2. Allow room for doubt.
After listening to both faith-deconstruction episodes (especially Rhett’s), it appears that Rhett was looking for absolute certainty to remain a Christ-follower. He leaned heavily into science and evolution as insurmountable areas incompatible with the Bible. He also referenced doubts over the resurrection of Christ. It appears when he couldn’t connect every dot, he left the faith. In our ministries, how do we help students who are looking for absolute certainty?
Absolute certainty is a difficult game. Disciplines (science, theology, history, contextual criticism, archeology, etc.) provide a framework to make reasonable truth claims to build a worldview. So whether it’s on a popular level (Strobel, McDowell, etc.) or a more robust level (N.T. Wright, William Lane Craig, etc.), we can provide students ample knowledge and a reasonable framework to understand origin/creation, the Bible’s reliability, and Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
We have far more information available than most students may realize. Too many turn to Google and making life-changing decisions quickly when these are long, slow conversations that have been debated and studied for centuries. If teens know what resources are available and have trusted, loving relationships in their faith community, there will be no better place than your church to process their doubts.
3. Acknowledge the roles of hurt and pain.
Rhett expresses frustration with the sheer number of people who believe in a young earth and ignore evidence that may communicate otherwise. Later he shares frustration with people who position themselves as “Christian thinkers” but publish books that lack deeper rigor. Referring to the emotional difficulty of this process, he says, “I didn’t want to believe this…I didn’t want to leave this thing. This was my life.” Then, while discussing the more difficult challenges of the Bible and Christian faith, Rhett says, “If I don’t have to believe [the hard encounters contained in the Bible] then why would I?” Then, “Why believe in that God if I don’t have to?”