- Paperback: 198 pages
- Publisher: Moody Press,U.S. (1 Oct. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802443559
- ISBN-13: 978-0802443557
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith... and How to Bring Them Back Paperback – 1 Oct 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I find it easily accessible as it is divided to 6 main sections reflecting the different types of leaver. This makes it easy to go back to if you want to recheck something when you come across a leaver of the faith that you may be in dialogue with.
If you are pastor who has noticed young people leaving the faith then buy this book. You will find it helpful.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
From what I read: Dyck, refreshingly, has the right approach. He pushes for open dialogue between Christians and non-Christians. Not preaching, but discussion. Each side presents their positions. They attempt to find common ground. And they work together to try to determine the truth.
Because of his focus on open dialogue and listening, Dyck understands Evidentialists in a way that most Christians I have encountered do not. I was particularly impressed when he pointed out that quoting Bible verses to an atheist ex-Christian is meaningless to them. They no longer believe the Bible was divinely inspired. Dyck understands very clearly that many Christians are making a mistake when they assume atheists still share their worldview of heaven, hell, and a divinely inspired Bible. They don't. And because of this, the correct approach is to address their actual worldview and probe it for weaknesses.
As an Evidentialist (and atheist), I can tell you: that is exactly what I want you to do. It is the only method by which you would ever reach someone like me. If I am wrong, the only way you will ever convince me I am wrong is by actively engaging MY beliefs. Not just repeating yours. Active dialogue is the only type of interaction that wouldn't be a considerable waste of both our time. Discussion. Finding common ground and working up from there.
In the spirit of continuing that dialogue, let me respond to some of Dyck's statements about atheists in the Modern Leavers chapter:
"If anything, most of them feel Christian faith is *too* concerned for the marginalized, a dangerous naiveté in a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest world."
Not remotely true from my experience talking to hundreds of atheists, since I am somewhat of a celebrity in the atheist movement myself. Just because we believe natural selection EXISTS, that doesn't mean that we think it is a good way to run a society. That is as irrational as saying, just because I believe natural disasters EXIST, I think they should happen, killing as many people as possible.
I have never met an atheist who was a Social Darwinist. Yes, we do think natural selection happens. But most of us also think the weak should be protected, using the very intelligence that we were naturally selected to have. Medical technology is the antithesis of natural selection. It tries to stop natural selection by enabling us to survive using the bodies we already have. And every atheist I have asked supports the use of medical technology.
Acknowledging the *existence* of a natural force is not tantamount to condoning it or idly standing by as it destroys people's lives.
"The movement's de facto leader [is] Richard Dawkins"
Richard Dawkins is a respected and prominent atheist. He is worthy of the respect he receives for reaching out to people who are questioning their religion. But he is not our leader. We have no leader.
The atheist community is a democracy. Different people lead different segments of the community at different times. "How can that work?", you may ask. The same way that American democracy works: sometimes inefficiently but always with an underlying spirit of freedom, dialogue, and egalitarianism.
"Inwardly I cringed at the false-alternatives scenario that Dan had set up in his mind. For him, one geological question (which the Bible doesn't even address explicitly) was the deciding factor for faith."
But not all of us make this False Dichotomy. I, for one, believed in an old Earth as a Christian. I fully understood that the 6,000 year question did not decide the fate of Christianity, let alone God.
"(Remember, atheists are almost always modernists, since they absolutely negate God's existence.)"
This is very rarely true.
First, almost all atheists are Agnostic Atheists. Agnostic atheists are *atheistic* because they do not hold a POSITIVE belief in the existence of any deity, and *agnostic* because they do not claim to know with CERTAINTY whether any deity exists.
Second, I would say that most atheists are also *weak* agnostic atheists. Most atheists will tell you "I'm not saying there ISN'T a God. But until someone shows me credible evidence for one, I'm not going to believe in it. Anymore than I would believe in ghosts, UFOs, or reincarnation without good evidence."
"supernatural claims are rejected a priori. Your worldview simply doesn't have room for such claims."
Not true. I personally identify as an Evidentialist. That means that I welcome ANY evidence for ANY claim, including supernatural claims. I have no unswerving allegiance to naturalism or atheism. The MOMENT credible evidence for a God appeared, I would rapidly become its enthusiastic supporter. But I still wait for this evidence.
"Should I recount the dozens of miracle stories I'd heard from missionaries abroad? I could even share personal answers to prayer or things that I'd witnessed that could only be described as supernatural."
As you correctly predict in the paragraph following these statements, these claims are not persuasive to me. I'm a former Christian myself. And not just any Christian. I was an extremely committed Christian. I had experiences myself that I once considered supernatural.
But after learning about Cognitive Psychology, I found strong evidence that these experiences were not supernatural at all. Rather, they appeared to be natural occurrences that I had misperceived as supernatural through cognitive errors like Confirmation Bias. Unless you can demonstrate to me that your experiences were somehow different, I have no reason to believe you aren't committing the same cognitive errors.
"Jesus endorsing slavery? That was a new one to me. Among leavers, bizarre misperceptions of Christianity abound."
I agree that sometimes atheists get Christianity wrong. But not in this case.
Jesus did tacitly condone slavery. In Luke 12:47, Jesus says: "The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows." Jesus does not criticize the master for owning and beating his slave: he criticizes the slave for disobeying his master.
Paul condones slavery even more explicitly in Ephesians 6:5: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."
As far as I know, slavery is never explicitly denounced in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it is openly permitted and regulated (Exodus 21:2-6, Leviticus 25:44-46). In the New Testament, it is openly condoned and accepted.
"When someone rejects Christianity, it's valid to ask them to consider if the alternative is more satisfying. When it comes to the modernist worldview, the answer has to be "no." "
This is an Appeal to Consequences Fallacy. Just because something is *satisfying*, that doesn't mean it is true. Sure, I would love for there to be a heaven AND a benevolent God watching over me. But, given the lack of evidence for them, I don't believe those things actually exist.
And believing they do anyway does me no good in a world where they don't exist. It can cause me to waste the one life I have pursuing something that I have no evidence for, when I could have instead devoted my life to things that I DO have evidence for, like the help I can provide to people around me.
"In other words, you're just being good so bad things don't happen to you."
This is like saying "In other words, you're just being good so that you can go to heaven." There are always underlying advantages to being good, whether you are a Christian or an atheist. They can never be removed from the equation because being good is inherently rewarding. It's one thing that makes being good a great part of life: there are rewards for you AND the people you help.
"But is there no deeper reason to be good?"
As an Evidentialist, given the evidence I have seen so far, I think the only reason we evolved a drive to be good is because it is advantageous for our species. And that is good enough for me. Helping fellow human beings live fulfilling lives both now and in the future is, to me, a pristine and impeccable reason to be good.
"What's new is the attitude. They're confrontational, angry, and militant."
One thing that I want Dyck to understand is that, just as he is a completely different type of Christian than angry, yelling Bible quoters, so too are people like myself a completely different type of atheist than angry, yelling religion mockers.
There are those of us who want to come to the table of mutually respectful dialogue. We completely disagree with you about the truth of reality. But we respect you as brothers and sisters IN that reality. The blood that runs through your veins runs through ours. We are all human.
I publish on the YouTube channel called Evid3nc3. There, you can see my story in the playlist "Why I am no longer a Christian". If you truly want to understand me and many other former Christians, if you truly want to reach out to us, know our story, and, with the right evidence, bring us back, this is a good place to start.
This book is thorough, and well researched. While not written for a heady reader, it is not watered down either. This book transcends multiple levels of familiarity with the gospel, philosophy, and apologetics. Dyck didn't patronize or hold any punches in this book. I found myself having difficulty putting it down, and would often read 30+ page segments. If you're a pastor, a church volunteer, a counselor, or even a committed church attendee, I recommend this book unequivocally. It delivers great insight into the heart and mind of the leaver, and helps you root through their excuses for the true cause of their "de-conversion". Go ahead and pre-order a copy, or two.
I know you won't be disappointed I give this book 5/5 stars.
This is not news. People have been sounding the alarm for years now. Youth ministers have been arguing as to what method or model will cement these kids in before they leave. Others wonder how to get them back. Some say, wait, they'll be back...but they won't.
There are many questions to be asked: Why are they leaving? How can we get them back? How do I share my faith with someone that already knows the answers? In his upcoming book, Generation Ex Christian, Drew Dyck explores these very questions. He has interviewed many of those who have left and shares practical answers for reaching them again.
Dyck outlines seven types of leavers. This is important, because not all leavers are the same. No one method will reach everyone. For example: apologetics will not impress someone who has adopted a postmodern worldview. Expecting the "Rebel" to come back makes assumptions with drastic consequences. There are nuances to each case and Dyck does a great job exploring those differences.
The careful reader will apply the knowledge Dyck shares to the situations they see all around them. They will begin to see the heart of the leaver and reasons they left. Then, the gospel can be shared at that point.
The reasons for leaving discussed in the chapters on the "Drifter" shed light on a different question: how can we keep them from leaving? Those who drift into Christianity as teenagers are likely to drift out. Are churches encouraging this drift by failing to provide any substance in youth ministries? I was ready to cheer when I read, "They don't want pizza and video games. They want revolution and dynamism. They want unvarnished truth." Churches must realize that a solid understanding of the gospel is absolutely crucial.
I recommend this book to anyone dealing with young people in church. The epidemic is real and this book has a lot of knowledge that can help solve the problem.
Generation Ex-Christian is a look at why so many young people are leaving behind the faith they learned as a child. The author interviewed ex-Christians, and he breaks down the "leavers" into six types, postmodernist, recoiler, modernist, neopagen, rebel, and the drifter. He highlights several individuals and what caused them to change. What would cause a Christian to turn to Wicca, or lead them to commit to atheism? Imagine being a youth leader and an offhanded harsh comment would so hurt someone that they would turn their back on God.
In breaking down the categories, the author gives specific instruction on how to relate to the individuals with the hope of leading them back. This is an important read for youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and others in the ministry.
Satan no longer has to destroy Christians; the church is doing that work for him.
Since nothing speaks 'canary in the coalmine' like the data presented, we are getting this book for our entire church staff. Get it for your pastor/youth pastor as well as they will be both blessed and challenged!!