My own interest in apologetics didn’t really begin until partway through college, when I experienced just how intellectually hostile academia could be toward Christians. Consider this large-scale 2006 study by the Barna Group, which found that a staggering 61% of Americans in their twenties “had been churched at one point during their teen years but [are] now spiritually disengaged.”
One of the most dangerous threats to young Christians is an honest question left unanswered (or worse yet, actively stifled). I’ve had multiple friends – former Christians – tell me that their beliefs began to crumble when they voiced sincere questions to a pastor or family member and were essentially told, “You just need to have more faith.”
Providing a non-answer to an answerable question (the problem of evil, for example) opens the door for doubt and confusion. Years later, when the “young Christian” has become a “former Christian”, their worldview is shaped by an entirely new set of biases; they often become unwilling or unable to accept the very answer that might have saved their faith, had it only come a little sooner.
Below is a quote from Dr. William Lane Craig – arguably this generation’s most well-known Christian apologist and philosopher:
“When I travel around the country speaking in various churches, I meet parents all the time who come up to me after the service and say something like this: “Oh, if only you had been here two or three years ago! Our son (or our daughter) had questions about the faith which no one could answer. And now he (or she) is far from the Lord.” It just breaks my heart to meet parents like this. The fact is that our Christian high school students and college students are intellectually assaulted in secular high school and university by overwhelming relativism conjoined with every manner of non-Christian philosophy. We dare not send these kids out to battle armed with rubber swords and plastic armor. We need to prepare our kids for war….Begin simple, get more profound as they grow. It’s not enough anymore to just read Bible stories to our kids. They need doctrine, and they need apologetics. I have to tell you the truth: I find it very difficult to understand how parents today can risk having children without having had some training in Christian apologetics. I think it’s that important!”