Lots of folks are talking about the future of young, disenfranchised evangelicals. I’d love your thoughts on this. What is driving them away? Where are they going? (Working on a post that explains the phenomenon from my own perspective – as a young, disenfranchised evangelical myself!) 🙂
I started to respond and it just took off! So i thought that I would post it here and see what anyone else had to say.
For me it comes down to two things: epistemology and dualism.
The evangelical epistemology is rooted in an individualism that does not resonate with the worldview/cosmology that the Bible was written in. This Bible is suppose to be God’s Word (an elusive concept) and does not ultimately (long term) provide the coherence of worldview, the continuity with tradition or the cohesiveness of experience (burning bushes etc.) that satisfy.
It feels disconnected after a while if you are thinking about it at ALL.
The dualism of us/them, in/out, heaven/hell, right/wrong, creation/evolution, republican/democratic, et al. is so disjointed from our experience of the world that it becomes untenable to continue pretending that we believe something just because we were “told”. It seems ridiculous. It gets to be embarrassing. SO instead of undertaking the arduous task of deconstructing without destructing – and then subsequently rebuilding… many just walk away. Plus, where would you live during the renovation ?
When you take these two and multiply them by things like the evolution of Finney’s new measures (alter calls) and the ‘christian music industry’ that many people have not heard about but somehow can SENSE the formulaic nature of modern christian religion … it gets – not just incrementally but -exponentially more challenging to hold onto it.
For me this gets no better when we try to ‘return’ to the past with yearly schedules, antique liturgies, and outdated lectionaries. That is no better. It may FEEL more mystical for a time but… in the end there is no more congruence with our ‘real life’ than being an End Times- Rapture ready – Bible thumper waiting to go to heaven who sings passionately on Sunday that God would ‘come down’ – as if God was not already ‘down’ and that the Copernican view got rid of the 3 tiered universe.
That’s the kind of realization that leads people to walk away.
[I was so fired up I forgot to mention two other huge issues: hermeneutics (knowing how to read books like Jonah or Revelation) and gender issues.]
– So that is why I think that many young people are walking away… why do you think that this is happening.