August 01, 2007

Is the Church Producing Athiests?

That's the concern raised in this piece from the Christian Post.

"...some of the recurring questions young adults struggle with but churches often fail to address include the formation and development of the Bible, the presence of evil and suffering in the world, and the question of inspiration and inerrancy.

“In large part, it happens when the church leadership is completely unaware that their members – and not necessarily just the young members – have questions at all,” explained Horvath to The Christian Post. “And [they] continue merrily along thinking that to retain the youth they just need to be entertained.”

Young people question whether they should trust the Bible since it “is so old,” and are not satisfied with the simple answer that they should trust it because God wrote it. Horvath explains that though they understand that to be the Christian position, they want to know how they can be sure of that.

I'm sure one of the more challenging questions young people are asking is why does the church hate homosexuals. As most readers here know, there isn't much of an answer except to cherry pick a few isolated scripture verses, and even then it presents an arguement that doesn't go much beyond "God says so, and so do we."

What I think is an even tougher issue for young people to reconcile is the hypocrisy of church leaders preaching love while they practice bigotry and discrimination, preaching peace while supporting a president who promotes a senseless war, and preaching giving while idolizing material possessions.

If that's all I had to go on, I'd probably have trouble believing there really was a God myself, at least the one the church would be trying to shove down my throat while reaching for my checkbook at the same time.

Fortunately, the God in the Bible doesn't discriminate. He truly loves peace, and he is not materialistic. Christians who understand that need to set an example to support what God truly is. We need to let people see Him through how we live our lives; imperfectly to be sure, but still demonstrating the goodness of Jesus, the New Testament God. We all have the opportunity to live under that covenant.

In today's society, it's no wonder young people don't find the Old Testament God all that appealing. There are churches, and I'm proud to belong to one of them, Believers Covenant Fellowship, that preaches about Jesus and encourages people to go out into the world and live like Him. That way we can help lead people through all that smoke most of the larger demoninations are blowing and show them how to reach out to our true Lord and Savior.


  1. From raising four children, I can see that two are practicing atheists and one avows that. The youngest struggles with her faith. Young people need a place to question and be respected. My oldest daughter is gay and is the atheist--she had so many questions, and I was too immature in my faith at that time to know what to do with them. She was blasted with her questions, and she declares that most Christians are hypocrites, plus many condemn her for who she is. Good article.

  2. I think part of the problem is that the church you are talking about that is not teaching love and tolerance is not necessarily the "Christian church," but certain segments of it, which are, unfortunately, often the most vocal and most visible. There are a lot of mainstream churches whose members do not hate gays, do not support Bush, etc, etc. In these churches, questioning is not considered heretical.

  3. The problem with a lot of churches today, especially the conservative ones, is that the Bible is the final authority on all things.They firmly believe that God has stopped talking and the Bible is all they need to preach and live from. I disagree. God is still actively talking to his people but many have refused to listen because it may disrupt their comfort zones. Any deviance from a certain interpretation of Scripture is considered a heresy in their eyes. Sad. Truly sad.

  4. I think what people don't understand is that faith grows in developmental stages just like other things. Part of the proper development involves tossing all the laws of the church. The problem that I see is that people get freaked and don't realize that this is a natural step in the process. People see this atheist/agnostic step and panic instead of being supportive.

  5. I enjoyed this post, but would be cautious about describing Jesus as the "New Testament God," because it can set up a dualism that doesn't really help in the long run. Not to mention its implications for Jewish-Christian relations.

    I am at a church which encourages questioning, and as a result I just have to question this idea of two gods, one for the Hebrew scriptures, and another for the Christian scriptures.

    Doug K