Sometimes it seems like Generation Y is in a religious trance: Bristol Palin flip-flops on abstinence, the Jonas Brothers pledge to keep it in their pants, Britney and Lindsay take up Kabbalah (or at least wear its bracelets). But we all know what’s really going on: young people are opting out of religion.
What Would Jesus Do? One in four people aged 18-29 probably don’t give a crap.
That’s because 25 percent of us are unaffiliated with religion according to a recent survey. This is stunning news to Robert Putnam, a Harvard professor who conducted the research, but it sounds about right to me. I can’t think of any friends whose weekly rituals include going to Church or sitting in silence repeating mantra’s or lighting the Shabbat candles or praying to Allah five times a day.
So what does this all mean?
It doesn’t mean we’re atheists. It means we’re calling bullshit on "intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views” that come with belonging to a particular creed (well, I am anyway).
I’m guessing it also means that we’ve found belonging elsewhere: in a Facebook group (the Internet age has allowed us to retreat from community and reinforce it at the same time), a political party (any Libertarians out there?), an eco movement, a Pastafarian meeting (a religious spoof—or is it?).
Obviously there are other reasons as to why the current youth step away from religion: agnosticism, atheism and whatever else, but I think the above two mostly summarize why.
While Putnam worries that increasing numbers of nones (which is survey speak for the depraved) will be bad for the community because “people who go to church are much more likely to vote, volunteer and give to charity” ( if you didn’t already know my minions, religion = Grade A citizen). He also says that youth becoming less religious could result in “a burst of religious innovation.” Yes…options—now that’s something to believe in.
Why are so many Generation Y-ers retreating from religion? I have my reasons for as to why I am. How does religion fit into your life? Or not?