Support World View Weekend


Posted: 06/28/05

Why do Christian kids leave the faith?

Sean McDowell

June 28, 2005


            What is your greatest fear? When I was a kid my greatest fear was sharks.  I always feared that under the murky water of my surfboard a great white would lurch out and have me for lunch.  As I get older, my fears have radically changed, especially since I have learned that about one person per year in the United States is actually killed by a shark, whereas 168 die from a car crash after hitting a deer. 

My greatest fear today, which I know you can relate to, is that my own son, as well as the kids I work with, will leave the faith I so cherish. And in many ways this fear is coming true.  Denominational leaders indicate that between 69% and 94% of their churched young people are leaving the traditional church after high school…and not returning.

            James Dobson recently said that the great fear among parents today is the possibility that their kids could leave the faith.  Parents fear that the relativistic, sex-saturated culture will steal the hearts and minds of their youth.  Just the thought of that sends chills down my spine-chills far deeper than the damage a shark could ever inflict.  Jesus recognized the validity of this fear:   "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).  We rightly fear that our kids' souls are being devoured by the world around them.

            So, what can we do to protect our kids from the cultural onslaught intent on destroying our kids' souls?  Based on my research and personal interactions with thousands of kids, I am convinced that the greatest step we can take to protect our kids is to help them develop a biblical worldview.  What kids believe will make a world of difference in the kind of lives they lead.  You see, when kids' views of the world become distorted, then how they relate to God, others, and ourselves is radically affected.  And, sooner or later, what they believe will govern how they think and act.  Consider the following facts about kids without a biblical worldview:

  • 225% more likely to be angry with life
  • 210% more likely to lack purpose in life
  • 48% more likely to cheat on an exam
  • 300% more likely to use illegal drugs

According to the 2005 study on youth entitled, "National Study of Youth and

Religion," thousands of non-religious teenagers were interviewed who said they were raised to be religious but had become "non-religious." The teenagers were asked, "Why did you fall away from the faith in which you were raised?"  They were given no set answers to pick from; it was simply an open-ended question.  The most common answer (32%) was intellectual skepticism.  Their answers included, "Some stuff was too far-fetched for me to believe in," "I think scientifically there is no proof," and "There were too many questions that can't be answered." 

Unquestionably, knowing why Christianity is true is still a vital ingredient in the spiritual development of youth today.  We must equip our youth to think critically about the most pressing issues of the day.  Worldview training is the best tool we have to prevent our greatest fears from becoming reality.

Distributed by

By Sean McDowell

Click here for bio and archived articles

Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.


Printer Friendly Version | Return to home | Send this article to a friend


Posted On: 10/31/11 04:43:01 AM Age 0, ENGLAND
don't you think some thing wrong with the source, therefore kids lealize and leave the faith.

Some may, but not all...
Posted On: 09/15/11 01:16:01 PM Age 0, GERMANY
We left the free evangelical church we had been a part of for 20 years because we weren't growing in Christ there, task had been substituted for relationships, control and organisation were more important than people, legalism had taken the place of grace and we realised that the New Testament did not back the religious System of church which most of Christendom has espoused for the last 1700 years. Our children were 15 and 12. We shared our thoughts with our kids and they walked through the process with us. They couldn't share everything, but our no longer going to services and de-toxing, learning to live Christ every day and feed ourselves instead of being spoon-fed by a paid 'kingling' on Sundays resulted in their decision NOT to ditch their faith and both of them are living it our daily in spite of being at university and boarding school where real Christianity is hard to come by. Incidentally, we also believe in a 6 day creation and shared our belief with our children. Both have the same belief now and one is studying bio-medicine at a secular university. Ken Ham may have a point, but I also tend to think that if teens are forced to 'go to church' and see so-called Christians acting hypocritically, how on earth would they not want to leave? I think it shows that they have a healthy abilty to question why, for example, 'pastors' and other so-called leaders commit adultery and can remain in the pulpit. The church is the Body of Christ, not a building, or a religious meeting. If we thought for ourselves instead of blindly following men who love to lord it over others, we might have a heart for these kids who have seen through the lies and have no-one to talk to.

Why Teenagers are Leaving the faith.
Posted On: 08/26/08 01:38:06 PM Age 54, CANADA
Thanks for your perception. I have an 18 yr old son that just decided to leave his faith. He leaves in one week for his first year of University and going without faith. His reasons are how can we Christians be sure we are the right ones as other faiths all feel the same way Christians do about their faith. My son went to a Private Christian School for 10 yrs and then we put him into public school where he discovered many things that where not taught in the Christian School. My son believes the Christian School was wrong not to teach them other things of the world as it was a shock to him once he tried to live in the big world along side of everyone. So my son believes Christans are not teaching enough to their children, just teaching them the Christian way only which does not prepare them for the big world they must eventually survive in. He use to come to church with us faithfully all his life and just within the last year he stopped all of a sudden and we can't believe how far the other way he is heading. He really likes his new friends which are not all Christians and explained to me they are really nice people with good families so who are we to say we have it all right. But I am trusting God to not let go of him. God will bring him back as he promises in Proverbs.

Re: Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 06/07/06 02:30:13 PM Age 56, CA
Christian Kids leave the faith because Christianity is no longer being taught in the Churches. Churchianity has replaced it with no ear for Christ's Word.

Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 10/27/05 07:22:53 AM Age 52, FL
They leave the faith because they were not Christians in the first place. Jesus warned us that FEW would find the narrow gate that leads to life. How many millions of people is more than a few-even considering the population throughout history? This should frighten you. After being in a foreign church where God was, I came back to discover I can't find a real church in my searches in my town. I hope the rest of you are more forunate.

Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 07/06/05 01:40:29 PM Age 43, SD
Children need discipleship and internships just as emerging adult Christians do. Instead it seems that churches are busy entertaining children, whereas this type of competition with the world is fierce. It should be the resolve of churches to connect families with adequate home teaching tools and teach families how to use those tools, to handle the Word of God as intended. It is said that a family that eats together stays together. This concept should be applied to Bible study. We need to equip parents with tools and Biblical strategies to raise a family in the way it should go. When children and adults go in the way of the world then it could be assumed those groups of people were not of us, followers of Christ. Tolerance has led the church to ignore assurance of salvation; fruits should be an indicator. It is healthy to me to have my faith challenged as the world daily does. Challenge builds resolve in my relationship with Christ and thankfully identifies sins. Churches should not be a substitute for parental guidance but more of an aid, the head in relationship to limbs. On Indian reservations I witness child after child raise his/her hand for Christ. Then those children return to alcoholic homes, dysfunctional homes in general. Families already left them behind and for some reason so do churches. It is no wonder that those hands for Christ wind up as hands for the world. This reminds me of day-school indoctrination tactics. Indian children attended day school then were expected to return home to teach parents, to assimilate them. Parents were told not to teach their children because they were not skilled. This model does not work! Parents across Christianity tend not to teach their children in a family setting, I think as an effect that it is popular thought that (Sunday)schools should or will do the teaching. I content dysfunction in the family is directly related to inability to related to Christ in a home setting and is a main contributor to children leaving the church, turning against the faith Christ so wants them to have. In one Christian Web-board a woman told me she was raised in the church and was a Christian until her son was killed. Tragically now she proclaims atheism. She became a witness in behalf of the world. Is she misguided or never Christian. I pray for her but will not know the outcome.

Re: Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 07/06/05 12:16:52 PM Age 45, FL
God bless you...we know what you're going through. We hsed our son from the time he was 6. He LOVED preaching (his dad is a pastor) and preachers...studied Creationism fervently and was able to pass these truths on easily...was a passionate witness for Christ..attended Summit twice and worked there for two terms. However, he has fallen away in a big way...he would say "no", that he is fine, but he is living like the world and thinking like the world about the Church, abortion, music, homosexuality and more. This was a sudden change and one that we can't pinpoint a reason for. I pray for all parents going through this pain and for their children. God is faithful!

Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 07/04/05 11:57:37 PM Age 45, OK
I grew up going to church with my family and considered myself to be a Christian after being baptized around 12 years old. In highschool I was taught about evolution and began to question those in my church and soon Christianity seemed to be old-fashioned and disproven. In college the seeds of doubt were watered and fertilized. I quit going to church and ridiculed Christians a number of times. At 39 my life was falling apart-I was invited to a Precept Bible Study and confronted with the Word of God-Jesus Christ saved me and I met my heavenly Father for the first time! Now my sons are being taught the same things I was taught and the youth groups want to have pizza parties and play volleyball.

Re: Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 07/04/05 01:45:14 PM Age 40, VA
Please, please don't let media biases and perhaps a few unfortunate encounters with a few Christians dissuade you from Christ. I encourage you to dig deeper. You will find there are so many Christians who are in the world but not of it. I have witnessed so many who live out their faith every day by helping others with their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. There are many denominations of Christianity to explore if you find "evangelical" Christianity to be too extreme. I encourage you to find a church home where you are nurtured in the faith, instead of shunning Christianity completely. It will be a decision you won't regret. As you already know, we as Christians are all imperfect. None of us follows the will of God completely! It is a big temptation to allow the flaws of others to turn you away from Christ. If everyone did this, there would be no Christians. Please don't make this mistake. God Bless!

Re: Why Do Christian Kids Leave The Faith?
Posted On: 07/03/05 03:28:49 AM Age 47, PA
The world does a good job cultivating Intellectual skepticism. The Christian church needs to teach such things as why the bible is credible, why evolution is not true, and the like; and it needs to be taught from the pulpit. These things are not separate from the gospel. Our faith is based on concrete events. I've met so many "Christians" who do not know why they believe what they believe. Not knowing why you believe what you believe is the same as not believing - you'll end up in hell.

Read More Feedback | Post Feedback

Ebook Documentary
Special Video

Click Here to Watch Now

Limited Time
Special Offer:

Ebook + Hard Cover
Click Here for Details

Sign up to receive our
FREE Biblical Worldview Newsletter!

* Your Email Address:
* State: 
* Country:
for even MORE alerts sign up here
Bookmark and Share
Find us: Twitter / Facebook
Search Worldview Weekend:
Worldview Tube
Watch the latest commentary by Brannon Howse
Worldview Radio
Listen to the latest Worldview Weekend Radio with Brannon Howse
Roku Channel

iPhone/Android App

Worldview Weekend Online Academy for Students and Adults

Worldview Weekend
Family Reunion

Branson, Missouri
April 26, 27, 28, 2013

Worldview Weekend Radio
with Brannon Howse

Listen live to Worldview Weekend Radio with Brannon Howse M-F at 1-2 pm CT.

NEW! Visit Worldview on your mobile phone for latest news, audio and video!

Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend
President and Founder
Find us on Twitter and Facebook!
Contact Us
Copyright © 2010 Worldview