Young Adult Crises of Faith, and a Potential Cause

Recently we had a retreat to kick off a 34-week bible study for men, and part of the retreat was to hear the testimony of each man joining the study. There were several common threads woven through most of the men’s experiences of conversion and faith, but the one that I’d like to highlight here is the common occurrence of a “crisis of faith” starting near the end of our teenage years and extending – sometimes – into our late 20’s or early 30’s. That is, young men of this age tended to know God existed, but didn’t walk with Him (show a life set apart) and they ceased – for a time – to search further for Him.

Then, I began a study in Sunday School entitled “Introduction to Theology”, and the course material in the class posits a theory about this crisis of faith; to wit, we do not know why we believe what we believe and therefore falter in our walk of faith when our walk intersects with a world that is actively humanistic in method.

What I mean is, most Christians know what they believe, but not why they believe that particular what. Why is this? I think the basic reason is because we don’t take the time to teach and we don’t take the time to learn theology. We have a large base of belief, mostly predicated on what we’ve been told since we were very young and “know by heart” (folk theology) and that which we’ve heard that’s very sensational or new (tabloid theology).

When we struggle past puberty and begin to engage our rational mind again, we are at a phase in our lives when we are thrust into a world that is filled with “reason” and seemingly rational people. This is especially true of people who attend university. Suddenly, others are asking us questions that are penetrating and argumentative, and with a ready set of beliefs, but no structure or argument, we are unprepared to answer, and therefore listen to other arguments, rather than defend a position of faith.

This is a huge disservice to the faith because it then affirms the argument of the atheist or humanist that a life of Christian faith is futile and unnecessary. It is wholly untrue that the Christian life is a baseless life full of chosen fears and beliefs in fantasy beings, rather it is a life of purpose and focus in service to a perfect Master that ends in an eternal life taking our joy in Him.

The question is not whether or not we will be theologians; anyone who has wondered about any fundamental life question is a theologian. The question merely is, “Will you be a good one or a lousy one”?

It is important to know what we believe, it is time well spent to study the method of theology and the way we can study to correctly get from the Scripture what God would have us know of Him and His ways. It pays even more to be able to defend that belief and prepare ways to discuss these beliefs with others in such a way that they will see that reason is applied to your belief structure, not just blind tradition or deep emotion.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2007 at 20:56 and is filed under Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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