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Young Atheists Respect Christian Conviction

The Christian scholar Larry Taunton launched a nationwide campaign to interview college students who belong to atheistic campus groups. After receiving a flood of enquiries, Larry and his team heard one consistent theme from these young unbelievers: they often expected but didn't find more spiritual depth from their Christian neighbors. Larry writes:

Some [of these young atheists] had gone to church hoping to find answers to [tough questions about faith]. Others hoped to find answers to questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant. As Ben, an engineering major at the University of Texas, so bluntly put it: "I really started to get bored with church."

In contrast, these young atheists expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously. Larry writes,

Without fail, our former church-attending students expressed [positive] feelings for those Christians who unashamedly embraced biblical teaching. Michael, a political science major at Dartmouth, told us, "I really can't consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn't trying to convert me …. Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven't seen too much of that."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Worship; Preaching—Surprisingly, many young atheists aren't looking for Christians who will water-down the faith. They want us to worship and preach with wholehearted devotion. (2) Commitment; Zeal; Discipleship—This story shows what lukewarm discipleship looks like to the watching world—it's blah. (3) Evangelism—These young atheists want and expect us to share our faith—assuming that it's done in an appropriate way.

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