The statistics are widely available in plenty of formats so I don't need to get into the definitions and details here (see especially Generation Ex-Christian by Drew Dyck, You Lost Me by David Kinnaman, or Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean, or Soul Searching by Christian Smith). Suffice it to say there is a need to help students of faith continue practicing the faith as they grow up.
Why are they abandoning the same faith they once professed?
Every person and situation is different, but there are some common stories.
Some leave because they are trying to figure out who they are and what they really believe on their own terms. Away from their parents, friends, and church for the first time, they are introduced to activities and ideas that hold a special kind of intrigue because they are new and different.
Some leave because they didn't actually believe what the pastor had been saying all along - even if they said or acted like they did in order to appease their parents. In a place of higher learning, they find plenty of help to support what they thought was true (or false) the whole time.
Some leave because, when you get right down to it, they don't see how it really matters for real life in the real world. When the responsibility falls on them to engage with other Christians and practice the basic disciplines of the faith, they hit the snooze button (repeatedly) instead.
Some leave, even though the fully intended not to, because their faith cannot hold up in the face of the academic, social, and experiential challenges they encounter. The questions, the scrutiny, and the doubts are just too much, and something's got to give.
This isn't an exhaustive list and I have no doubt that the reason is often some combination of several reasons, but those are the explanations I hear about the most when talking with students.
What do you think?
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