Root Causes of the Decline of Faith among the Young.
A large number of young people (and many older folks) throughout different regions of the United States and Canada express substantial agreement about four major issues causing strong intellectual blocks to their faith (or the faith of their friends). Unfortunately, this block grows stronger in proportion to the level of education and commitment to analytical clarity.
These intellectual blocks are rooted in “secular myths” that do not stand up to the evidence of science, philosophy, and history. Magis Center wants to shine the light on the truth.
1. The Conflict between Faith and Science.
“Faith and science are in conflict. Science is truth. Therefore, faith is a fantasy, and if I am going to be authentic, I had better distance myself from the fantasy.”
2. The Conflict between Suffering and Love.
“God cannot be loving because if he were, he would not allow suffering in the world — especially the suffering of children and other innocent people. The fact that there is tremendous suffering among the innocent shows that either God is not loving (in which case he is not relevant to me) or he doesn’t exist at all.”
3. The Conflict between Christian Virtue and Freedom (and Moral Relativism).
“Jesus Christ and the Church impose a bunch of rules and ‘should nots’ on all of us, but there are many other viewpoints that allow for more freedom and personal opinion. Why should I follow the teachings of Christ and the Church instead of these other viewpoints – which seem equally valid?”
4. Skepticism about the Significance and Reality of Jesus.
“If our moral life, prayer life, and Church community are all grounded in the teaching of Jesus Christ, how can I be sure that he even walked or talked on this earth anyway? Why is Jesus more significant than any other prophet or wise man?”
If our students are not thinking about these myths already, they are almost sure to be challenged by them in the future. If these myths go unaddressed (or are inadequately addressed), it could lead many more young people (and adults) to a steady drift away from the Church, Jesus Christ, and God.