Study: Why Are Evangelical Kids Abandoning Jesus?

Ken Ham (founder of the Creation Museum) commissioned a study to find out why 2/3 of kids leave Evangelical churches when they reach their mid-20s. He’s also co-written a book, Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it. The study results will astound you!

Ham commissioned Britt Beemer, founder of the American Research Group and a former researcher for the Heritage Foundation, to find out why two of every three Evangelical kids turn their backs on their religion when they reach their mid-20s. The number who leave has been well established; the reason was always thought to be exposure to the “secularist agenda” when in college. Not so!


Beemer contacted 1,000 20-29 year old young adults who used to attend Evangelical churches regularly, but no longer did so. He found, shockingly, that those who most regularly attended Sunday School were the most likely to question the truthfulness of Scripture, to defend same-sex marriage and abortion, and to flat-out leave the church than those who didn’t.

You read that right. The more regularly they attended Sunday School, the more likely they were to leave the church. Wonder why that is?

Ham has proposed a reason why kids aren’t buying Christianity, and it has to do with the church bending to secularism’s will.

Many churches today, even some Evangelical churches, teach that the age of the Earth is not an issue as long as you trust in Jesus and believe in the resurrection and the Gospel accounts. Free to consider that certain parts of the Bible — the Creation story in particular — are not true, these youths then start to question the entire Good Book’s veracity and accuracy.

As Ham says,

[Teens believe that] what they are taught in school is reality, but the church teaches stories and morality and relationship. Bible teaching is not real in the sense of real history.

Many churches say that belief in 6-Day Creationism is not a Salvation issue, even though it is key to belief that humans are a special creation, and introduces the doctrine of Original Sin, both important hooks upon which the Abrahamic religions hang.

Ham suggests instead that Christians should not reject 6-Day Creationism. Instead, they should arm themselves and their children with Creationist Facts, by visiting Ham’s website and coming to the Creation Museum. Certain atheists are chortling about this, claiming Ham only did the study to drive visitors to his website and museum.

Some Catholics are also offended, saying,

This is not good theology or Biblical study. The initial study is probably fine (although I am not a stat guy, so I wouldn’t know any way), but the conclusions are off-the-wall bad. The problem is not in evolution vs. the Bible. The problem is in how we parent our kids and don’t give them a solid basis in truly understanding who they are, who God is, what their purpose is, and the freedom to ask questions and then help them seek the answers.

Ken Ham believes he has shown the way. In order to keep children from turning from God as some sort of fairy tale like Santa Claus when they reach adulthood, he insists that parents cannot allow children to question any part of the Bible. They must — must – follow it to the letter, without trying to interpret it or put it in “historical context”.

What do you think?

17 Responses to Study: Why Are Evangelical Kids Abandoning Jesus?

  1. 6-Day Creationism….who said it was a 24 hour day? Years are to God like a blink of an eye is to us. One day could of been a few thousand years to us and the next day could of been a few hours and the following day, a few hundred years…,etc. God could of finished and then set the Earth on its rotation around the sun which started the 24 hour day. Who knows the actual TIME it took to create the Earth and all of it wonders. I am sure God does not need a clock because everything He does it at His time, not ours. I had a teacher who fought me on this one…I won! I do not feel guilty about believing Earth has been around longer than our calendar says because God didn’t need a calendar!

    • Little D, Ham would say that you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. You “won” against your teacher only by diluting the Word of God, and saying that He is not sufficiently powerful to create the universe in 6 days, instead of billions of years. You “won” by telling your teacher that the Bible is NOT the perfect Word of God, but rather a mere book, not to be taken literally. Do you think that God intentionally set forth the Bible to confuse us, Little D? Do you think He lies to us? If the story of God’s Creation is something you don’t have to take literally, what other parts do you not take literally? Where do you draw the line, and who gave you the authority to decide that parts of God’s Word aren’t “real” but other parts are?

      • None of it is real. With the number of inconsistencies and ridiculous notions of morality, it is a relief to know that there is a trend towards young adults not taking it seriously.

      • “Do you think he lies to us?” Yes as a matter of fact. In Genesis God tells Adam and Eve that if they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil “surely you will die” guess what? They didn’t. Even if it was lying with good intent, lying is still lying.

        • So Adam and Eve are still kicking it? Oh wait, they did die. Both physically and spiritually.

          • Read your Bible. Adam lived 900+ years after eating the fruit. God told him that if he ate the fruit, he would die in that same day. Did he? Nope. The serpent told Eve she would gain knowledge of right and wrong. Did she? Yep. Who told the truth?

    • If only it were so simple. The genealogy of Jesus written in the Bible traces his descendants back 38 generations to Adam. Assuming a generation is 40 years, the Earth was only 1520 years old when Jesus lived. Let’s get really charitable and say that every one of the 38 generations up to Jesus was as long as the life of the oldest man in the Bible, Methuselah, who allegedly lived to be 969 years old. If this is the case then the Earth was only 36,822 years old when Jesus lived.

  2. They’re reaching the age of reason?

    • Hi, Paul. We changed editorial staff and direction here at the Paliban Daily on July 8, 2009. This post is from the “old guard”. You may wish to have a look at our About page and find out what we’re up to now!

  3. “Will you join me in recognizing that the Creation story is completely true? That God’s nature is not the “hippie love god” who hates wars, but rather is the vengeful father who commanded Moses to commit genocide against the Midianites, a tribe of Jews who left Judaism to follow another religion (Numbers 31)? Will you accept that God made Balaam’s ass to speak to him (Numbers 22:21-30)?” Why exactly would you want to worship such a sociopathic monster? He’s undeserving of the reverence or dedication of worshipers. Sorry, but your god is evil.

  4. I found Ken Ham’s analysis of his situation quite well thought out and accurate – people are leaving the evangelical churches because the churches are making too many concessions to fit in with current views and culture His solution is to strengthen the foundation – to go back to basics and the bible as a source of authority. I only question whether that is the right approach, biblical stories may prove too fantastic for children educated to think critically and he may end up with more defectors

    • They just need to believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, and that the universe is several thousand years younger than recorded civilizations predating Judaism. No problem, right? As Ham says, either the Bible is true, or it’s not. There’s no halfway about it.

  5. First of all – What Ham is talking about is obscene regardless of religious stripe. I too lost my religion through Sunday School. A little light went off in my head when we got to the Jonah story and after that I asked questions and never got answers. A few more weeks and the teachers sent me home with a notre requesting of my mother not to send me anymore because I was “disruptive”. I answered truthfully as to why I was being difficult and the word “heathen” came into use around our house. If evengelicals want to retain their kids the only option is to keep bibles out of their hands entirely or to hand them a Vulgate version. The children should never be allowed to read the old testament. Christians should promote the idea that the old testament is a Jewish mythology and that Jeezuz came to set the record straight. Drop the creationist nonsense as Jeezuz said nothing about the creation of the world, at least nothing recorded in the Book. Look, I have nothing against Christians as I know several and those that follow the new testament are quite good people. It’s the ones that decide to believe both books, which are mutually exclusive, that cause all of the trouble.

  6. What really drives fundamentalist/evangelical kids away from religion is the excessive indoctrination you get growing up in a family that devoted to religion. The willfull lying about scientific facts , the fixation on mostly sexual sin combined with the frightening desire to gain control of American society caused me to lose all faith. Folks who grew up in more moderate faiths are more likely to remain Christians. The answer is not more rigid indoctrination but less, and also keep you’r kids from studying government in school, high school civics class makes dominionisim look evil-but of course, it is.

  7. May be children are away from Jesus because This know this too.

  8. Or is it because of This?

  9. The Bible is what Men thought God would say if he were to speak to them.

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