Re: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 11:31:57 EDT

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 1:44 PM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

> You read that subject line correctly. According to Ken Ham (surprise?),
> this is the bottom line reason why young people are leaving churches in
> droves. Amazing. But true -- that is, it's true that Ham thinks this is
> the reason.
> I saw a copy of this book today, browsed it a bit, and that's the bottom
> line for him.
> I guess the youth just don't leave those churches where they're taught the
> YEC view. That's certainly what Ham wants you to think. He's not about to
> admit that his rigidity on this issue is one of the reasons why people won't
> give Christianity a second look -- not those on the inside, but those on the
> outside looking in, who might otherwise go further with their spiritual
> curiosity.
> Ted
Putnam and Campbell looked into this issue in their May 2009 book, American
Grace. One of their conclusions:

Young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of 5-6
> times the historic rate (30-40% have no religion today versus 5-10% a
> generation ago). But youth’s religious disaffection is largely due to
> discomfort with religiosity having been tied to conservativ e politics.

In fact, they note that this issue is so important that it becomes
pre-eminent. Polticizing by itself drives young people away and
de-politicizing by itself would bring them back. I wonder how much of the
decline of the mainline church in the mid to late 20th Century was also the
result of politicization from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

Getting to what Ham observed. From my experience high school Sunday Schools
are the time the themes of the religious right are more brought to the
front. Before that what is mostly taught is Bible stories and catechizing.

I don't believe either side of the origins issue will keep young people. By
that I mean even if what many believe to be the "right" answer to the
origins problem was taught young people would still abandon the church.
Much of the issues they have here are not even concerning this. For example,
from my discussions with young people their bigger concerns include global
warming denialism, ignoring the poor, and overt racism in the church. Say
what you want about YEC but at its core is a desire to be true to Scripture.
Since the issues young people have are the issues where in my opinion the
religious right deviates from Scripture, re-attracting them does not require
a fatal compromise of Scriptural principles. Both Ham and his detractors see
a legitimate problem but I don't see either of them solving the problem
because their fight with each other has blinded them to the real problem and
thus its solution.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Thu Aug 6 11:33:32 2009

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