Struggling with faith can be one of the most turbulent experiences of someones life. Especially when they grew up in a certain faith only to question it once they reach independence. This seems to be especially common among students – 70% of young adults who regularly attended church drop out. However almost two-thirds of those youth return in their lifetime according to LifeWay research.
So you certainly aren’t unusual for feeling this way. But that does not make this experience any less confusing for you. However I have some bad news and some good news that will hopefully bring you a bit more clarity.
The bad news is I am not in a position to tell you what is right and what you should believe. The only person in that position is you. This is because if I told you to believe the grass was green and you took me at my word, it would not be your faith. However if you go outside and examine the grass and learn your colour wheel then conclude the grass is green, that is your faith.
A common mistake christians make is assuming faith means to be completely blind. And that to search for truth or proof means you do not believe. But didn’t the apostle Paul say “do not treat prophesies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” Yes faith involves believing in what you cannot see. But it also involves being certain – and certainty without affirmation is stupidity. No, I do not believe God calls us to be blind.
Now onto the good news I alluded to! The good news is the good news. Growing up in a christian family, you have probably heard the good news hundreds of times – “The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself — that it begins and ends with faith.” God’s love never fails. Never. No matter how much you are doubting, you don’t need to be ashamed about returning to the faith. God’s arms are still wide open and waiting for you – they have been that way ever since Jesus stretched His arms out on the cross.
If you are wanting to return to faith, it is best to talk about it in person to an expert such as a pastor. You also mentioned you are studying in the Waikato. If you are after a Hamilton church, try Grace Evangelical. This small and close knit church is exactly what a young person questioning the faith needs. A small community church means you will likely have close members looking out for you. Plus big churches can be intimidating to those returning to the faith.
So in short, I think you should try attending a church. This isn’t just because I have an agenda being Christian myself. But rather it is because I know nothing I could say could change your mind. You need to discover the truth for yourself. And I wish you all the luck in the world for discovering that truth.