Why is the church losing its young people?
by Jonathan Sarfati
B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry & Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry)
Article from Creation magazine
Many churches have a glaring shortage of people in their twenties and thirties. And polls of teenagers in church youth groups consistently show that about 75% of them intend to leave the church after they leave home.
In the recent university days of one of my CMI colleagues, one of her workmates had a son who had apostatized after entering university, using various easily-refutable village atheopath arguments. My colleague offered to teach her the answers, or even talk to her son herself. But the mother refused, claiming that the problem was spiritual rather than intellectual; in other words, the sinfulness of the human heart.1
This reminded me of a typically insightful quote from economist Dr Thomas Sowell:
“Blaming economic crises on ‘greed’ is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly planes wouldn’t crash if it wasn’t for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere. Neither does talking about ‘greed’, which is constant like gravity.”
Similarly, blaming the universally corrupt human heart for the apostasy of this young man, and church youth in general, gets nowhere, because it fails to explain why it was particularly corrupt in so many related cases.
Blaming the universally corrupt human heart for the apostasy of … church youth in general, gets nowhere, because it fails to explain why it was particularly corrupt in so many related cases.
One church youth worker in Melbourne, Australia, told us, “I used to beat my head against a wall wondering why we lost all our young people at about age 16.” But then she discovered, “Age 16 (year 10) is when they teach evolution in depth in science. … some of the teachers actually identify the Christian students and make a special point of explaining the differences and difficulties in reconciling Genesis and the ‘facts’ of evolution. It’s no wonder we lost them. I come near tears just thinking about it.”2
But what a difference having answers can make. My colleague mentioned above is a classic case. As a teenaged schoolgirl, she never had answers to questions. But after finding our website, she says:
“I was surprised to find the answers to the questions I had been asking for over ten years in literally the first day I was at your site. [It] helped me realize that true faith and intelligence aren’t mutually exclusive.
“I didn’t get saved right then and there, but God had His foot in the door. All the objections that I had always had to faith were crumbling around me, and I found myself with no excuse to disbelieve. A few months later, I became a Christian. God has used your ministry to affect so many lives, mine among them.”3
Naturally, she has no time for those who claim that creation is “just a side issue”—it certainly wasn’t for her!
… some of the teachers actually identify the Christian students and make a special point of explaining the differences and difficulties in reconciling Genesis and the ‘facts’ of evolution.
So how can we help get the answers to people like her? One proven method is this magazine. We have hundreds of testimonies of people who gave their lives to Christ after reading this magazine… It always has a wide range of cutting-edge articles, presenting both a positive case for Christianity (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3) and demolishing arguments against it (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
In this issue, for the positive, we present the amazing design of the dog’s supersensitive nose, outdoing man-made “sniffers”(p. 56) and continent-wide layers of rock just as a global Flood would produce (p. 50), document how the biblical worldview provided the foundation for modern science (p. 32), and how even some atheists recognize Christianity as essential for social progress in Africa at least (p. 48). And every issue, we interview a Bible-believing scientist to show that true science and the Bible are allies not enemies. On p. 42, we feature a top Finnish biochemist and world-renowned enzyme expert. We also have a clear presentation of the Gospel in every issue (p. 20).
For the demolition, we show that natural selection is not evolution—it’s a culling force, not a creative one, as shown by bighorn sheep (p. 12). The idea of ‘junk’ DNA is junked on p. 37 by showing some of its vital functions. Alien life is shown to be science fiction due to an insurmountable energy crisis (p. 40).
This magazine goes to over 100 countries around the world, providing easily digestible but thorough answers. With your help, it can immunize more Christians against evolutionary attacks.
Creation Training Initiative
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1. Cosner, L., Who has an answer? Providing real answers may arrest the hemorrhage of young people from the church once they leave home, creation.com/answer, 27 August 2009. Return to text.
2. Schmid, G. to Tas Walker, 10 October 2004. Return to text.
3. See creation.com/lita, 6 February 2004. Return to text.