What We Learn from Public Disavowals of Christianity by: John Stonestreet for Break Point
Last week, following the high profile falling away from faith of Joshua Harris, former Hillsong singer and songwriter Marty Sampson posted this on Instagram: “Time for some real talk…I’m genuinely losing my faith…and it doesn’t bother me.”
The next day he deleted this post and clarified that he hasn’t fully renounced Christianity, at least not yet. Still, he admitted, his faith was quite shaky. He then reiterated his doubts and said that “the majority of a typical Christian’s life is not spent considering these things” because they fall into the “too hard basket.”
Sampson’s claims, I’m sad to say, are not uncommon among young evangelicals. And let me just say this as directly and bluntly as I can: they reveal a failure on the part of the church to take the difficult but essential task of faith formation seriously enough.
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As I read through his description of what was happening, I thought to myself, “Which faith is he falling away from?” His words reveal a lot.
First, he described a faith largely driven by emotions. Losing his faith, he said, did not bother him. In fact, he’s happy about it. So, if his doubts bothered him and his faith instead made him happy, would he then reconsider?
The fact is, too many churches sell Christianity with feelings. We’re told how interested God is in our own happiness, our own meaning, and our own sense of purpose. But our feelings cannot determine whether or not something is actually true.
Second, the faith Sampson describes is an uncritical faith. Science, he says, “keeps piercing the truth of every religion.” I’m not completely sure what that even means, but it seems to buy into the classic science vs. faith narrative. It’s just not true that science is ultimately opposed to faith. It’s not true historically, nor is it true today. Faith doesn’t need to reject critical investigation.