Among all things, could debates about the age of the earth, intelligent design versus evolution, and six-day versus gradual creation be drawing young people away from the Christian faith?
Ken Ham, famous for his Answers in Genesis creation-science ministry, says a major study he commissioned reveals the reasons why many young people are leaving the Church. According to a recent article
, a respected researcher uncovered that two-thirds of young people in evangelical churches will leave as they approach their 20s.
In Ham's new book, "Already Gone: Why Your Kids Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop it," a collaborative effort with researcher Britt Beemer, church youth are already "lost" in their hearts and minds during elementary and high school, not college as many expect.
Beemer conducted this study via phone interviews and surveys with 1,000 20 to 29 year-olds who used to attend evangelical churches on a daily basis.
The results struck Ham with surprise. According to these interviews and surveys, children who faithfully attended Bible schools are more likely to question Scriptural authority and eventually fall away from the church. He calls this the "Sunday school syndrome."
The survey reveals that children who regularly attend Sunday school are more likely to leave the Church, believe that the Bible is less true, defend the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage and defend premarital sex.
Although Ham believes that there are various reasons for this, he thinks the source of the problem is how churches and parents teach children to interpret the creation account in Genesis.
Ham firmly believes in six-day creation that occurred 6,000 to 10,000 years ago and argues that the Church opened up the door for the exodus of youth in the 19th century as soon as they began teaching that "the age of the Earth is not an issue as long as you trust in Jesus and believe in the resurrection and the Gospel accounts."
Ham believes that the youth of younger generations may have been better able to deal with this inconsistency and hold onto their faith, but today, with a highly secular and athiestic public education system, it becomes harder for young people to mesh together what they have learned at church and in school.
According to Ham, when parents and teachers tell kids that it's okay to believe in evolution that occurred over millions of years, they come to believe that what they learned in school is always correct. And what is taught in school has nothing to do with, and often contradicts, what Scripture teaches.
After reviewing the survey results, Ham came to the conclusion that as soon as youth believe that Scripture is not the authority on the creation of the universe, they instantly question Scriptural authority as a whole. This is dangerous, because the foundation of Christianity rests on Scripture.
In Ham's book, he intends to prevent youth from leaving Christianity by proving that the Bible connects to reality and is based on history. Why do you think many youth are drifting away from Christianity? Do you think it has anything to with confusion about the origin of the universe and humanity, as Ham argues?