Some years ago, Art Linkletter told the story of a young boy who dragged his leg when he walked. His horrified mother then took him to an endless round of doctors and medical specialists to find out the problem. They couldn’t find anything wrong with him, so finally one sat down beside him and asked, “Son, why do you drag your leg when you walk?”
The boy replied, “I’m Chester. I work for Mr. Dillon.” (FYI: Chester Goode was the lame deputy of Marshal Matt Dillon in the classic television Western Gunsmoke, and the veteran actor Dennis Weaver played him in the series.
It seems to me that much of the reaction of the evangelical church to the young atheists that may come from an evangelical background and probably many of the millenials who have left the church is the same kind of reaction. All sorts of specialists, especially in the area of apologetics have been called in to treat the problem, but there is a simpler explanation when you simply talk to the person. Eric Metaxas mentioned this in his Breakpoint commentary, and he refers to the article by Larry Alex Taunton in the Atlantic Monthly. Here are the links to these articles.
- Learning from Young Atheists: What Turned Them off Christianity
- Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity
I wrote this comment on the Breakpoint Facebook page:
To me, it seems like these young atheists that had a severe disappointment with the evangelical church came up across a problem that every generation of young people who come to be passionate about Jesus encounters: offense at nominal and carnal Christians among the professing church. In terms of the parable of the Sower, it’s like they become the seed sown on rocky ground by offense at the seed sown on the path and the seed sown among thorns and they then miss that there really remains the seed sown on good ground. I think that no one really who is passionate about following Jesus will ever not experience frustration with nominal and carnal Christians throughout one’s own lifetime, but there needs to be that realization that the reaction Jesus expects is for us to take up our cross, deny ourselves daily and follow him regardless.