5 Ways to Lose Your Faith in College

So you’re about to head off to college, eh? Excited? Nervous? Ready to just get started? Ready to be on your own? Ready to study what you actually want to study? Beginning the collegiate journey is a unique time in a young adult’s life, and one that I hope you’re looking forward to embarking upon. As you prepare for all the life changes that lie ahead this year, you’ve probably received oodles of advice about this and that: which classes to take, which professors to avoid, how to arrange your dorm room, where all the good study spots are, how to put yourself out there for new friendships, how to live on a budget, and so on. But if you’re looking to ditch your prayer life and forsake the religion you’ve grown up with, I’m here to give you all the details and insight about five ways you can lose your Catholic Faith in college.

1. Stop Going to Mass

The easiest way to lose your Faith is to separate yourself from the Lord in the Eucharist. If you aren’t consistently going to Mass every Sunday, listening to the Scriptures, hearing the encouragement and passion from the priest, finding support and unity in the congregation, and receiving Jesus in the Sacrament, then it’s really simple to fall away from Him. The voice of the culture and world will steadily drown out the voice of God, and becoming deaf to Him happens almost automatically. If you’re looking to lose your Faith in college, don’t make Sunday Mass a priority. Just sleep in.

2. Try to Please Everyone

Of utmost importance when trying to fit in in college is to change yourself constantly in order to try to please every person you meet. Take on a different set of characteristics, beliefs, and attitudes just to look cool in front of whichever crowd you find yourself a part of that night. Abandon all former non-negotiables, principles, and personality traits in favor of embracing relativism, personal inconsistency, and whatever it takes to get you accepted by everyone. Most importantly, do not surround yourself with other faithful young adults. Do not seek friends who accept you for who you truly are, who encourage you in your faith and studies, with whom you have legitimate fun, and who help you grow closer to God. That’s counterproductive.

3. Look Out for Number One

Adopt the mindset that you are the most important person in the world. After all, you’re in college to pursue your education, to exercise your freedom, and to do what you want, right? So don’t make anyone else a priority. Do not be attentive to the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual needs of your roommate, classmates, friends, or anyone else. Don’t go out of your way to do anything nice for anyone, especially if there’s nothing in it for you. Don’t comfort the sorrowing, forsake being patient with others, and forget forgiveness. And certainly do not volunteer your time and energy at any sort of humanitarian or religious outreaches like soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, after school mentor programs, or homeless shelters. It’s all about you, baby.

4. Don’t Ask Questions

If there arises in your mind any question or doubt about the Catholic faith, do not look for answers. Don’t run it by your parents, parish pastor, or anyone else you see as a mentor and guide in your faith. Don’t seek clarity. Just keep it to yourself and conclude that if you don’t have a full understanding of a Church teaching, then it just must be wrong. Don’t engage in respectful and informative debate with anyone who questions your Faith or why you believe what you believe. Concede immediately for the sake of aforementioned #2. Afterward, do not turn to Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, or the Magisterium for any further insight or explanation. Stop reading books about Catholicism. Stop listening to CDs, radio shows, or other programs that bring light to the big issues. Stop being interested. Stop seeking the answers.

5. Leave God Out of the Equation

Finally, the swiftest way to lose the connection to your Faith. What happens when you lose touch with a friend? It’s a slow process most of the time, isn’t it? One moment, you’re hanging out and talking every single day; then maybe you stop seeing each other face to face; then, your conversations dwindle to a few polite exchanges a week; then, you only talk when you need something from your friend; and finally, you lose touch all together, and you stop thinking of that person, and it becomes as if that person doesn’t exist. It works the same way with Jesus! If you’re looking to lose your Faith in college, stop talking to Jesus. Let Him be like that friend with whom you lose contact. Let your conversations diminish. Eventually, you’ll stop talking to Him and thinking of Him all together. It will be as if He doesn’t exist. And forget that prayer stuff when it comes to making your decisions, big or small. Don’t make God a part of your plan. Don’t think of Him when deciding what to study, where to live, what to do on Friday night, who to marry, or how to navigate sensitive situations. Leave Him out of all of it.

The easiest way to lose your Faith in college is to stop wanting it, to stop fighting for it. If you don’t make Jesus a priority, He won’t be one in your life. It’s as simple as that.


Olivia Spears


Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She works from home as an editor and social media manager while raising her children and laughing with her husband. Although she now spends most of her free time away from the internet, past adventures are still on her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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  • Rationalist1

    Those may be the reasons for some people to leave their faith, but as an ex-Catholic, now atheist can I offer a few more from experience.

    First the way the Catholic Church treats women and gays. It is the Church’s choice and belief but many young people increasingly find it unacceptable to treat women and gays as equal in all respects that matter to men and heterosexuals.

    Second, being exposed to non Catholic believers who are sincere, intelligent, prayerful and have quite different but strongly held beliefs as oneself. It starts one questioning why one’s own religion should be true and thousands of other false.

    And lastly, and this one may be more personal to me, with exposure to science in university, one learns the importance of evidence and the importance that admitting error has played in the progress of science. I;m not talking personal error (long the perview of Catholicism,) but of collective error in understanding. One can accept science as a means to knowledge because it has been wrong, admitted it, changed its teachings and learned. Religion, not just Catholicism, offers no such corrective. Its teachings are fixed and unchanging. While that may have given consolation to many in the past, it becomes a source of concern to many today.


  • jb

    Whoa, … let me get this right, you think the Catholic church treats Homosexuals and women unequally in all respects that matter to men and heterosexuals …. which makes no sense since women can be heterosexual and Homosexual….. and you attack the church on science too… Evidently you have not gotten far enough to find out who was responsible for… wait for it.. The big bang Theory… (not law, by the way, like Newton’s 3 laws of motion – which cause huge issues for what caused the big bang… something from nothing that moved rather than remained at rest maybe…. if not what caused that? no one can say… ) It was a Catholic Priest in the 1920’s and the Pope embraced his findings as did Einstein… no mental midget…) http://wgbhnews.org/post/big-bang-theory-roman-catholic-creation

    Funny how you got to University without understanding the big bang theory. Of course you feel any faith should have known science of the earth and universe from the beginning according to your last paragraph… so if science comes up with advances as it has every generation, then any religion must be wrong… did I get that right. Logic classes must await you…. The Catholic Church has developed just as man has developed… most science being funded by the church… before you claim Galileo, do yourself a favor and look up the details so you don’t end up looking like you have just taken someone’s word for a life altering decision… Copernicus??? know him… A Catholic Priest… he was never discounted. (Hint – lie to a Pope, change scientific theory to fact due to your own opinion and then rewrite theology to match that… Hmmm )… and totally disregard that protestant religions had the same issues with him, but he was Catholic oh, and they had no authority to determine he was in error… anyway..

    The Catholic Church is fixed and unchanging… concerning science? Would you call allowing individual Catholics to believe anything from the most modern Theory of creation to actual creation by God doing exactly what is written in the Bible, (well, since their are two versions you do have to pick one, both could not have happened…. .. technical detail) so long as God caused “that” – the that which science has yet to explain by the way…. If you think it has then ask yourself, what caused that? Laws of science say something had to… and you found you basis for belief or lack there of on science… right? We just can’t say…. guessing there is no God versus that God exists is an argument of equal weight.. Neither can be proven… It comes down to what evidence one chooses in his individual mind to believe.. faith.. in science or God…

    I suggest you actually study what the church teaches.. then evaluate it.

    as far as women and the Church, Jesus was a rebel as far as the way He treated women.. check history of that time.. women were property.. Jesus treated them as equals. I can’t tell you why He did not choose to have female Apostles. If He told you let me know please.. I can tell you that if God was not valuing women as equals to men He would never have had women be the first to see Jesus after he rose from the dead… stupid move.. women could not testify in court.. they could not even talk while they served the men meals….. A man could divorce a woman by saying.. I divorce you 3 times.. … and give her a note…. It is the origin for counting to three before an action being taken… Since if you understand the organization of the Catholic Church so well and know the purpose of a Priest is to SERVE, not rule (check out what an Archbishop makes vs any protestant preacher and you will be shocked… I know, it is embarrassingly low.. parish priests even lower… ) If you check out parishes the Parish is run by females… so the church is influenced much more by on a day to day basis by “non priests”. Thank God for that too. Females are much more nurturing and compassionate than men.and are usually smarter in church dealings…. Mary? she is the ultimate Catholic… and Female… In Jesus’s life it is hard to determine which sex played the more important role… men look pretty stupid sometimes where the Mary’s and Martha seem much smarter and pick things up much quicker… rather be Mary or Peter???? Mary wins every time…She knew exactly what to say and do… Mary kicked off Jesus’ public ministry… He even pushed back… at the Wedding feast.. but did exactly as she asked in the end.. She was right.. it was time…. tell me about how little women mattered again… please.

    As far as Homosexual marriage… check out history.. matrimony.. the sacrament, not marriage,,,,,, has roman roots…. it’s purpose was to make the mothers of children equal to the fathers.. remember, pagan romans had many “wives”. the irony is that Matrimony was created to protect the rights of women who bore the men’s children and make them different under the law from the concubine of women and wait for it.. men, who were basically (both sexes ) sexual playthings with no intention of producing children or families.. just pleasure…. so Pagans defined matrimony, not Catholics.. to make mothers not equal to those just together for sex…. and I am sure you know that the Church does not treat Homosexuals who do not act on their inclination any differently that a 17 year old boy who does not act on his inclination to have sex before marriage or a divorce man who wants sex outside of a marriage. or those being busted by the leak at Ashley Madison’s website who are married… same exact sin. .. all three are called to the discipline of celibacy.

    You say one’s own religion to be true… well that shows you really don’t understand the Catholic Faith very well…. we do not believe no other religion is TRUE, they use the Bible that the Catholics brought together. All protestant faiths owe their beginning to the Catholic faith in one way or another…. some are using an Old Testament with fewer books than the Catholic Bible or the Scriptures Jesus actually preached from but they still have the Truth, Catholics just say the whole deposit of truth is in the Catholic Faith. This is based on looking at what those who learned their faith from the Apostles or from those taught by the Apostles did and said. So your second claim is false. Now you may take issue with a God who would wait 1500 years to make things right and use a Catholic monk who held Catholic beliefs long into his founding a new church to do it and who wanted to take out a book actually written by an Apostle until earthly friends convinced him, not God, to leave it ….but that does not affect Catholics.

    Guess you can say you just choose to not believe and that is certainly your right. Your reasons for leaving seem very flawed and show you really have not done much research or you would never have offered these reasons. Of course if you do not believe in God then you can have all the sex you want.. even if those you approach are not willing.. heck, you deny natural law so that is not a factor…. no use defining right or wrong.. everything based on the 10 commandments is just flawed religious goo. You have no rights except those which other choose to grant you… and everything is up to the the individual to determine and on individual has any right to dispute it.. so we are right back to your guess is as good as mine.. and of absolutely the exact value… to an atheist….or you are a hypocrite and dispute your own arguments as you choose to be God and determine what others should believe… fun huh? Life where you can’t criticize anyone’s choice of action… without acting as some god who has a higher position.. which you say doesn’t exist… are you sure you don’t believe in God? and he thinks like you do? Keep digging… check out everything.. take no person’s word for anything.. (including those you are listening to to come up with this flawed reasoning based on misinformation and assumptions) Look at the gaps in religion and in the faith (it is one.Webster =..a disbelief (defined as : a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real – —by the way…) in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity ) of atheism. Don’t settle for anything less…

  • Rationalist1

    One thing that was interesting about Fr. Gerge Lemaitre and his theory was that he tried to counsel the Church not to align his theory with church doctrine because like Newton Laws, which were proved incorrect in the light of modern science, a falsification of the Lemaiitre’s theory be seen as an invalidation of Church doctrine.

    This perhaps typifies the difference between science and religion’s epistemological approaches. Science can, and does frequently, admit error. Religion never does. You mentioned Galileo and warned me to look up the details. I most certainly have studied that incident at length and am not content to rely on third party interpretations. That the Church condemned his theory is incontrovertible and stated that heliocentism was not only contrary to Scripture but the doctrines of the Church ( http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/condemnation.html ). Rather than admot error the Church in its adressing of this issue on the 350th annniversary of Galileo’s death blames it in part on “:carattere unitario della cultura” ( http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/it/speeches/1992/october/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19921031_accademia-scienze.html ) or the fact that the culture of the time was uniform.

    While I appreciate your response, my original approach was an attempt, I hope non confrontationaly, to give a perspective on why Catholics are leaving the fold. That many believers choose to adopt more palatable reasons, while they may be more satisfying to their faith on the apostates reasons, do not in my view address what I view as real reasons.