I’d be interested in your impression of Randal Rauser’s discussion of John Marriott’s book, “The Problem of Christians Becoming Atheists.” https://randalrauser.com/2018/12/the-problem-of-christians-becoming-atheists/
(Book: A Recipe for Disaster: How Parents and Churches Prepare Individuals to Lose Their Faith, And How They Can Instill a Faith That Endures (Wipf and Stock, 2018). )
Marriott discusses figures of between 40 and 80% of even Southern Baptist and other evangelical youth leaving the faith after starting college.
He argues in his book that there are 3 major factors in deconverting:
- Mistaking a particular interpretation of Christianity for Christianity itself (eg, YEC)
- Unmet expectations, eg strict literal innerancy (example: Bart Ehrmann in Princeton started questioning Mark; note–he lost his faith from the argument of evil, not directly from his liberal theology)
- Poor communication of faith to a more nuanced audience. "How, former Christians ask, can an intelligent, educated person accept the biblical story of two naked people, a talking snake and a magical tree, at face value given the world we live in? Or that a man lived inside a fish for three days, people lived over 900 years, and the dead come back to life? "
I want to emphasize that this review seems to empathize with the struggle we all have for faith. It doesn’t seem to say that God rejects people for struggling. I think that makes the most sense–Rauser is very good at communicating that God meets us as a father, where we are in our understanding of Him. He’s the “God of the seekers,” those who seek Him with their whole hearts. That would include those who are not a the position, at that time, of being able to believe in God. It seems to me that the image of an angry God who rejects you for not being able to believe in Him is one of those things that also repels people from a false impression of Christianity. I’d be interested in your thoughts in this respect, too.