There are lots of anecdotal experiences and theories tossed around, but what does the data say?
Nathan Daniel Blake summarizes the six top reasons the Barna Group has found:
- Overprotectiveness and Defensiveness
- Shallow Faith Experiences
- Antagonism Toward Science and Reason
- Simplistic Views of Sexuality
- Spiritual Exclusivity
- Unfriendliness to Doubters
He then lists the main subpoints in each category:
1. Churches Are Overprotective and Defensive
25% of 18-29 year olds cited the demonizing of “the world,” ignoring real-world problems, & obsession with culture.
2. Experience of a “shallow” faith.
31% said church was boring. 25% said church wasn’t relevant to real life, and 20% said God seemed to be missing from church.
3. Antagonism toward science and reason.
35% said Christians are too confident they have an answer to everything. 29% they are out-of-step with scientific discovery. 25% said we are anti-science.
4. Experiences with sexuality are often simplistic and judgmental.
A majority cited trying to wrestle with meaningful lives in terms of sex and sexuality.
Nearly 20% said they feel judged for their sexual mistakes. 40% said teachings on sexuality are out of date.
5. They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Churches.
29% said church feels afraid of the beliefs of other faiths. Another 29% said they felt forced to choose between faith & friendships. 22% said that church felt like an exclusive spiritual country club.
6. Church feels unfriendly to the doubter.
36% cite not feeling like they can ask their most pressing questions in church. 23% said they had significant intellectual doubts, and 18% said the church doesn’t take emotional problems seriously enough.
Have you seen these issues in your community?
Let’s talk about them…