Regarding the PEW research, while I'm no statistician, couldn't the results be showing that the numbers grow as each generation has children of their own? I just found the 13% Boomer to 26% Millenial ratio interesting.
Every religious educator knows the family is the primary incubator of values whether they're weighted toward religion (social/dogma) or spirituality (experiential/soul). Churches that fail the relevance test for their 15-50-somethings will lose any children they may have as well. The thriving churches in the small town I used to live in (14,000 people, 26+ churches) were the ones with a vigorous family ministry component. While the ones who did things "the way we've always done them," mostly appealed to the ones who'd always been doing them! When my children started asking me why the library and toyboxes were removed to make room for (a second) office space...or asked why the "old people" were always shushing them...or why the parking lot was the only place to play--AFTER they'd spent a mostly quiet, wiggle-free HOUR in church....was around the time we drifted away. Not the only reason by far, but important because it was indicative of the underlying problem. And that's not to denigrate the aforementioned "old people" whom I dearly loved.
I found that Boomers and X'ers who had not attended Catholic schools were profoundly unable to articulate their faith in any meaningful way to their children. And even those who had attended Catholic schools (Boomers and Silent gens esp.) believed SOMEBODY ELSE was or should be taking care of it. Maybe in other words, it wasn't important enough or relevant enough for them to bring it up with their kids between Sunday mornings---they weren't getting anything of value out of it.
Some of the same people could wax poetic about baseball or fishing or golf and spend a great deal of time/money/energy bringing THAT experience to their children......which brings up a different point---the sit/listen/talk/study/reflect mode as well as a view of heaven as a cloudy, passionless place where we wear dresses and sing, is not particularly appealing to the masculine----so we defacto lose men in droves. Who runs the local church? Church Ladies. I was one for years. I suspect this would apply to religious groups other than just Catholic or Christian, although I'm not certain.
Add all that to my other post in this thread and the scandals which broke 25 years ago which are still resonating today and you've got even more cause/effect. I can't count the number of times I've heard, "Well, I was RAISED Catholic, but ___________." And it's really quite difficult for "recovering catholics" to find a good fit community-wise.
I imagine it's similar for all who feel they've "outgrown" their religious traditions. A feeling of ~~Where do I go from here and who can I have this conversation with that 'gets it'? ~~ One that doesn't feel like it's going backwards somehow.
More information about text formats