by Betty Jackson
According to a recent survey by the Barna Group, youngsters of the United States between ages 13-18 (labeled as Generation Z) claim to be atheists. Barna states the percentage of this unbelieving generation is double that of adults. How firm these children are in disbelief is surely not knowable in this kind of survey. But it is no surprise that many of them are leaning toward atheism. The viral propaganda against belief in God is so pervasive. It is in the classroom, on television, social media, etc. https://www.barna.com/research/atheism-doubles-among-generation-z
We will briefly consider the reasons given by these polled young people, and the increasing secularism/unbelief among the general population. We have listed numerous articles to supplement the brevity here.
The primary reason these youngsters gave for their atheism is the fact of evil and suffering in our world. Surely, it is mused, there must be no God, or he wouldn’t allow evil and suffering to exist. This issue is problematic for many people, including believers in an Almighty God. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist because there is suffering and evil, the foremost question is: What is the evidence, if any, for the existence of Deity?
Where there is design, there must be a designer; where there is an effect there must be an adequate cause. Our universe, our bodies contain the very evidence of a great Cause and Designer. The visible evidence for an invisible great mind and power that created all there is leads the reasoning and honest person to belief in God (Rom. 1:19-21). Wayne Jackson explains, “In Romans 1, Paul employed this type of reasoning to contend for the Creator’s existence. ‘For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and deity; that they may be without excuse’ (v. 20). By observing the intricacies of the visible creation (the obvious design, orchestration, etc.), one is expected to reason to the invisible, i.e., an ultimate, intelligent Cause exists.The logic is so transparent that to fail to reason in this fashion, Paul says, is inexcusable!” (https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/892-reasoning-from-the-visible-to-the-invisible)
God has communicated to us by the Bible. How do we know that? There is plenty of evidence for its inspiration. It is the genuine Word. A study of this amazing Book will show its supernatural unity, though written over a period of 1500 or more years. The writers were from different backgrounds and experiences. There is scientific accuracy and foreknowledge, fulfilled prophecies, etc. All these point to the integrity of the Book as God’s Scripture. (cf. Wayne Jackson. The Holy Bible Inspired of God—A Look at the Evidence. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1578-the-holy-bible-inspired-of-god-a-look-at-the-evidence.)
Can we answer the question: Why is there a suffering in the world today? If we believe that the evidence is so strong for the existence of God that it cannot be denied (prima facie case), there must be a satisfying answer. At least enough to accept that God is; and that he loves and acts on behalf of his people, in spite of things we don’t understand. What can we learn from his Holy Word?
When Adam and Eve chose to sin, they brought death upon their offspring, that is you and me (Gen. 2:15-17; 3). Disease and violations of natural laws lead to death. The earth itself has “suffered” the consequences of mankind’s sins. It isn’t the same pure globe it was before the fall. For example, there is geological evidence for a moderate climate upon all of the earth before the Flood in Noah’s day. Since then there are turbulent storms and weather extremes.
Because of God’s love (1 Jon. 4:8), we have been created with the power of personal choice. We are not robots geared to behave with no ability to make decisions. However, choices often lead to sufferings of various kinds for ourselves and others. For example alcohol and other drugs lead to a variety of heartaches: automobile accidents that kill or maim, family abuse, immorality, financial ruin, prison terms, and general unhappiness and depression. The lives of children are affected by the choices of their parents.
The acceptance of the theory of evolution as fact is a huge factor contributing to the growing disbelief in God. If one is simply a beast without a soul, there is no room for the demands of the Lord. The desire for unrestrained behaviors, without accountability, makes evolution an attractive idea to some. With evolution comes a disregard for human life (e.g. abortion). The fact is there is no proof for evolution as the creative power behind all that is. If nothing ever existed, there would be nothing now. Life comes from life.
The children surveyed also listed hypocrisy among churches/Christians as a “reason” for their unbelief. This is probably the most shallow of excuses. However, it reminds us that we do not live “on an island” alone. We are seen. Yes, many people look for a weakness in others, and will find it or misjudge. But we must do our best not to behave in ways that bring disgrace to the cause of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 2:11-12). Yet, people who claim hypocrisy is the reason for their unbelief, seem to ignore the many good people who are exemplary of God’s influence in their lives. There are hypocrites in all walks of life, but that doesn’t keep us from going to the doctor or buying an automobile, home etc.
Guardians of the world’s children are their major influences, especially early in life. What are parents, grandparents, teachers doing? Do we live like Jesus commands? Do we communicate with children about God in a deep manner? Are we careful to watch over our youngsters to help them cultivate good companions? How much time is spent having fun or on media devices, versus time spent in service to the Lord or studying his word? Parenting is a responsibility; we will be held accountable. The lifestyle of many parents is focused upon the temporal. It is more important to spend time with our offspring, than it is earning and buying “stuff."
The vulnerability of our youth is often under-estimated. We are swimming upstream against a world culture. Unless we prioritize the spiritual needs of ourselves and our children, we will “drown.” Just taking our kids to worship is not enough. A couple of hours a week in formal church services will not create an armor against the wiles of the devil, in all his craftiness (Eph. 6:10-16). Though influential, the preacher, elders, youth minister, Bible class teachers cannot replace parents. The inspired Moses wrote the words of God: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Emphasis mine. Deut. 6:4-9). It takes time, lots of time, to plant the word of God in our own hearts, and the hearts of our children. How much time is left?
Is God There? https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/801-is-god-there).
Are Logic and Scripture Compatible? https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1173-are-logic-and-scripture-compatible
Penetrating Questions From the Book of Job. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/726-penetrating-questions-from-the-book-of-job
The Value of Human Suffering. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/52-value-of-human-suffering-the
Reasoning From the Visible to the Invisible. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/892-reasoning-from-the-visible-to-the-invisible
Is Evidence Needed For Faith. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/629-is-evidence-needed-for-faith
Why Do Natural Disasters Happen. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/939-why-do-natural-disasters-happen
Evaluating Evolution in Plain English. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1228-evaluating-evolution-in-plain-english
Building Character Before the Concrete Sets. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1233-building-character-before-the-concrete-sets
Parents Obey Your Father. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1190-parents-obey-your-father
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