As the years go by and new generations are born, religion is being lost amongst millennials and Gen Z in America.
There have been several reports and surveys that have documented the change in percentages of absolute belief in God and the attendance of religious services and practices.
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of U.S. adults who say they believe in God has declined from 92 to 89 percent since they first conducted their study in 2007. The number of Americans who say they are “absolutely certain” God exists has decreased even more, from 71 percent in 2007 to 63 percent in 2014.
There has also been a small, yet significant decline from 2007 to 2014 in percentages of people who say they pray every day, dropping from 22 to 20 percent, attend religious services regularly, which dropped from 10 to 9 percent, and consider religion to be a vital part of their lives, dropping from 16 to 13 percent.
A growing number of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, including those who identify as atheists and agnostics, as well as many who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Together, they make up 23 percent of the adult population, up from 16 percent in 2007
What one can gather from all this evidence from the Religious Landscape Study conducted by the Pew Research Center is that millennials (young adults born between 1981 and 1996) and younger are much less religious and likely to pray, attend church regularly, or consider religion am important part of their lives than older Americans born before the 1980s.
Most Millennials and Gen Z’ers themselves recognize that they are less religious than their parents and grandparents.
Sophomore Emaan Amir says, “I definitely know for a fact that my parents have a much stronger faith than I do. They are much more keen on certain traditions and religious practices, something my siblings and I have not made an extremely important part of our lives.”
While it is extremely evident that the young adults of the U.S. are much less religious than older Americans, as several surveys and studies quite clearly show, there seems to be a lack of an explanation as to why younger Americans are not absolutely certain in the existence of God or fail to practice the religion in which they were brought up.
As society is changing, new cultures are being introduced and old traditions are being taken away. With that, there can be several ways to explain the loss of religion amongst younger Americans, some more factual than others.
One explanation can be the common practice of interfaith marriages, a practice that has been introduced to society only very recently. It has existed for quite some time, but has become extremely common in the U.S. only in the last 20 years.
According to the Religious Landscape Study, almost 39 percent of Americans have married a spouse of a different religious group since 2010. Only 19 percent of Americans who have gotten married before 1960 were found to have been in a religious intermarriage.
Having parents with two different faiths and religious backgrounds can cause confusion in a child, leading them to ultimately disregard God and religion as whole, instead of having to choose between the two beliefs of their parents.
This can be seen as one of the major causes of religion to be lost amongst the younger generations, as the spark of interfaith marriages correlates with the decline in religious Americans.
Another explanation can be the obsession with pop culture. Nowadays, people, especially teens, do not find the need for religion and are less dependent on it. They are too busy worrying about when their favorite artist will drop their new album, what the latest fashion and beauty trends are, and are now finding comfort in the lives of their favorite celebrities.
Freshman Simran Sammal says, “People don’t have time to be religious these days, especially people my age. We have so much else to worry about, much of that being a part of pop culture.”
Society has evolved so much from what it once was. The increase in interfaith marriages and obsession with social media and pop culture are only two amongst the many valid explanations of the lack of religious importance in young Americans’ lives.
What generation do you see this most common in and why?