Extensive new research from The Barna Group shows that nearly half of young adults worldwide who have a connection to Christianity feel that the Church can’t answer their questions.
Barna, a California-based evangelical research firm, partnered with the leading international evangelical humanitarian organisation World Vision to compile “The Connected Generation” study.
Published in a research report, the study is based on a survey of 15,369 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 across 25 different countries and nine languages.
According to the study, one in three young adults (32 percent) said “hypocrisy of religious people” causes them to doubt things of a spiritual dimension. Almost half of the young adults who have left Christianity see the religion as “hypocritical.”
Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said “science” also challenges their willingness to believe. Which is one reason why we need to connect young people with Creation Ministries International (CMI) http://www.creation.com.
One-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said human suffering and conflicts around the world cause them to have doubts. Once again, having a Biblical world view is so important. Understanding that SIN introduced by man’s disobedience and lack of trust in God is the cause of all of man’s troubles.
“It’s always the question of why God allows suffering; this is the biggest objection to Christianity. And there is no easy answer to it,” Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London and pioneer of the Alpha Course, wrote in an essay published with the research report.
I would agree with Nicky that there is no easy answer, but the only answer that makes sense of the world’s condition is JESUS and what He has provided for us, both salvation and the provision of the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, comforter and teacher.
The survey found that only 13 percent of respondents globally who grew up with a Christian background can be labelled “resilient disciples” today.
A “resilient disciple” is someone who attends church regularly, engages with the faith community beyond just attending worship services, trusts firmly in the authority of the Bible, is committed to Jesus personally, and expresses a desire for their faith to impact their actions.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents who grew up with a Christian background were defined by Barna as “habitual churchgoers” who do not fit the definition of “resilient disciple.” Among respondents with a Christian background who live in countries with a “secular climate,” the survey found that only 5 percent can be defined as “resilient disciples.”
Eighty percent of young people who left Christianity said they believe that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual,” while 81 percent say present-day Christianity is judgemental.
Seventy-four percent of those who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity is “out of touch with reality.” Only 60 percent of respondents who are no longer Christian said present-day Christianity “consistently shows love for people.”
Strangely, more than half (57 percent) of respondents to the survey, however, said they feel as though religion is good for people and society.
“Ultimately, the only answer to it is in Jesus, who suffered for us and suffers with us. So that is the answer, but it’s much harder to get to. We’ve got to answer their questions, but more importantly, they want to know what we’re doing about [these issues]. If the Church is doing nothing and is not engaged in social action against homelessness, poverty, racial injustice, climate change or any of these issues, young people are not going to be very interested:, says David Kinneman, President of Barna Research.