Why Do College Students Lose Their Faith?

Let’s Explore the Answer

The transition from high school to college can be strange and often wonderful. Students move from curfews and house rules to complete freedom. College is often a time of exploration, as individuals form their identity apart from their parents. They’re not only making new friends, joining clubs, and considering careers, they’re also making decisions about faith. For some, this means firming the foundation of their childhood faith. But for others, college forces students to face the fact that their faith was more about their family than it was about their personal beliefs.

Skeptics, Atheists, and the Bible will respond to college students’ search for faith differently.

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What Skeptics & Atheists Say

College is built for students to gain new knowledge while questioning old ways of thinking. The faith of students may be challenged by professors and friends as many don’t have a positive view of faith or believers. Skeptics may point to students losing their faith as further evidence of religion’s failings. They might point to decreased faith with increased education as proof for their argument that the more intelligent people are, the less likely they are to believe in the fictitious teachings of the church or the Bible.

Many skeptics also point out college students’ newfound independence and increased capacity to think and do for themselves. They maintain that once students are no longer sitting under the teachings of their parents or their pastors, they’re more likely to recognize the truth that God doesn’t exist.

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What The Bible Says

For many, college is the first time they’ve been allowed to go wherever they want and do whatever they want. Quite often, they find themselves surrounded by people who think differently from them or have very different upbringings. In light of all this change, it’s completely normal and even healthy for college students to question what they once knew. College is an excellent time to figure out one’s faith. Sometimes, this might mean going through a period of doubt and spiritual searching.

If you’re reading this and are a parent praying for your child, know that God knew and loved your college student before they were even born. He promises to never give up on his children, no matter how far they run. You can take comfort in the fact that he will never give up going after your college student.

If you’re reading this because you’re a college student working through the faith of your youth – remember that God is not afraid of your questions. The Bible is filled with questioning saints wondering why God was doing whatever He was doing. God is not afraid of our curiosity or our questions. In fact, the Bible says that God understands how we’re made and nothing about us surprises Him. People may search the whole world but fail to find what may only be found through faith in Jesus. Again and again, men and women find that faith in Jesus can withstand any storm and that Christianity offers reasonable responses to the toughest questions ever asked.

The real question is – what if it’s all true? What if God really does love you more than anything in this world and has a plan for your life?

What would happen if you embraced the possibility that the God of the Bible really did create the world and really does care for you?

Pascal's Wager

In the seventeenth century, a famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, encouraged people to make a wager when it came to belief in God. If a person chose to believe in God and God did exist, that person would gain everything (eternal life). If a person chose to believe in God and God did not exist, that person would lose nothing. On the other hand, if a person chose not to believe in God and he was right, he would lose nothing. But if that person did not believe in God and he was wrong- he would lose everything (lose eternal life).

This wager can be said another way:

Based on this logic, Pascal suggested the rational person would choose to believe in God as believing offers a person everything (eternal life) while losing nothing. Wherever you are in your faith journey, would you consider taking Pascal’s wager? If the good God of the Bible exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in Him today.

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