Is Atheism the Reason Millennials are Leaving the Church?

Part 2: A Response to the Friendly Atheist

By Robin Schumacher

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Continued from Page Two: Closer to the Truth

The Overarching Flaw

Let's forget for a minute Mr. Mehta's primary question of why/if millennials are leaving Christianity. Instead, let's ask a better question: why does anyone receive Christ and become a Christian?

Some atheists may say it is cultural; they were brought up in a Christian home.[16] Others would cite Freud and say it is because the person has a coping mechanism problem or 'wish fulfillment factor'[17]. Still other atheists may reference Marx who thought those that clung to religion suffer from a cognitive disorder[18] or as one atheist I dialoged with over email put it, I was "clinically crazy".

How nice.

Such charges are common. As Christians, we don't forget Jesus' own family coming to take Him away (Mark 3:21), Festus shouting out to a crowd that Paul had lost his mind (Acts 26:24), or the Apostle writing to the Corinthians that "the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).

These facts help us to discover the primary flaw in Mr. Mehta's article.

The spirit behind Mehta's argument as to why millennials (and others) are supposedly exiting Christianity is because atheism is 'coming on strong' today. Mehta believes that atheism is short circuiting the Christian faith because of the now wider dissemination of atheistic information and campaigns, which wake believers up from their Freud/Marx/other condition so that they see the light (pun intended).

Unfortunately, some Christians believe and employ the same thing only in reverse. It's as if these Christians and their atheist opponents see the acceptance or rejection of Christ as a battle of sales pitches the one with the slickest marketing materials, most trafficked websites, longest list of pro's, shortest register of con's, and tightest set of logical argumentation will win the day and convince the person who's on the fence.

There are two problems with this approach. First, the only reason to believe anything is because it's true, not because it's appealing. Second, such thinking runs contrary to how the Bible describes the condition of humanity and how people become believers in Christ.

Mr. Mehta and all his atheist brethren need to understand that they, along with all the rest of us who are now believers, are born rejecting God. The Bible says that no one seeks God (Rom. 3:11), all have blind eyes and deaf ears to the gospel message (John 12:40), with minds that are naturally hostile to God (Rom. 8:7) and incapable of accepting Christ on their own (1 Cor. 2:14).

This, again, is the 'natural' state of everyone, which is why Jesus said: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44, 65).

Yes, there are very good apologetic arguments for God that contain compelling evidence and solid reason. And all will be flippantly brushed aside by unbelievers and labeled inadequate because of their a priori commitment to anti-supernaturalism unless God intervenes in their life. This shouldn't come as a surprise as people act contrary to evidence all the time.

Of course, this statement will be laughed at and ridiculed by atheists but it is 100% Biblical.

If millennials truly aren't coming to Christ, it has nothing to do with Mr. Mehta's arguments, which are mostly anemic and contain nothing original. Whether they are millennials, boomers, busters, or carry some other label given to them by the secular culture, people become Christians only through the grace of the sovereign God who awakens their hearts (Acts 16:14) to accept His loving offer of salvation (John 3:16) and actually see the truth before them.

This fact of God's sovereignty should provide peace to all Christians and cause all of us to continue to work hard at making disciples of Christ through our message and our deeds, "in no way [be] alarmed by our opponents" (Phil. 1:28), and know that people such as Mehta have no bearing whatsoever on whether the atheist ranks swell or shrink.


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Published 8-20-13