A Generation Z-er Finds True Faith
Those of us born between the years 1995–2010, known in America as Generation Z, were born in an age of rapidly developing technology. With new ways to stay super-connected, many of us felt overwhelmed by it all. As a result, we were characterized by sociologists as the generation least likely to believe in the American dream—and also the least religious.
I was raised in a Christian family. From my early childhood, my parents, both devout Christians, took me to church regularly, read the Bible to me often, and surrounded me with an all-round supportive spiritual environment. As a kid, my life fell into three oversimplified categories: playtime, school and homework time, and Bible time. Bible times were boring and unavoidable, though my parents tried to make them interesting for me. Most of the time, I would just tune out. Good at answering the questions my parents asked, I threw around the same terms they used, but I really had no idea what I was saying or doing. I had no understanding of the truths the Bible lessons were meant to convey. For me, it was all just the lifestyle of our family.
As I grew older, I thought I was a Christian because I was born into a Christian family. Then one day, when I was 12, my dad called me downstairs to talk to me about my faith. He wanted to know if I understood how to be saved and if I believed that Jesus died for my sins. He presented the plan of salvation to me, and I accepted Jesus—but with mere head knowledge of what seemed to me like an applied history lesson. I didn’t really understand what I was saying or doing. After our conversation that night, my dad thought I was saved. I thought I was saved too. We were both wrong! It seemed to me that head knowledge was all it took to be saved. Later, I understood that salvation would require more from me than a mere mental assent. It would require that I make a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
My high school years were difficult as I struggled with self-confidence and purpose. Beginning my freshman year, I could not find a group of friends to fit in with. Almost all of my friends from middle school had left to go to a different high school. The people I was able to hang out with didn’t really care about me. For half of my high school years—two and a half long years—I experienced immense loneliness because of my nearly nonexistent social life, and I fell into depression.
One would think that since our family attended church I could simply turn to the youth at church to socialize. But our youth group was diminishing, most of the other kids were younger than me, and I didn’t think any of them would be able to relate to my problems. About all we did together was play video games after Sunday school. So, having no older youth as role models to look up to, all I could do was find my own path. During this time, I did not turn to God for help. How could I? I didn’t have a real relationship with Him. I simply drowned myself in music and video games and studied long hours in order to block out negative emotions that were suffocating me. But nothing I did solved my problems.
There was a deeper reason why I didn’t even want to turn to God during those years. Spending time online, watching YouTube, and reading forums, I found that many people on the internet hated Christians. I would read the religious arguments that were biased against Christianity, and atheism would win every time. It seemed to make rational sense, and the argument was spun in such a way that made Christians look dumb. On top of that, I had heard people at church discuss other religions and the reasons they were false. It caused me to question whether there was a God at all. What if Christianity was false? The thought that the Bible could be completely invalid blew my mind!
For the first time ever, I took a step back and began to question myself: Had I been brainwashed? Why do Christians hate this or this? What is so wrong with believing that? How could the earth have been made in six days if there is no evidence to support it? I believed that Jesus was a real person, but what proof was there for the resurrection?
It didn’t help that liberalism was at its peak during this time, and the “everything goes” attitude was in conflict with the moral values I had been brought up with. I remembered hearing that the Christian life was full of obstacles, and I could understand why. I kept clinging to my strand of “faith” in Christianity—my head knowledge—waiting for it to break and drop me into the abyss of atheism. At the most, I wanted to find arguments supporting Christianity, but in the end, I was left even more unconvinced and unsatisfied. I truly dreaded the topic of religion and avoided discussing it as much as possible. It simply was too much of a burden for me to think about, and I was burdened enough with all the trouble high school was giving me.
Sometime after my high school graduation, knowing it was a risk for me, I decided to face my spiritual division over religion, I knew something had to be decided once and for all! I reasoned that if my parents and other church members could be such dedicated Christians while being brilliant scientists and engineers, then surely there was something I was missing in my understanding. In my search, I began reading books by Christian authors that explained God in terms that made sense to me. Something clicked in my brain and a huge wave of understanding and peace came over me. I realized that, in fact, the Bible revealed God clearly, and all the answers to my religious struggles were found in Him.
When I was younger, I had once asked my dad how he knew that God existed, and he told me to look around at nature. At the time, the answer seemed vague and unconvincing. But now, in this moment, I understood what he meant. The more I thought about the intricacies of our created world, the more it made sense that God exists. Everything I had thought so hard about was pure overthinking. The countless accusations atheists lodged against the Bible and God cracked and broke up. There truly could not be any other alternative to Christianity! At last, I believed! I confessed my faith in the Triune God and was saved.
As I headed off to college, I was not afraid that I would abandon my faith, even at a notoriously liberal and secular institution on the West Coast. At school, I found a rich fellowship among other young and passionate Christian students. With strong fundamentals in their faith, they raised questions that fed discussion and deepened my faith and understanding. I was truly grateful to be able to worship with and spend time around an amazing group of young people that centered their lives around Christ. It was exactly the environment I needed to encourage me to grow.
I was among the Generation Z-ers, and contrary to the characterization of our generation as least religious, many of us live healthy Christian lifestyles and put God above all else.