Loss of Faith in an Age of Change

Agnostic, Atheist, Faithless
Curated By
Rev. Kaitlyn Bowie Hankins

Kaitlyn Bowie Hankins, MDiv, is a United Methodist pastor currently serving a church in Houston, Texas. Along with an incredible team, Kaitlyn launched The Source, a contemporary community of faith within First Methodist's historic congregation. Drawing upon her previous experience teaching in the public school system, she has spent the past few years developing this community among young adults on the edge of faith, teaching in traditional capacities within the church, and also fostering safe spaces of community where people can learn to follow God more faithfully together. Kaitlyn received her Masters of Divinity from Duke University and her bachelor's degree in education from Northwestern College, Iowa.

In This Guide:

The pace of change only seems to quicken. This ever-changing world causes many people of faith to explore new ideas and perspectives, which can raise new questions. These explorations can often lead to a period of doubt, uncertainty and destabilization. In this guide, learn what people struggling with faith may be feeling, and how to encourage them as they navigate through the challenges of doubt and their faith's evolution.

They Might Be Thinking:

  • If I'm honest about my questions, my church or community might reject me. 
  • What if I've been wrong about my faith my whole life?
  • Will I lose all of my friends?
  • If I tell my family, they won't understand. 
  • I will disappoint the people I love the most if I'm honest.
  • I just want to turn off my brain, and these questions, for a while. 
  • I'm afraid the world doesn't make as much sense without my faith. 
  • Can I have both faith and believe in science?
  • What about other world religions? Doesn't my God of love care for the whole world?
  • I'm not sure who I am without my faith.

Words That Might Be Encouraging:

  • I am here to listen to your questions if you want to talk.
  • I will keep yor questions to myself as you process them. 
  • How can I support you as you think and pray through these things?
  • God isn't surprised by your questions. 
  • How have these struggles with your faith been affecting you?
  • God's love for you doesn't depend on the strength of your faith.
  • You are not alone in this. 
  • It's healthy for you to be honest with yourself and those you love.
  • It's okay for you to take time for yourself in this process. Self-care is important. 
  • I'm always here to listen as you continue to wrestle with the changes of our world and how that impacts your faith.

Words That Might Be Discouraging:

  • I thought you didn't struggle with your faith.
  • You used to be so sure about God.
  • You just need to ignore your questions.
  • You just need to find a new church.
  • But you used to tell me about God's love all the time!
  • I don't understand why this matters; I don't believe in God either.
  • Are you going to leave your church; your friends?
  • Just read The Bible again.
  • Don't ask questions; that will make it worse.
  • What are you going to do about your doubt?

Recommended websites

  • RELEVANT - Since 2002, the leading platform reaching adults in their 20s ad 30s covering faith, culture and intentional living. RELEVANT aims to publish ideas that engage its readers in deeper conversation about faith: relevantmagazine.com
  • Mockingbird - A ministry that seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life. Read articles from various perspectives as people wrestle with issues of faith alongside temporary questions: www.mbird.com 
  • Coming soon - Kaitlyn is working on her own website, which will be a resource for thought development and questions on issues of faith.
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