After perusing the latest Pew Study on why young people are leaving the active practice of Christianity, Bishop Barron noticed that (once again) the reasons they offer for abandoning Christianity are entirely not compelling. That is to say, any theologian, apologist, or evangelist worth his salt should be able easily to answer these objections to faith and hopefully encourage the youngster to reconsider the Truth of the Church. With this in mind for today’s episode, Bishop offers smart, passionate responses to the common misconceptions and objections that continue to lure young people away from God. The listener question asks which books are best for evangelizing atheists from both a rational and emotional standpoint.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  – Introduction, Bishop’s trip to Lake Placid and current reading list
  • 3:25 – Bishop’s reaction to young people leaving the church?
  • 5:15 – Should we avoid pressuring them and let young people return on their own?
  • 7:48 – Some common objections: Is religion the opiate of the people?
  • 11:10 – Has science disproven religion?
  • 15:15 – If religion causes so much violence, how can it possibly be right?
  • 17:50 – Does the sex abuse scandal invalidate the Church?
  • 20:53 – Is it better to be open-minded to all world religions?
  • 26:48 – What if church is too boring and you don’t have time?
  • 30:40 – How would Bishop Barron encourage young people to return to the Church?
  • 32:09 – Question from listener: What are some good books to battle atheism both from a rational and emotional standpoint?

Bonus Resources

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12 comments on “WOF 045: Why Young People are Leaving the Church

  1. Patricia Butler Oct 18, 2016

    I think that the contemplative path in the church will help a lot of them to stay, or return (which is my case) because they will actually experience the LOVE OF JESUS AND GOD IN THEIR HEARTS. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius and Lightworks open up our hearts…. The problem is our society is left brain oriented. I.E. We are encouraged to use our brains rather than our hearts. With all the electronic devices, we are over stimulated as a people, and most people don’t know how to sit in silence. Even at Mass, very little quiet time. after communion at the Sunday services. People cannot enjoy the “peace” of Communion. They don’t know how to turn off the mind….Some helpful books….
    A Do It At Home Retreat: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Andre Ravier SJ
    Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition by Fr. Richard Rohr OFM
    What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self by Fr. Richard Rohr OFM

    • Rosanne Cottone Nov 17, 2016

      “We Are With You” Say U.S. Bishops In Calling Elected Officials And Americans To Work Together To Welcome Refugees And Immigrants Without Sacrificing Core Values, Security. If you are wondering why Catholics leave the Church, wonder why the Catholic Bishops did not stand up on immigration issues prior to the presidential election. When our government begins targeting immigrants for deportation now, will the Catholic Church again turn away as it did with Nazism and not provide sanctuary? God help us.

  2. Linda Navarro Oct 18, 2016

    I know that young people are leaving the Church for all sorts of reasons, so I will preface this remark by saying that it is impossible to address this issue in a 30 minute show. However, I found it very telling that what you addressed were Catholics who left the Church because of their disbelief in religion at all. Wow have we failed. You did not address the fact that we have many that leave the Church to go to “less demanding, less confusing, where is that in the bible” religions. We need to be raising apologists, not just listening to them so our parishioners can not only defend their faith when they are challenged, but bring others to the Catholic faith. They need to already “have heard and know” the objections to the Catholic faith and be ready to defend it. This is the practice they need! What we are experiencing is the downfall of the Catholic church to properly teach its parishioners/families the beauty of those treasures held in earthly vessels. We don’t just need apologist for the existence of God …. we need it for the Catholic faith. We need to be able to live 1 Peter 3:15-16

    15 Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.
    16 But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations.

  3. linda vandeveer Oct 19, 2016

    I cant help but think of Saint Mother Teresa… She said We have to meet people where they are not where we think they should be…
    I would ask them “what would bring you back to the church ?” and then give their responses to Pope Francis. The children are so confused about the world today as we well know. The crosses they carry right now, as we speak, we pray will bring them to the suffering Christ. I believe that through our example God with the Holy Spirit will guide them back to the Holy Catholic Church, This has been my personal experience after being away for 30 years & ten years on the outside looking in. I Thirst.. the sacred traditions of our Church is in my bones. Our work is not in vain
    right,

    • linda vandeveer Oct 19, 2016

      Thank you for your show Father , I lost my self for a minute. I can be a little controlling at times. I really dont know too much i am still learning by the grace of God.

  4. Donald Klotz Oct 19, 2016

    Excellent show and topic. Helped me meet challenges of people who have left church. Keep up the great work Bishop Barron. I wish your travels would take you down to New Orleans to give a talk. I would love to see you live at least once. I watch and re-watch the Catholisim videos and now have Pivotal Players. Great productions.

  5. Sam Mauck Oct 21, 2016

    Brandon,
    Can you post links to the articles you referenced?

    Thanks,
    Sam

  6. Every week I look forward to listening to Bishop Barron on the Word on Fire Show! His defense of catholic positions on important arguments is extremely valuable to me.

  7. Noel D'souza Oct 23, 2016

    A very informative episode… one takeaway from this “Be an apologist, yourself; instead of waiting for others”

  8. Rosanne Cottone Nov 17, 2016

    “We Are With You” Say U.S. Bishops In Calling Elected Officials And Americans To Work Together To Welcome Refugees And Immigrants Without Sacrificing Core Values, Security. If you are wondering why Catholics leave the Church, wonder why the Catholic Bishops did not stand up on immigration issues prior to the presidential election. When our government begins targeting immigrants for deportation now, will the Catholic Church again turn away as it did with Nazism and not provide sanctuary? God help us.

  9. Hi Bishop,

    I am listening WOF 045: Why Young People are Leaving the Church, I wanted to know if the pope has sent his picked priests and bishops directly to this battle.

    Bishop I agree the it is a scary future, I can see a very scary future if we lose our children.

    I wanted to hear more about how we are preventing this from happening, I would especially like to hear how our leaders like you are ensuring we reduce the numbers leaving the church. I would really love to hear more of that and it will be much greater if the whole world know about it.

    If this is existing already, can you point me to it please?

    God bless you.

    Best regards,
    Paul Tan

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