“I don’t have any big questions about faith and spirituality,” a young woman in a recent focus group on religious topics responded. “I don’t have many big questions from a religious perspective,” a young man said. “I don’t think there is anyone else in control of your life besides yourself,” the woman added. “I rely on science and facts,” the man said.
I have to admit that the young adults’ comments above disturb me. Over the course of my life, so many things have happened that I had little control over and yet these things changed my life in both positive and negative ways. Truth be told, I’m less sure of what tomorrow may bring now than I was thirty years ago. I struggle with questions in my life that neither science nor experts in any field can answer.
The young adults that have no questions about faith and spirituality are not alone. Their statements above affirm survey results published by the Barna Group in their book, Churchless. When churchless adults were asked about their impressions of church (Christian):
Six out of ten surveyed said they are more likely to develop religious beliefs on their own than to adopt a slate of beliefs or a worldview taught by a church.
But research outlined in the book also revealed that young adults who formerly attended church felt their churches were not safe places to wrestle with doubts about their beliefs, teachings or church practices.
A very close friend of mine with three grown children, who are all married and starting families of their own, recently admitted to me that he doesn’t know how his children will negotiate the obstacles in life without a deep faith in God. “Without spiritual grounding in a church community,” my friend said, “what will they do? I’m not gonna be around forever.”
My friend and I discussed our desire to pass our faith on to people like the young adults quoted above. But how do we reach them?
Busted Halo® has been addressing this question since its inception. We still ask it today because the answers change with the culture. If you have friends, children or grandchildren who have left the church and struggle with their faith, and you want to do something about it, read Churchless, a book about understanding today’s churchless adults and how to connect with them.