One Third of American Adults Under 30 Have No Religion
Many people discuss the rapid growth of religions like Evangelical Christianity or Islam. Yet this is compared to other mainstream religions, so of course these things would appear to be growing quickly. However, if you do a comparison of all belief systems, you will find that the “religious nones” are actually the fastest growing belief system in the world. In fact, I wrote an article about this recently if you want to learn more about this.
However, being a “religious none” doesn’t mean that the person is automatically godless, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the person isn’t spiritual. It simply just means that the person doesn’t have a religious label. In fact, it has been shown that more than two-thirds of the unaffiliated believe in God; nearly four in ten say they are “spiritual” but not “religious”, and more than one-fifth say they pray every day. So I don’t think it’s necessary a lack of belief, but more like a departure from organized religion in search for a more natural, organic truth.
Data from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that while only 7% of Americans were raised outside of a religious tradition, nearly 19 percent are religiously unaffiliated today. A large chunk of this number comes from people under 30. As the title of this article states, one-third of Americans under 30 are reported to have no religion.
Why are so many of these religious none’s young people? While there is no definite reason, there are a number of theories. Young people in America have grown up with a greater exposure to diverse cultural values, and a more open environment about sexuality. Many young people are getting pushed away from the church by rhetoric they see as shallow: statements against gay marriage, women’s equality and basic science.
According to a recent study done at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California-Santa Barbara, a majority of young people (men and women between 18-32) prefer egalitarian relationships where economic and domestic responsibilities are shared between both genders. Therefore, much of the statements from mainstream religions about “traditional gender roles” are a big fat turn off to our younger folk.
While some people may say that this makes millennials a generation “without values,” I think it means that we are the generation that is actually questioning what makes something “a value” to begin with.
Language doesn’t exist yet to classify what exactly today’s young people believe. But perhaps the language isn’t important. Perhaps what is important is that today’s millennials are discovering what is right by thinking for themselves and finding more organic ways to connect with the divine.