When Every Child is Left Behind: Teaching “Stupid Faith”

My latest for OSV (online now and in the 10/16 print edition)

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Catholic children as young as 10 years old are renouncing God and quitting Church, claims a new study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown. 

According to lead researcher Mark Gray, children are finding that faith is “incompatible” with what they are learning in school, and the older the child becomes, the more this is the case. According to Gray, “this is a generation that is struggling with faith in ways that we haven’t seen in previous generations.”

This is disturbing news. Our children are besieged with the message that atheism is “smart” and faith is “dumb.” But there is a more provocative challenge presented by this dilemma. Namely; how long will we keep teaching our kids to have a “stupid” faith?

‘Stupid’ faith?

By “stupid” faith I mean one that doesn’t make experiential sense. Faith is only “stupid” — and, therefore, susceptible to allegedly “smart” atheism — when a person has not experienced Jesus Christ in a real and personal way. An experience of Christ is even more essential than good catechesis. If I’ve experienced Christ personally, I know he exists. If Stephen Hawking wrote a book denying the existence of my mother, I wouldn’t have to be an expert in quantum physics to know he was writing nonsense.  READ THE REST

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