Young Americans leaving churches in droves

Every once in a while, I manage to find articles written by religious leaders that I find refreshingly honest. It doesn’t happen very often, mind you, but when it does, it gives me hope these deluded fools will eventually realize their religion is on a serious death spiral.

The latest bastion of honesty comes courtesy of a retired Baptist Minister, Rev. Howard Bess who confesses the reasons young people are leaving churches has a lot to do with how poorly religious institutions are doing when it comes to attracting young folks.

He’s outlined 3 main reasons for this, and I can’t say I seriously disagree with any of them:

  • Churches are no longer intellectually challenging. More and more of our young people are college-educated and in the future even more must and will accept the challenge of post-high school education. They are thinking people who are expanding the limits of their curiosity and knowledge.
  • Churches are no longer leaders in moral and ethical discussions. Young people have grown weary of churches that cannot get past issues such as homosexuality and abortion.
  • Churches are no longer visionary. They have remained focused on saving souls for the next life and offering rituals tied to perpetuating theologies that no longer seem relevant to many young people. Churches are no longer significant players in shaping the life of our communities.

He offers a few solutions to these problems, but it’s likely to fall on deaf ears. How can churches resolve issues of intellectual difficiency, moral bankrupcy and outdated ritualism when these are the very foundations of religion? Let’s grow out of this childish religious phase in our history, shall we?

Comments (3)

  • avatar

    Eric Loomis

    One of the best points the good Reverend makes in his articles is that “Churches are no longer intellectually challenging.” Were they ever? How many times can you read an ancient text and hear 40 different interpretations of the same verse? Of course thats not intellectually challenging. Its damned non-sense.

    Plus its not like there’s any new material coming out. And when it does, those people get locked in a padded room for hearing voices or starting cults. Why does this not work retroactively? Can’t we all just realize religious texts are written by insane people or by people who had a questionable motive?

  • avatar


    Eric, of course they were intellectually challenging. Once you tie yourself a very large and complicated knot, you have to figure out how to unwind it. It may not be the best method of finding intellectual gratification, but it does a job of sorts. Of course, I’m being quite facetious. I am very glad that this article was produced, however. I also applaud the candidness of the author.

  • avatar

    Men's Battle Plan

    Churches used to be intellectually challenging in that they would require believers to intellectually understand every point of the bible. Even if you don’t believe in God you can be challenged to understand the most influential book ever written.

    Most churches today don’t push Christians enough to learn the Bible, Christian history, world religions and apologetics. Most of the work spent as a Christian is serving at the church, which is very good because people need help.

    The church is for sick people and church members need to help people get well. But we are also called to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

Leave a Comment

Scroll to top