Churches are producing atheists by not answering the questions of young people and explaining why they believe in the Bible, said a Christian apologist who works with young adults.
Anthony Horvath, who was formerly an atheist himself after years of Christian education, pointed out that renowned atheists such as Richard Dawkins were raised in the Church but have become some of the fiercest attackers of God.
He further noted, “Books like Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ and Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ do not become best sellers in a society that understands what Christianity is all about.”
Horvath, who has taught religion to middle school and high school students, explained that some of the recurring questions young adults struggle with but churches often fail to address include the formation and development of the Bible, the presence of evil and suffering in the world, and the question of inspiration and inerrancy.
“In large part, it happens when the church leadership is completely unaware that their members – and not necessarily just the young members – have questions at all,” explained Horvath to The Christian Post. “And [they] continue merrily along thinking that to retain the youth they just need to be entertained.”
Young people question whether they should trust the Bible since it “is so old,” and are not satisfied with the simple answer that they should trust it because God wrote it. Horvath explains that though they understand that to be the Christian position, they want to know how they can be sure of that.
Furthermore, the younger generation continues to wrestle with the age-old question of why, if God is good, then there is evil and suffering in the world.
“The evidence – which they can see with their own eyes on TV and in the newspaper – is that God is not good,” said Horvath. “It is only a matter of time before a young person begins to encounter pain and suffering in their own lives and has to grapple with the issue personally.”
He added that these youth will be less likely to trust what the Church says as they continue to be fed easy answers which do not really explain why.
As a solution, Horvath recommends apologetics – the defense of the Christian faith. He points to 1 Peter 3:15 which teaches believers to be ready to give the reasons for what they believe.
“I am talking about apologetics at a much broader scale then normally understood,” said Horvath. “It should not be left to professors or specialists, such as C.S. Lewis. It needs to be incorporated into everything we do as the Church from cradle to grave.”
He called for believers to not only be able to say that Jesus rose from the dead as church dogma and doctrine, but to be able to explain why they believe this.
Horvath maintains an online discussion forum on Christianity and welcomes non-Christians to openly vent their opposition to the faith for discourse.