Question:My 17 year old son informed me that he no longer believes in God. He has been raised in the church since birth. His Mom and Dad have gone through a tragic divorce in the last two years. Dad is very dedicated to staying involved in church, and if it were not for his faith, he would not have been able to make it. I was there in the backyard at age seven when my son asked Christ into his life. What do I say now that he has so blatantly rejected God? He will not attend church.
First of all, adolescence is a time when it is very normal for Christian young people - who aren't going through a crisis - to experience doubts and questions about their faith. When a traumatic life event is added to the equation, it is no surprise that your son is also experiencing a crisis of faith.
The months and years surrounding a divorce are difficult times. It has been said that it takes years for people to feel "normal" again after going through a divorce. While everyone who is connected to a divorce suffers loss, everyone has a unique experience and reacts differently. One of the results of divorce on adolescent sons or daughters is an inability to trust. They feel let down. It's hard to trust anyone, even God - and sometimes, especially God. I think this result is being displayed by your son when he says, "I can make it through life without having something outside comfort me." Obviously, he has been hurt and doesn't want to be vulnerable to future hurts. But, your son is mistaken in his outlook. No one is self-sufficient. God has designed us for relationships with others and for relationship with Him. Building emotional walls to protect us from hurt may seem like a great self-preservation strategy in the short-term, but can lead to a lot of relational problems long-term if not addressed.
My advice is that you not try to forcefully correct your son's "belief system". Right now, more than anything, he needs love and encouragement. Keep sharing your faith, keep God in your conversations. Be open to talking through your son's doubts and his anger towards God. Do your best to show your son the unconditional love of Christ through your own life. He needs support during these days. Does he have Christian friends? If so, encourage those relationships. Help him find the support that he needs. Try to find a divorce-support group for teenagers. They are out there. They can be very helpful.
In the end, don't give up praying for and encouraging your son. And, trust that God will walk with and alongside you both during these difficult times. Don't forget that God loves your son even more that you do and He will be there every step along the way.
God's blessings to you.