Why Are Teens Leaving the Faith?

by Brian Housman

teens leaving the faithGrowing up under the watchful eye of his parents, Eric* loved going to church. Like most kids, he loved the songs, his teachers, and playing with his friends. But even for a kid, church wasn’t just a social thing for Eric. He could clearly remember the summer of third grade during Vacation Bible School when he gave his whole heart to Jesus. He was baptized shortly after.

For Eric, Jesus and the Bible weren’t things you had to figure out or question. He had a child-like faith. He knew Jesus loved him and would walk with him throughout his life. The Bible was the moral compass by which he would live his life.

A few years later as Eric hit adolescence, his parents thought he would continue to grow in the faith of his childhood. He would discover even more deeply just how Jesus could make a difference to him in his high school years. He would see how his faith would define him.

But that’s not what happened.

No fairy-tale ending

In the car on the way home from church one Sunday, Eric blurted out, "Why do we think we are right and everybody else is wrong about how to get to Heaven?" Over the coming weeks his questions turned to, "Is it fair that God would send everyone else to hell just because they don’t know Jesus?" and "How do we know the Bible is real?" Pretty soon Eric didn’t want to talk much on the way home from church and seemed agitated whenever anyone else would bring up faith in daily conversation.

It all came to a head when his parents asked him about his plans for the youth group’s summer camp. Eric nonchalantly announced, "Mom, Dad, I think that stuff like church and Jesus is fine for you, but I’m just not sure if I believe all that anymore."

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