New poll: few Millennials describe belief in God as “very important”

Beliefs of millennials and boomers
Beliefs of millennials and boomers

I saw a very interesting article that compared the attitudes of young people about things like patriotism, religion, freedom, etc. The numbers are very discouraging.

So, here’s the article from the Washington Examiner:

The importance of patriotism, faith in God, and having children is significantly lower among millennials and Generation Z, compared to previous generations.

In a new poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, nearly 80% of people aged 55-91 said being patriotic is important to them, while only 42% of millennials and Generation Z, or those aged 18-38, said the same. Thirty percent of millennials and Generation Z said religion was important, compared to the over 75% of baby boomers, with just over 30% of millennials and Generation Z saying it was important to have children.

Areas where the younger generations had placed higher importance compared to boomers were tolerance for others and self-fulfillment, with financial security being almost tied between the two age groups.

I’m sure that everyone has seen other polls showing the decline of Christianity, especially in mainline and Catholic churches. Evangelicals are declining less, but they are still declining.

The reason I linked to this post is because I’ve noticed that some Christians don’t really think that there is anything to be concerned about. Everything is working fine, they say. Whatever we’re doing right now must be working, because there is no decline. We’re winning, and if you think otherwise, then you’re just complaining.

Well, I don’t really know why there is this decline, all I can do is speak from my experiences. I’ve met people through my blog who did lose their faith in college, and I’ve met ex-Christians in my office, too. I asked them what the problem was, and it seems to be that when they were growing up, they often bullied into behaving like a Christian without being able to ask any questions about whether it was true. And then as soon as they got to college away from their parents and pastors, they just dumped the whole thing.

I remember listening to an amazing lecture a while back by Dr. Scott Waller. I think it was a lecture he gave for the Stand to Reason “Masters Series in Christian Thought” in 2003. The lecture was about Postmodernism in the University. Postmodernism is the view that there are no true or false views, especially with “soft” issues like religion and morality. In the lecture, he talked about how a father had sent his devout Christian son to university, and the son had returned an atheist after one semester. I remember Dr. Waller quoting the son telling his parents “I have come to think of my time growing up in this house as the dark period of my life”. The father was very upset. So Dr. Waller told him what to do. He said, you’re going to need to read a few books on the most common questions that your son has, and then work through the answers with him. And he made a little pile of books about common questions that college students ask, and pushed the pile across the table to the father. And the father pushed the books back across the table to Dr. Waller, and said “well, I don’t have time for reading so many books… but could you just talk to him instead?”

Another thing that seems to cause a lot of young people to  leave the faith in college is sex. Now if I were trying to convince someone to be responsible about sex, I’d try to show them studies and statistics to explain why there really are best practices to relationships and marriage. For example, I’d might show them that the number of premarital sex partners increases marital instability, or that sliding into cohabitation early tends to make marriages less stable. But this takes a bit of work, and you have to work through it with the young people. I just don’t know if parents really reason with their kids like this. But in churches, I’ve noticed that trying to make an argument using evidence isn’t very popular. To me, if I were trying to be convincing to someone about something, I would use evidence. It’s just natural to me to make a case if I’m trying to be persuasive. But making a case just hasn’t been a really big priority in the churches I’ve attended.

So, I guess if I had to give any advice to parents of children, or pastors in churches, it would be that Christianity is in decline, and we need to do more than just order people to memorize Bible verses and creeds, go to church, etc. It’s hard for me to know what’s really going on in everyone’s home, and in everyone’s church. But I don’t think that whatever we’re doing in our homes and churches is working to convince young people that belief in God is very important.

18 thoughts on “New poll: few Millennials describe belief in God as “very important””

  1. “Well, I don’t really know why there is this decline, all I can do is speak from my experiences. I’ve met people through my blog who did lose their faith in college, and I’ve met ex-Christians in my office, too.
    I asked them what the problem was, and it seems to be that when they were growing up, they often bullied into behaving like a Christian without being able to ask any questions about whether it was true.
    And then as soon as they got to college away from their parents and pastors, they just dumped the whole thing.”

    True story about this from my own life. My now sixteen-year-old son didn’t take to the youth group very well and my divorce made the situation worse. I told my son about my desire that he connect with other Christian youth at our church to love and serve them but when that didn’t persuade him I let the issue go and just loved and supported him in whatever he put his mind too. My son has been really busy with the robotics team the past couple of years, but that has begun to sour with the leadership of the team shafting him (no pun intended). I did some more probing and questioning him to try to get to the bottom of why he felt the way he did. He opened up to me that he felt everyone was fake and didn’t want to be around those fake people. That gave me an opportunity to talk about judging other people according to outward appearances and why it was wrong. I believe he was also projecting onto other members of the church and the youth what he was guilty of. Many kids in the youth ministry have and demonstrate and a strong commitment to Jesus and it shows in their life. My son, on the other hand, doesn’t (at least in terms of youth participation and service although I do believe he has the faith). He has been more committed to academic success instead of putting Jesus first in seeking the kingdom. He is slowly coming around to realizing that the best thing he can do is love God and his people in the same accepting way that God loves and accepts us. He at least acknowledges the problem now knows what needs to happen.

    “So Dr. Waller told him what to do. He said, you’re going to need to read a few books on the most common questions that your son has, and then work through the answers with him. And he made a little pile of books about common questions that college students ask, and pushed the pile across the table to the father. And the father pushed the books back across the table to Dr. Waller, and said “well, I don’t have time for reading so many books… but could you just talk to him instead?'”

    The above block quote made me genuinely sad. What the father doesn’t realize is he has way more pull over his son’s heart than a stranger no matter how much of an expert Dr. Waller is. The father needs to fight for the faith of his son instead of passing the buck. Passing the buck to the church is at least part of the problem of why his son’s faith is in shambles. I’m joyful to report that my son has had the freedom to express any doubts he has and we talk through them. We’ve had some amazing bonding conversations with difficult topics concerning the faith. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And my son knows I love him no matter what.

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  2. “Not very important” huh? Wait until they hear the words, “I’m sorry, but the biopsy showed malignancy.”
    Or, “I’m leaving you for another man/woman.”
    Or, “We did everything we could to save your child.”
    Or, “You’re fired.”
    Or, “I sentence you to X number of years in prison.”

    Or, worst of all (and may God forbid),

    “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”(Matt.25:41).

    Not very important, huh?

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  3. The increase in their belief of self fulfillment also explains why they don’t like the Christian view. It can cut into fun times, and requires sacrifice.

    It also shows why non committal ideas in the new age are popular. Create a god or spirituality in your own image and path of desire.

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    1. That’s what they’re doing.

      I show cohabitating atheists research papers about the dangers of what they’re doing, and they just dismiss the papers without reading them. They know everything. They don’t need to read a damned thing to bound their decision-making with facts.

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  4. One of our deathscorts at our murder mill was raised in a devout Christian home. She knows more hymns than I do – by far. Has a great signing voice too.

    I thank God I was not raised in the lost, lukewarm, and unsanctified churches of America. For if I had, I might be working at a murder mill right now, or perhaps worse, sitting in a church somewhere thinking I was saved when I was not.

    The numbers in this poll merely reflect the fact that the major institutions in our nation – the schools and churches and universities and media – have all been turned over to the enemy of God. The devil is quite good at indoctrination.

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    1. Exactly.

      And what’s interesting to me is when I try to bring up the problems with churches, and Christians shut me down, claiming that I have no right to criticize and just need to show up and approve of the failure that’s going on there.

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      1. Oh yeah!

        And how many times have I heard “do not forsake the assembly!” as an excuse for settling for lukewarm zombie feminized churches?!?

        That’s why I no longer “forsake the assembly” – instead I stand outside of these churches and call them to repentance and share the Gospel with them and engage in some form of apologetics with them in the hopes that some might be saved, and others might be sanctified – and goodness “Wake up, churches!”

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  5. “I asked them what the problem was, and it seems to be that when they were growing up, they often bullied into behaving like a Christian without being able to ask any questions about whether it was true.”

    You mentioned Joe Rogan on Facebook yesterday. Megan Phelps was on his show and said that this was the exact reason why she left the faith. Of course, if God was the way the Westboro Baptist “Church” says He is, who could blame her?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 👋 Hi! I’m a Christian and a millennial. Something also true about millennials is that most of us value authenticity (according to research), which likely means that those who profess to be Christians are very serious/authentic about it. Just a thought and something I’ve noticed with my peers.

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      1. Quilting is cool and I’d actually love to learn how! Nope, I mean quitting. As in, “I quit being a millennial and letting millennial stereotypes define me.” It’s a play on the stereotype that millennials are quitters and that we easily give up. I think we get a bad rep and my blog explores those stereotypes and the next year of my life as I try to explore them all.

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          1. It’s expensive. When I visit my parents, who are West Indian, I get avocado and cheese sandwiches as much as I want. But you know I would never pay $6 for that in a store.

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          2. Oh, okay. Because when we eat that kind of stuff (and we do) it’s made here in house. Food cooked at home is markedly less expensive made at home compared to if you went out to eat it.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Yes. Millennials have a reputation for buying it for $6 when they are still in school and running up student loan debt for a useless degree in victimology studies.

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