical nonsense.
Autonomy is really quite bold in the world, denying God, killing God, destroying truth, replacing it with a false hope of a wicked and perverse heart and a woefully corrupt and degraded mind. This is the state of American society, politics, philosophy, psychology, and in far too many cases, the American church. When a high contributor thinks his or her level of contribution ought to correspond to the weight of their opinions on matters, that is autonomy. It may be cleverly veiled as having the best interest of the church at heart, but nevertheless, in back of it, it really is about me having my way in silly issues even. In issues of chair styles, carpet colors, and even music style. Divorce is autonomy in relationships. When we divorce for ungodly reasons, it is a brazen act of autonomous rejection of God and His word. When we refuse Church membership, that is a form of autonomy. Most the time, though not always, but most of the time, when we leave one church for another, it is an ungodly act of autonomy. We don't like something someone did, or the music does not suit us or the youth program is not entertaining enough, etc.
"Modern scholars and writers, in their never-ending quest to find somethig new to advance daring theories that run beyond the evidence, have either distorted or neglected the New Testament Gospels, resulting in the fabrication of an array of pseudo-Jesuses." [Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, Craig A. Evans]
Why is it that we are hearing so many new things about Jesus and his earliest followers these days? Has someone struck the mother lode and found all kinds of new information about Jesus and first-century Christianity? [What Have They Done With Jesus? Ben Witherington III]
These two books are examples of godly men who have decided to address the fundamental issues of autonomy, not just in Christianity, not just in ministry, but in Christian scholarship so-called. While I don't agree with everything these men write, I do think both of these projects are worth having in your library if you are a pastor, elder, or teacher in the Christian community. These works deal with methods scholars employ to weaken the integrity of historic Christianity. However, they do not deal with motive so much. Nevertheless, the books show how the motive cannot be based on the evidence because the evidence points in an opposite direction from where most of these scholars live. The motive is autonomy. Scholars are sinners too. As such, the bent toward autonomy reveals itself in the presuppositions and method employed in their work.

Young people and old alike leave religion because, at the foundation of their worldview is the wicked, evil desire for autonomy. They reject God's order, God's design, God's judgment, in essence, God's world in an attempt to create their own order, design, judgment, and world. The bottom line is that people leave religion, they leave the church because they want it their way. They want autonomy.
19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-are-young-people-leaving-religion-88549/#QYJqmG3s5YJXhyVq.99


  1. Easier to lay the blame entirely on those leaving, easier than taking a hard long look at ourselves and where we have failed.

  2. What exactly does your comment add to the conversation? Anything? Anything at all? What is easy is for people to make meaningless comments like this and the run off into the obscurity from when they emerged. That is easy. Stick around and tell us what you mean, and then, stick around and see if it measures up to God's revelation or not.


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