What Are The Problems Most Young People Have With Religion?
People raise concerns about the youth of today. It amazes me how quickly parents resign themselves to a pessimistic view of their children. It is as if they know their children are going to “try that” or “go through that stage”. Some of these thoughts come from parents who “go to church”. I remember a parent telling me a few years ago when her son was a 4th grader that she was prepared to give him whatever birth control he needed when he got older, because she knew he was “going to do it”.
A young person raised in this society comes quickly to have a loose definition of religion. To most young people, religion means churches. Those churches have painted roofs and colored windows. People go there on Sunday. Those who go look unhappy. Others look joyful and content.
If you ask today’s youth, “How important is spirituality to you?” the majority of them will say, “Very important.” In fact, in a recent study, 67 percent of conservative protestant youth said faith is very important in their lives. One girl said, “Oh, really important. It’s the center of how I live my life.” Another girl said, “Faith influences many of my decisions.” But if you ask teenagers, “Tell me what is most important in your life”, guess what? According to this study, religion or their faith never comes up. What has happened?
1. Religion has not been made relevant to them by the people they trust most. People will “preach” or “teach” children about faith, but they never see how grace or peace is lived in the lives of those they admire. When an example of biblical kindness or love is not manifested, young people do not know where or how to use it in their lives. Paul said to the Christians at Philippi, “the things ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do” (Philippians 4:9). Can young people see forgiveness, hope, or self-control in you?
2. Young people listen and respond to the world more than they listen and respond to God. Young people yield to peer pressure without question. Then they watch and mimic the actors on TV or perform on the athletic field. What the world offers always comes in the form of lust – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life (1 John 2:15,16). All of which passes away (v. 17). The young person who listens to the truth of God will abide forever (v. 17). Be not conformed to the world, but change you will and conform to God (Romans 12:1,2).
3. The reason young people have problems with religion is because of family problems. This is probably the number one problem of young people today. Where there ought to be security, love, provision, guidance, standards, discipline, hope, and example, there is often just the opposite. Home has been nothing more than a “quick-stop market” for many young people. The respect parents should be teaching their children (Ephesians 6:4) has been neglected. As a result, children are telling their parents what to do. A child who learns to do so will soon be telling God what to do (Galatians 6:7,8).
4. Ignorance is a problem young people have with religion. Some have never been taught about God and His promise, nor about Christ and His love and sacrifice. The truth is assumed rather than instructed. If you leave the responsibility up to some churches, all they will do is keep their “youth group” entertained just to keep them “out of trouble”. The Bible says “fear God and keep his commandments” for it is “the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Parents and churches need to stop accommodating sin and start teaching young people the truth, the absolute truth of the Bible that will set them free (John 8:32).