Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What do the young believe?

The core finding of Pew's "Religion Among the Millennials" report is that young Americans are "less religiously affiliated" than their elders. In fact, one in four of Americans ages 18 to 29 do not affiliate with any particular religious group. This is not entirely unexpected, since it is a sociological truism that young people cultivate some distance from the religious institutions of their parents, only to return to those institutions as they marry, raise children and slouch toward retirement. According to Pew, however, "Millennials are significantly more unaffiliated than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their life cycle ... and twice as unaffiliated as Baby Boomers were as young adults."
Lots to think about, esp. as we look to this generation amongst our flock. Read the whole article by Stephen Prothero here.
Although the independence of the Millennials is often misread as apathy, my college students are deeply engaged both spiritually and politically. They care about things of the spirit, and they are eager both to vote and to volunteer. They are suspicious, however, of large, cookie-cutter organizations that want to corral and "brand" them. Do they trust people over 30? Absolutely. They just don't want to join their clubs, their political parties or their churches. They don't want a place at the table. They want a chat room of their own.

No comments: