What causes faith loss?
There is no rule, it’s not a predictable pattern but there were some core factors that came up in their stories and which mirror other research findings.
1. An existential reshaping of their worldview
For many, exposure to a convincing alternative worldview caused them to question beliefs they had never previously queried. Various things triggered this process:
New relationships in professional environments or further study
Ethical concerns – particularly around sexuality, Christian claims of exclusivity or divine judgment
Doubts about the credibility of the Bible
A gap between their lived experience of suffering and the simplistic theological answers they were given
Often the dominant cultural narratives of pluralistic tolerance and secular rationalism were just more convincing or appealing than Christianity. It was different for each person – but the result was that for all of them, eventually Christian faith no longer seemed credible.
2. An experience of personal difficulty or trauma
A second contributing factor was some sort of personal struggle. It’s fair to say that this is a normal part of most young adult’s twenties (In fact part of developing a stable adult faith is finding a way to make sense of where God is in the challenges of life). However for these individuals it combined with and exacerbated their existential doubts.