A new survey reported in Christian Post. Let’s see the numbers, then I’ll recommend a solution.
The American Worldview Inventory 2021, a survey of the philosophy of life on American adults from Arizona Christian University, assessed the worldviews of four generations: millennials (born 1984-2002), Gen X (1965-1983), baby boomers (1946-1964) and builders (1927-1945).
Researchers found that among other recent generations, millennials have gone farther in cutting ties with traditional Christian views and normative biblical teaching.
[…]43% of millennials stated they either don’t know, don’t care or don’t believe God exists compared to 28% of boomers, and 44% of millennials believe Satan is a real and influential, compared to 64% of boomers.
The study also found that overall, younger Americans are significantly more likely than the two previous generations to embrace horoscopes as a guide and Karma as a life principle, to see “getting even” with others as defensible, to accept evolution over creation, and to view owning property as fostering economic injustice.
On spiritual matters, Americans younger than 55 are far more likely to distrust the Bible and to believe God is uninvolved in people’s lives.
So first point about this… just as with the recent election, the first thing that occurred to me is “what are Christian parents and Christian pastors doing to counter this?” It seems like we’ve been living with this problem for some time, but we just keep trying the same old approaches. Missions trips. Hearing the voice of God. Prosperity gospel. Chasing Democrat priorities like BLM and CRT and global warming and socialism and amnesty for illegal immigrants (see Russell Moore). Youth groups filled with entertainment and pizza. Pious Reformed theology that emphasizes fideism (presuppositionalist apologetics). Young-Earth creationism of the Ken Ham variety. Fact/Value splits with no rational grounding for any of the values in fact. There’s no point trying to convince anyone of the truth, because we are in the “last days” and everyone just wants to be evil.
I attend PCA and SBC churches, and there is zero emphasis on training church people to have conversations about basic questions like “does God exist?”, “is the Bible historically reliable?”, and “did Jesus rise from the dead?”. In these churches, we have very conservative leaders and parents. Parents and pastors are “competent” if they are married, have lots of children, kids in private Christian schools, hearing the voice of God. No one is able to have conversations with atheists that are persuasive. That would be “arguing” and “arguing” is bad.
I’ve spent YEARS trying to get debates and lectures from Christian academics who debate non-Christians into the church. Not just material from apologetics organizations, but mainstream training from groups like Focus on the Family. Nobody wants to watch debates with people like William Lane Craig. And nobody wants to read any books about science or history. That would be “testing God” with our “fallen reason”. And so, the exodus of young people from Christianity continues. I have to work with the people who were born into Christian homes and who went to youth group and Christian schools – I know how they lost their faith. I ask them.
Solving the Problem
Anyway, with that said, I listened to a nice podcast from Apologetics 315 yesterday where they interviewed Dr. Stephen C. Meyer. In my opinion, no one does a better job of approaching the most core issues of the Christian faith with evidence that is convincing to open-minded non-Christians.
And they have an outline:
Episode 021 – Return of the God Hypothesis with Stephen C. Meyer
In this episode, Brian Auten and Chad Gross interview Dr. Stephen C. Meyer on his latest book Return of the God Hypothesis.
0:43 – Intro to Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of Return of the God Hypothesis, Signature in the Cell, and Darwin’s Doubt.
3:00 – Dr. Meyer’s background, education, and how he got interested in the question of intelligent design.
9:58 – Meyer’s view of science and philosophy of science, the importance for understanding philosophy when doing science.
16:28 – reviewing five centuries of the history of science, the false idea that science and religion have always been at war.
23:49 – The reason for telling the story of the rise of science, the rejection of the God hypothesis, and its subsequent return based on the most recent scientific discoveries.
28:15 – Explaining the methodology of inference to the best explanation. How this fits within theistic apologetics.
36:30 – Is our goal truth, or a pre-commitment to naturalism? What challenges has Meyer faced when arguing for intelligent design?
39:45 – Are there problems with postulating a mind as an intelligent cause? Are certain explanations “out of bounds” when doing science?
43:00 – Shannon information
43:55 – The origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, and the information in the cell. Resistance to change from a materialistic worldview.
47:40 – Huge theistic implications and the corresponding push-back to them.
49:15 – Helpful illustrations to explain the fine-tuning of the universe for life.
53:38 – Douglas Adams’ “puddle objection” to the fine-tuning argument; the response, and a counter-analogy. The weak-anthropic principle.
58:50 – How might these arguments fit into an apologetic for Christianity? The role of natural theology and the need for special revelation. The false dichotomy between evidentialism and presuppositional apologetics.
In the podcast, Dr. Meyer talks about evidence that bears on the question of God’s existence from science. Specifically, the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine-tuning, the origin of life, and the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record. This is mainstream evidence from mainstream science that points to a Creator and Designer.
This podcast is not for beginners, it’s more for intermediate-level Christians. If you’re looking for something for beginners, I recommend the True U DVDs, which feature Dr. Meyer talking to college students.