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SolEX01
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« on: August 27, 2008, 12:40:19 AM »

I found this article on a Baltimore ROCOR Church site regarding how young people abandon Christ.

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And yet we must confess that only a few fortunate and forceful natures are able to hang on to the positive Christian foundation of their souls, while the majority of young people suffer through a difficult and tormentful process of a departure from God and subsequent return to Him.

I will make an attempt to briefly describe this process.

The stirrings of sensuality and proud self-delusion which arise and gradually develop within the young soul - finally become the dominant elements of the soul. The young soul becomes their obedient slave. Young people look upon this obedient service to their own desires and passions as a manifestation of their freedom, and ardently protest against all attempts to restrict this supposed freedom.
   
It cannot be said that the idols which have been created in the young souls bring them true satisfaction. They cater to these idols, but do not find any comfort in them. They become miserable and depressed, they search for something better, purer, more truthful and beautiful - this gives rise to that thirst for discovering the meaning and purpose of life which is so inherent to youth. This is also the reason for their attraction to various teachings and theories which promise universal happiness and well-being.

Having lost the religious ground of their early childhood, young people make an all-out effort to attach themselves to another foundation. However, all these strivings and noble impulses do not usually go beyond the boundaries of day-dreaming. There is not enough will for doing real good or anything positive in general, for overcoming sensuality, for cutting oneself off from fruitless philosophizing.

(Note: Nowadays we should also add the terrible demonization and zombiing to which contemporary youth is being subjected, and which turns it into robots with emasculated souls, obedient to all modern influences.)

A terrible inner drama finally arises, a dissatisfaction with oneself, a melancholy frame of mind, often a wish for death. (Note: This is the reason for such a high percentage of suicide among young people nowadays.) Overcome with such feelings, young people shut themselves in, forget their nearest and dearest, experience horrifying loneliness. And in the throes of this loneliness they make the most fantastic and unhealthy plans. Neither intense work nor noisy gaiety are able to disperse this heavy frame of mind.

Protopriest Sergey Chetverikov.
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 07:23:19 AM »

I think it might be what Fr. Sergey said, plus also rebellion that is so characteristic of the young people. If a young man or woman does not at some point rebel against the authorities, the boredom, the regularity, the predictability of his/her life - that young one is probably ill...
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 10:25:46 AM »

With no disrespect intended to Fr Sergei, the tendency to disobedience and irreverence of youth is nothing new, nor is it purely a characteristic of youth in the Christian era. The ancient Greeks and Romans lamented a similar tendency among the youth of their time, as did the elders of other civilisations. So did the early fathers of the Church, including St John Chrysostom and his contemporaries. Yet, returning to the Christian period, has the true faith died? Of course not. As there have always been miscreant youths, there have also been plenty of young people who have the right attitude, who have become in due time, beacons of Orthodoxy.

As Benjamin Franklin said: The golden age never was the present age.
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2008, 10:51:40 AM »

Miscreant Youths are not always the way they are through their own actions, but also the actions of their parents, who themselves never learned how to control their lives nor found Truth. I was once one of those young ones who searched many religions for peace and happiness, because I was unsatisfied with the "Hell and fire and brimstone of the Christian God who is thus always breathing down thy neck for some small sign of sin" approach to religion that my mother waddled after, which her parents taught her.
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A terrible inner drama finally arises, a dissatisfaction with oneself, a melancholy frame of mind, often a wish for death. (Note: This is the reason for such a high percentage of suicide among young people nowadays.) Overcome with such feelings, young people shut themselves in, forget their nearest and dearest, experience horrifying loneliness. And in the throes of this loneliness they make the most fantastic and unhealthy plans. Neither intense work nor noisy gaiety are able to disperse this heavy frame of mind.

There are many parents today who have chosen to either marry someone of a different religion or have chosen not to raise their children in a religion, but instead to "choose for themselves" with no guidance from Mom and Dad. There will always be some rebellion and confusion in the minds and hearts of the young, but I believe it is more prevalent because of the rebellion and confusion of earlier generations. It is not some "expected change" that has made life even more miserable. I believe that we have put in charge and elevated those people who would overwise have been thought of as "bad influences". They have tricked the adults with their glamour, and this has passed on to the children. Not to look like the bum with the Apocalypse sign, but I think it'll get worse before it gets better, unless we learn to accept, in practice, some discrimination amongst ourselves. Let's start with those ugly Bratz  and Baby Bratz dolls first....


As there have always been miscreant youths, there have also been plenty of young people who have the right attitude, who have become in due time, beacons of Orthodoxy.

Probably because their parents were able to give good guidance, or the Orthodox Church was willing to stick its neck out and deal with the burden of educating and guiding its youth in the same good principles as was learned by earlier generations. One of the main reasons I left the Catholic Church was because they had abandoned many of these long-standing traditions, and now look at them. Orthodoxy is only the Truth because its people have fought to keep it intact, by passing along that same treasured guidance.
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 10:35:55 AM »

A review of a new sociological study of why young people are leaving the churches at higher rates than in past decades:

The North American church does not teeter on the brink of extinction. But, in my view, the crisis of people leaving the faith has taken on new gravity.

First, young adults today are dropping religion at a greater rate than young adults of yesteryear—"five to six times the historic rate," say Putnam and Campbell.

Second, the life-phase argument may no longer pertain. Young adulthood is not what it used to be. For one, it's much longer. Marriage, career, children—the primary sociological forces that drive adults back to religious commitment—are now delayed until the late 20s, even into the 30s. Returning to the fold after a two- or three-year hiatus is one thing. Coming back after more than a decade is considerably more unlikely.

Third, a tectonic shift has occurred in the broader culture. Past generations may have rebelled for a season, but they still inhabited a predominantly Judeo-Christian culture. For those reared in pluralistic, post-Christian America, the cultural gravity that has pulled previous generations back to the faith has weakened or dissipated altogether.

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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 02:22:26 PM »

^ Thank you for posting this.   Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2011, 10:05:06 PM »

Couldn't you blame the Protestants for alot of this though?
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2011, 10:14:34 PM »

Couldn't you blame the Protestants for alot of this though?

Hardly.  The Orthodox aren't too good about keeping their children in Church.  Why would a kid want to be Orthodox though when they go to Liturgy twice a year and listen to a Liturgy conducted in a language they don't understand.  And on top of that, mom forces the teenager to go to Confession so they can receive Holy Communion. The kid has never done it before.  They have no understanding of what is going on.  During Vigil they kid is usually saying, "I hate you!", "Why do I have to confess my sins to him?!  It's weird!", and "I don't believe in any of this anyway!!!"  Then the mother is left crying asking those of us around her what happened.  True story.  A true story that has happened more than once. 
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2011, 10:24:47 PM »

Couldn't you blame the Protestants for alot of this though?

Hardly.  The Orthodox aren't too good about keeping their children in Church.  Why would a kid want to be Orthodox though when they go to Liturgy twice a year and listen to a Liturgy conducted in a language they don't understand.  And on top of that, mom forces the teenager to go to Confession so they can receive Holy Communion. The kid has never done it before.  They have no understanding of what is going on.  During Vigil they kid is usually saying, "I hate you!", "Why do I have to confess my sins to him?!  It's weird!", and "I don't believe in any of this anyway!!!"  Then the mother is left crying asking those of us around her what happened.  True story.  A true story that has happened more than once. 

I know this young girl who is always with her mother, always at the prayer services and Divine Liturgies. She is pretty quiet and keeps to herself, but I wonder if she is screaming on the inside and is begging for someone to "free" her out of it. I wonder how many cradle Orthodox stay Orthodox in their teenage into adult years, they might view the DL's as being boring after attending so many.
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2011, 10:36:13 PM »

But I was like that too growing up.  I swore that the day I turned 18 I was never going to step foot into a church again.  It was so boring, so oppressive, and did nothing for me.  And indeed, on my 18th birthday, I left the church and stayed away for a long time.  But eventually I recognized the foolishness of it all.  In my own circle, most of us left Christianity when we became adults.  However, those of us who went to church weekly, who were forced to, who had parents that really believed, came back.  Those whose parents went to church every now and again are still gone.  Most of my memories as a child revolve around church events.  My most pleasant childhood memories involve the daily evening routine we had in my family, which was to eat as a family and then to go lay in bed with mom and have Bible stories read to use for 30 minutes.  I really believed in those Bible stories mom told me and my sister and I still do.  I think having parents who really believe, who take God seriously, is in a lot of ways, the most fundemental reason for why people stay/come back.
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2011, 10:45:31 PM »

But I was like that too growing up.  I swore that the day I turned 18 I was never going to step foot into a church again.  It was so boring, so oppressive, and did nothing for me.  And indeed, on my 18th birthday, I left the church and stayed away for a long time.  But eventually I recognized the foolishness of it all.  In my own circle, most of us left Christianity when we became adults.  However, those of us who went to church weekly, who were forced to, who had parents that really believed, came back.  Those whose parents went to church every now and again are still gone.  Most of my memories as a child revolve around church events.  My most pleasant childhood memories involve the daily evening routine we had in my family, which was to eat as a family and then to go lay in bed with mom and have Bible stories read to use for 30 minutes.  I really believed in those Bible stories mom told me and my sister and I still do.  I think having parents who really believe, who take God seriously, is in a lot of ways, the most fundemental reason for why people stay/come back.

I agree with you, and I also my most fondest memories do come from a church setting (Either by a youth group or AWANA [back when I was a Protestant]). I will say though that my parents never really bothered going to Church. Maybe once in a blue moon I might have had to go with them, but see it was all apart of the "Golden Ticket" mentality (All you gotta do is believe and your in heaven). So there really was no point in going to Church, but I think that ruined my parents' marriage to be honest, with that absense of Church. It's hard to have a successful marriage without God.
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 10:28:51 PM »

In my opinion and there is also research to support this, participation is very important to keeping young adults in church. This is only seconded to having friends/contacts within the church.

You should replace "young adults" with "everyone," and the statistics will continue to back you up.  The people who are involved in their parishes are more likely to remain active and in regular attendance, and give significantly more (time, talent, and treasure) than those who are not regularly involved.

As Father George mentioned, participation is very important in keeping both young and old in church. How can we increase laity involvement inorder to help Build Up the House of God and keep our youth from falling away?
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2011, 10:53:43 PM »

As one of those young people, I can attest to a lot of this. I am 18 years old right now, but I was 13 when I started doubting. My doubts were a lot more severe than most teenagers. I remember literally trembling with tears at night, scared to death to go to hell. I was convinced that somehow my "salvation prayer" that I said when I was 7 wasn't valid, and that somehow I wasn't saved. I began saying multiple prayers a day just to ensure my salvation, but I was still convinced I was going to hell. It was these types of doubts, along with the incoherence of Protestant doctrine in general, that caused me to abandon Christianity for a brief time. I was never an atheist, but I wasn't Christian. I was your typical "All Christians are stupid. They believe in fairy tales."-type guy. It didn't take much to bring me back into the fold, but my beliefs have radically changed since then, and through my journey, I am now strongly considering the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2011, 11:08:15 PM »

Why has no mention been made so far of the insidious effects of marxism on our culture, and the terrible effects its brainwashed ravings have had on all branches of Christianity?

Marxism and its evil ideas is the greatest enemy of the Church that now exists.
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2011, 11:14:34 PM »

Why has no mention been made so far of the insidious effects of marxism on our culture, and the terrible effects its brainwashed ravings have had on all branches of Christianity?

Marxism and its evil ideas is the greatest enemy of the Church that now exists.
"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."

-Karl Marx
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2011, 11:25:48 PM »

Why has no mention been made so far of the insidious effects of marxism on our culture, and the terrible effects its brainwashed ravings have had on all branches of Christianity?

Marxism and its evil ideas is the greatest enemy of the Church that now exists.
I'm not so sure Marxism is such a big threat these days.
Marxism is simply a special version of philosophical materialism.
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2011, 11:26:36 PM »

Why has no mention been made so far of the insidious effects of marxism on our culture, and the terrible effects its brainwashed ravings have had on all branches of Christianity?

Marxism and its evil ideas is the greatest enemy of the Church that now exists.
"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."

-Karl Marx

I don't believe that even you believe half the stuff you post on here.  I'm not complaining, but just sharing a belief of mine. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2011, 11:34:45 PM »

Marxism is not a big issue because it does not exist anymore except in a few countries which do not have a large Orthodox presence. Clearly in the United States which is what is referenced by the above articles and studies, Marxism is not an issue.

The #1 big topic is, for new people coming into the church, including children and also those returning from college or moving, socialization with many people. The more friends/contacts someone has in the church the more likely they are to attend with at least 3 friends being significant in studies.

The #2 big topic is participation and involvement. Some have latched onto this as important for Building Up the House of God while others deride it as Protestant.

The two seem to be linked as well because if you participate and are involved there is a greater likelihood of making friends.
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2011, 11:55:03 PM »

Couldn't you blame the Protestants for alot of this though?

Hardly.  The Orthodox aren't too good about keeping their children in Church.  Why would a kid want to be Orthodox though when they go to Liturgy twice a year and listen to a Liturgy conducted in a language they don't understand.  And on top of that, mom forces the teenager to go to Confession so they can receive Holy Communion. The kid has never done it before.  They have no understanding of what is going on.  During Vigil they kid is usually saying, "I hate you!", "Why do I have to confess my sins to him?!  It's weird!", and "I don't believe in any of this anyway!!!"  Then the mother is left crying asking those of us around her what happened.  True story.  A true story that has happened more than once. 

I know this young girl who is always with her mother, always at the prayer services and Divine Liturgies. She is pretty quiet and keeps to herself, but I wonder if she is screaming on the inside and is begging for someone to "free" her out of it. I wonder how many cradle Orthodox stay Orthodox in their teenage into adult years, they might view the DL's as being boring after attending so many.

most of the "fallen away" Orthodox teens I know are cradle (and have been for generations), and some of the most devout Orthodo  Christians I know are other converts. 
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2011, 11:59:33 PM »

Why has no mention been made so far of the insidious effects of marxism on our culture, and the terrible effects its brainwashed ravings have had on all branches of Christianity?

Marxism and its evil ideas is the greatest enemy of the Church that now exists.

*facepalm*
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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2011, 12:03:29 AM »

Couldn't you blame the Protestants for alot of this though?

Hardly.  The Orthodox aren't too good about keeping their children in Church.  Why would a kid want to be Orthodox though when they go to Liturgy twice a year and listen to a Liturgy conducted in a language they don't understand.  And on top of that, mom forces the teenager to go to Confession so they can receive Holy Communion. The kid has never done it before.  They have no understanding of what is going on.  During Vigil they kid is usually saying, "I hate you!", "Why do I have to confess my sins to him?!  It's weird!", and "I don't believe in any of this anyway!!!"  Then the mother is left crying asking those of us around her what happened.  True story.  A true story that has happened more than once. 

I know this young girl who is always with her mother, always at the prayer services and Divine Liturgies. She is pretty quiet and keeps to herself, but I wonder if she is screaming on the inside and is begging for someone to "free" her out of it. I wonder how many cradle Orthodox stay Orthodox in their teenage into adult years, they might view the DL's as being boring after attending so many.

most of the "fallen away" Orthodox teens I know are cradle (and have been for generations), and some of the most devout Orthodo  Christians I know are other converts. 

Very true. New converts generally make an effort to get involved and learn about their new faith. Once they break the 3 friend threshold they are in for good.

Cradle Orthodox. The twice a year type especially. Are lost the first bump in the road and already knowing the faith there is nothing to jump start there return. Historically, the jumpstart return was marriage or having children. But with mixed faith marriage and lessened importance on the church for cultural identity fewer and fewer are returning.
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