Let’s face it: the Christian youth are not prepared for all the skeptical and atheistic views that they encounter once they leave the nest. They do not have the necessary knowledge to withstand an attack against their faith, and eventually, they start to questions their beliefs. Before you know it, they return home on vacation with beliefs different to that in which they were brought up in, puffed up with ‘intellectual proof’ that church is either irrelevant or that Christianity is a based on a book of fairy tales and fables. Our Christian youth are joining the ranks of atheists and agnostics at an alarming rate, and we may just be paying for it to happen.
Most of our Christian youth will enroll in a college after graduating high school, and obviously, we are all for encouraging them to further their education and become a contributing member of society. However, gaining knowledge has come with a major side effect: we are experiencing a great falling away of our youth. Just take a moment and think about that. Our youth are the future, they are the ones that we are going to pass the baton on to lead the next generation. But if they are leaving the church in droves, where does that leave the church? We are meant to be preaching the Word of GOD and adding to our numbers, but instead, we are losing Christians. Many world events point to the fact that we are clearly living in the End Times, and so we cannot be losing souls to the world. How are we to stop this exodus? Well, it’s important to know why they are leaving in the first place. The reasons, you will find, lie with both us (the church) and the intellectual skepticism that is running rampant on campus grounds.
I’m sure that we mean well when we emphasize the emotional aspect of Christianity. Teenagers today have a shorter attention span than the youth of yesteryear, and they lose interest rather quickly, so keeping them entertained seems like the obvious path to take in order to keep them in church. We provide the youth with riveting skits that keep them entertained, we have video nights that cater to their need of movie nights and popcorn with fellow Christian mates. We raise their endorphins and get their hearts pumping with a live band that delivers music to move and woo them to continue expressing their love for the LORD. We do a fantastic job of feeding them emotionally with the Word of GOD, but we neglect to give them the basis of our faith.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of GOD, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
We do not teach them this command, or, if it is taught, we do not stress the importance of it. It is important that we instill the fear and love of GOD within them and demonstrate that love with praise and worship, but emotion is not going to protect their minds. Feelings are fickle, they sway this way and that- it just depends on the tide. Imagine having them being coddled with sentimental feelings about Jesus, only to render those emotions useless in the face of much hate, skepticism, and distrust of the Christian faith. They will not be able to uphold the command in 1 Peter 3:15:
“But sanctify the LORD GOD in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
They will see reason in intellectual skepticism, and, with no ‘proof’ to believe in the existence of Jesus, they will eventually discard their faith. You see, we are supposed to know what we believe in and why we believe it. If our Christian youth do not understand this, we are opening the gates to their doom.
College is a place of broad-minded individuals. The campus environment is all for ‘awakening your mind’ and encouraging enlightenment. Typically, most college professors identify themselves as atheists. It’s amusing (not really) for me to come across people who are against hearing the Word of GOD, but they think nothing of those who are intent upon converting them to atheism because, according to them, GOD does not exist. Let me tell you something: it takes more faith to be an atheist! With so much evidence of GOD’S handiwork, it takes much faith to ignore this in favor of the big bang theory. I once read somewhere that Darwin himself recanted his beliefs, but that knowledge is not widely circulated. While I cannot prove this, I wouldn’t be amazed if he did indeed go back on his previously held beliefs.
Our Christian youth are not being given the knowledge to question the atheistic and skeptical views that they encounter when they leave home for college. It’s no secret that college professors who are atheist look unfavorably upon those associated with the Christian faith. I do not think that it seems out of place to believe that these professors will use whatever intellectual ammunition they have to convert their students to atheism, and our Christian students are just not equipped to handle and resist the atheistic firing squad.
The campus is full of anti-Christian individuals who are intent upon undermining the Christian faith and will present all types of arguments and so-called empirical evidence to debunk the truths present in the Scriptures. They encounter the works of atheists such as Richard Dawkins, who has been quoted as saying “I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.” Do you see the foolishness in this? Another atheist, Sam Harris, has written a book titled ‘The End of Faith’, and yet another atheist, Christopher Hitchens (now deceased), has been described as ‘The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist’. I can see why he was notorious, with comments such as “The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament-the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana- is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea” , and “To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid”. You can bet your bottom dollar (just an expression- we certainly do not bet!) that popular and celebrated atheists such as these are thrust into the lives of our Christian youth, plying them with lies and seductive worldviews that attract and ensnare them into emptiness.
Many of our youth, having been presented with much freedom, see all the world has to offer and they want to take a bite out of the apple. They put GOD on the back burner and immerse themselves in a hedonistic existence that is worlds apart from the God-fearing life they led before. It’s worth noting that not all youths in the church are Christians, many of them simply attend church because of their parents, so once they live the home, they are free to pursue their own beliefs and form their own opinions sans the influence of their parents. There are also youths that have left the church because they find Christians to be judgemental, hypocritical and selfish- the opposite of what is taught from the Scriptures. We know this to be true, but it is a great travesty that these youths have not been in the presence of a loving and God-fearing woman or man to show them what serving the LORD truly means, and what is that hope that we have in Christ.
It is vital that all of us Believers who are in the position of positively influencing a teen should teach them the truths of our faith and give them a solid foundation with their feet planted firmly on the Rock, that is Christ Jesus. If we do not take the time to lovingly guide and teach our youth the Word of GOD in its entirety (not just bits and pieces), then outsiders will undoubtedly do it.