The Importance of Preparing Young Christians for Doubt and Dissonance

(system) #1
Cognitive Dissonance can be a natural part of the journey of faith, and the Church should prepare young people for it.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Larry Bunce) #2

People have traditionally turned to religion for answers to the basic problems of everyday living. Admitting that there can be doubts about the answers that religious leaders have given would seem to leave people looking for answers feeling even worse. Teenagers are looking for personal identity more than at any time in their life. They regularly adopt the latest fads with a religious zeal, although they can drop one fad for another one faster than most adults can keep up with. When we tell teens that it is okay to have doubts, we need to be sure to tell them how we had the same questions when we were their age, but how we resolved those questions to arrive at our current faith.

(Phil) #3

I agree with you. Relationships are most important. Admitting to doubt may not give us what we want, but when approached as you say, may be what we need. Teenagers are also pretty good about seeing through insincerity and false claims, so honesty is the best approach.


In my experience growing up in the church I heard lots of people say that “it is okay to have doubts.” However as I began to ask more and more questions I quickly realized there are some caveats to that statement. I felt that people said that they were okay with doubts as long as the doubts aren’t too big and the core pillars were still there, such as still believing in Jesus, resurrection, sinfulness in need of saviour, going to church every week etc. You start challenging those things in an honest, searching, respectful way, and, in my experience, I no longer met (many) Christians who were “okay with having those doubts.”