Studies have shown that for every one person who enters the Christian faith, four more leave the faith. More people are exiting Christianity than converting to Christianity, at least here in America. Overall belief in Jesus Christ has been rapidly declining for the past few decades. Many pastors are wondering why so many young people leave the Church after high school. Some would argue that they weren’t saved to begin with, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
I recently watched a video from Dr. Sean Mcdowell where he interviews author John Marriott on deconversion; it was very telling. Both have agreed that the big reason why so many people leave Christianity is because of fundamentalism. Christians have this idea they need certainty in every area of their life where things need to be struggle-free, so when things go south, they start to feel that God failed them.
Christ-followers not living the way they are taught is another driving force to deconversion. A Christian can say one thing but do another thing that completely contradicts how God tells us to live. Hypocrisy is a significant negative, and young people are sick of phoniness in the Church.
How do we as a church respond when our brother or sister leaves the faith? We have to be compassionate towards them and not dismiss them as fake Christian or an apostate. We can’t let our zeal for Christ be a turn-off to our unbelieving friend. It’s a good reason as to why people leave the faith. You might have had an easier life and never had to question God, but for some people, they had to deal with a lot of tragedy and uncertainty in their lives. We have to be loving and not be so quick to make assumptions about why someone we loved left the faith.
Job had a similar experience where he wrestled with doubt, and his friends were being toxic by saying “he didn’t have enough faith” or “God may be punishing him.” It’s that self-righteous attitude that turns people off from God. Pray for your ex-brother in the faith, love on him, but don’t demonize him.