How Religious Are Young People?

In many cultures religion is considered to be a part of tradition, and as such it is seen as an integral part of social life. However, younger people are not likely to be tied to tradition, and are more prone to expose themselves to diverse cultural influences. Youth considers religion to be a practice of the elderly. This is due to the fact that people are seen to embrace religion as they age and get closer to death, thus seeking the scenario of an afterlife for comfort. Young people are introduced to religion by their parents, but many of them decide to abandon their faith later in life. Studies conducted on Protestants aged between 18 and 30 showed that seventy percent of them stopped going to church by the age of 23, despite having attended it regularly in high school (Wilson, 2009).

Studies carried out on young people and their attitude towards religion help understand its place in modern society and its future. It is the young generation that is at the forefront of social and cultural change. Their engagement in religion provides information on its innovation, transformation and adaptation in relation to wider cultural and social trends, as well as the future of faith and how resilient practices and beliefs are (Wilson, 2009). Further studies conducted on people under 30 showed that both Christians and non-Christians are now more critical of Christianity, than their peers were ten years ago. The study conducted by Bama Group showed that opinion of non-Christians about adherents of this religion was also more favorable than it is now.

Bonuses and Discounts
give up to20% off
Place an Order

A research conducted on senior pastors indicated that they were having difficulties in church, as Christianity was facing a lot of negativity and hostility. The common perceptions expressed by young people regarding present-day Christianity included seeing it as too involved in politics, old-fashioned, hypocritical, and judgmental. The interviewed people were not ignorant, as they had been either attending church themselves before stopping to do so, or had at least five friends who were Christians (Grossman, 2007). The contempt for faith was seen to come from a position of familiarity with it, through personal interactions and true stories from other people that provided non-Christian experiences.

One of the reasons that young people specified in a survey conducted to find out why they disdain Christianity was the excessive unloving attitude and disdain that Christians showed towards lesbian and gay people. They said that church regarded homosexuality as a bigger sin than others, and failed to provide biblical teachings that would help them relate to or have friendships with such people (Robinson, 2007). Both young Christians and non-Christians are frustrated at the level by which modern Christianity has shifted from its earlier teachings. This opinion was discovered to be shared by the majority of the population, implying that the common trend whereby more people became religious as they aged would be a thing of the past as well.

Christianity is the most common faith in the United States, though there is a possibility that the situation will change with more people becoming secular in a few years to come. Many high school and college students get involved in community service and volunteerism. Their participation in such activities is seen as a way to define themselves and their identity as Christians. Religion is often presented as compulsory by parents, denying young people the experience of spiritual and personal understanding, but in doing so they only provoke rebellion and make youngsters disdain religion even more (Grossman, 2007). Some young people are able to maintain their tolerance, and are, therefore, able to grow in both spirituality and religion, irrespective of their denomination. It is, however, possible that some young people are beginning to understand religion in ways that they did not before, and are, consequently, strengthening their religious beliefs and faith.