Personal Reflections – Abandoning the Faith 2

Christians Who Abandon the Faith – Part Two

We are looking at the reason good, faith-based believers leave the church and no longer follow Jesus. I am not speaking of those who leave the church and still follow Jesus having simply given up on the institutional church. We are looking at those who have turned their back totally on the Christian faith.

The first reason we looked at for this is the horrible, disgusting, nasty way that Christians treat one another in person and on line.

2> The second reason people leave the faith is the canned superficial answers they have been given to serious and complicated questions.

Several years ago I was talking with a university student and his significant other and the question of “creation” came up. He was studying towards an engineering degree in university. In his courses the whole concept of Genesis, chapters one and two, had been challenged. With the empirical evidence he had been shown in class the whole concept of God creating the universe in six days and resting on the seventh simply no longer held to be true in his mind. And, the geological data he was being taught did more than suggest that the world was much older than 6,000 years – much, much older. 

And, I did not, at that time, have an adequate explanation for what we, as Christians, believed. I did not know how to “defend” the creation story against the information and scientific data he was being taught. I don’t give him some canned religious answer as I also hate these kinds of responses, but I did have to admit that I did not know how to reconcile the two views or how, as a believer, to speak to his concern. He was good with that because I was being honest. Up to that point every believer he had spoken to about his questions had simply given him a “canned answer” and he knew it. And, because of it, he was about to leave the faith and become an atheist. He was thankful for an honest, non-canned religious response and is continuing to examine and question the faith. He has not walked away as many others have. 

Those of us who are believers need to not avoid these complicated challenges to our faith. We need to be exposed to the sophisticated answers to modernity, to empiricism, to the problem of evil in the world. We, the leaders, to need to show believers that some passages can be interpreted more than one way. And that this does not mean doubting the authority, reliability, or inspiration of Scripture. We need to answer the questions being asked and answer them with depth and intelligence and not in a pat, religious, and nonsensical way.

We need to see the Christian faith as a thinking person’s faith (not a religion) and be actively engaged in answering the real questions that both believers and non-believers are asking. It is no longer possible nor wise to live a surface faith where you simply make everyone feel good about being a believer and never deal with the issues being faced by people in their every day lives. And, we need to have the answers to the many challenges that the faith is facing in the light of new scientific and archaeological discoveries. 

An example: As I travel the world I ask people who created evil. Some say the devil. Some say people did. Some have a number of other answers that simply can be dismissed as soon as they are spoken out loud. But seldom does anyone bring forth the right answer. You see the Bible states that God created evil because He is the Creator. And without there being “evil” then we, the height of His creation, would not have the free will to choose because there would not be an alternative to “good.” Thus God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and placed it in the garden of Eden. But, most people have never grappled with the concept of evil and the Christian doctrine (dogma) of evil. We simply slide across the surface of life and belief and never deal with the real, often complicated issues of every day life.

So, when a major crisis of faith arises in a believer’s life they don’t find a biblical answer nor an adequate explanation of the apparent contradiction to their faith that they are experiencing. So, they leave the faith and seek answers elsewhere.