New data from the Pew Forum may be unsurprising to some of us, but it amplifies what we have probably assumed to be true and seems relevant to our projects at Speaking of Faith:

“Compared with their elders today, young people are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination. Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25%) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular.” This compares with less than one-fifth of people in their 30s (19%), 15% of those in their 40s, 14% of those in their 50s and 10% or less among those 60 and older. About two-thirds of young people (68%) say they are members of a Christian denomination and 43% describe themselves as Protestants, compared with 81% of adults ages 30 and older who associate with Christian faiths and 53% who are Protestants.”

Any insights you draw from this latest report?

Share Your Reflection



As a member of this generation, I'm hesitant to think that this data allows us draw too many conclusions about the faiths of those surveyed. Rather, I think this survey might speak to a general trend among people my age to reject the rigidity of labels and classification systems. The popular notion of the day seems to be, "if you must label me, label me unlabeled." The trends described in this study may not necessarily be demonstrative of a difference in the religious/spiritual ideologies in this generation, but rather a more general trend in how millenials conceive of their identity. I think I speak for many of my peers when I say we don't like to be confined to narrow categories like "Protestant", "Atheist", or "Muslim". For me personally, I'm acutely aware that no circumstances in life---whether they be external (e.g. economic conditions) or internal (e.g. my beliefs about my life's purpose)-- are permanent. This generation is growing up in a world that is changing far too rapidly to fasten themselves to linguistic categories that (by nature of being linguistic and, thus, slow to change) cannot keep up with the pace.