Why are Young People Leaving Religion?

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According to the latest data from Pew Forum on Religion, one in five US adults have no religion affiliation, while that figure rises one in three young adults who consider themselves part of the “nones.”  Nones are now a group that encompass atheists, agnostics, skeptics and open theists.

One in three!!! These are staggering statistics!

At the same time, NPR published an interview with six young people who have abandoned their religion, and I will paste some highlights here:

Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an “agnostic bent.” She loves going to synagogue.

“I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don’t think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with.”

Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn’t believe

“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”

Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says “Salvation from the cross” in Latin.

“It’s a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, ‘Oh, you’re a Christian,’ and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, ‘What does that mean?’ and it’s like, “It’s Latin for ‘I made a mistake when I was 18.’

“I don’t [believe in God] but I really want to.

“I think having a God would create a meaning for our lives, like we’re working toward a purpose — and it’s all worthwhile because at the end of the day we will maybe move on to another life where everything is beautiful. I love that idea.”

Melissa Adelman, 30, raised Catholic

“I remember a theology test in eighth grade where there was a question about homosexuality, and the right answer was that if you are homosexual, then that is not a sin because that’s how God made you, but acting upon it would be a sin. That’s what I put down as the answer, but I vividly remember thinking to myself that was not the right answer.”

Rigoberto Perez, 30, raised as Seventh-day Adventist

“While I was younger, my father drank a lot. There was abuse in the home. My brother committed suicide in 2001. So at some point you start to say, ‘Why does all this stuff happen to people?’ And if I pray and nothing good happens, is that supposed to be I’m being tried? I find that almost kind of cruel in some ways. It’s like burning ants with a magnifying glass. Eventually that gets just too hard to believe anymore.”

Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.

“I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that’s where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else.”

*******

What do all these young people have in common?  Their answers prove how ineffective formal religion is at addressing their need for a Savior.  They have all been exposed to empty religious practice which can never save.  Even the four who had contact with Christianity do not mention the center of Christianity: Jesus Christ.

Everything in their universe is focused on themselves.  They are the authors of their future and no one will stand in their way.

They have tried to find answers in religion and they could not.  Now they will attempt to find answers in the philosophy, meditation, and human wisdom.  They will fail with these as well…

Until they find “the folly” of the cross, and the Savior who was crucified on it.

1 Corinthians 1:21-25 “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

6 comments on “Why are Young People Leaving Religion?

  1. Religions were\are authored by human beings to control other human beings. They have nothing to do with God. It is therefore no wonder that people become disillusioned with them and leave.

    God, a label we assign to the Creator of the Universe, reveals themself(-ves) in the most simple and elegant way possible.

    We exist.

    • Thanks for the visit.

      Well said on religion on empty religious practice.

      I am a Christian so I take the Bible as the Word of God. We call that general revelation, and Romans 1 as well as many other passages in the Bible talk about it. The interesting thing is that the elegance and beauty of the general revelation is not enough to bring someone to salvation.

      Creation, including our existence, is evidence for our Creator but complete and final revelation has been given to us through Jesus Christ in the Bible. Only faith in Him can adequately address our fallen nature and bring us redemption.

  2. It’s really sad that society doesn’t acknowledge the spiritual element anymore or even seeks to deny it. we are 3 parts human beings–spiritual mental physical and denying one part leads to an incomplete existence. I am astonded by the number of people I run into who have some kind of experience maybe a family member who’s tried to commit suicide and even in their hopelessness they don’t even acknowledge a possibility that faith might be a solution. The number of young people I see growing up a moral is really frightening.

    • I am observing the same patterns among those without faith… people are trying anything but faith during times of adversity… But the Word of God is clear that we cannot seek God or meaning of life or true spirituality through human wisdom. The answer comes down to a ridiculous thing… a foolish thing… the “folly” of the cross.

  3. Their answers prove how ineffective formal religion is but in the same time their answers prove missing of “the salt” around them. Jesus state that WE, THE CHURCH, ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH (Matthew 5:13) and “earth” here does not mean our planet, the land, but humanity. We are (or suppose to be) the salt of humanity. What the salt do? First, the salt HOLD BACK or prevent decay. Like salt preventing food from spoiling or going rotten so we, the Church, empowered by the Spirit suppose to act like barrier between the word of men and complete decay, complete rottenness, complete destruction. God has chosen the Church to be the line of defense against Satan and all evil. Second, the salt PROMOTE LIFE AND GROWTH, function as a fertilizer. Through us, the Church, the word of men suppose to hear the Gospel of grace and salvation.

    Whose fault is that meat rots? There is no sense in blaming the meat when salt is missing and the bacteria are allowed to breed. Where is the salt?

    Whose fault is that people leave religion and lose faith? If society becomes stinking like a death fish,there’s no sense in blaming society. That’s what happens when fallen human society is left to itself and human evil is unrestrained. Where is the Church?

    Salt does nothing to salt. Salt only acts on things that are not salt…..on things that are different from salt. God’s people need to be different from the word to live and function as salt. If not, we are not salt anymore…..

    To be effective the salt need to be REMOVED from the box and BE IN CONTACT with another composition…..salt in the box do not do the work.

    To be effective the Church need to come OUT FROM THE BOX!!! Today, the church (with “c” not “C”) act like a sealed box keeping the salt inside and protecting (????) the salt ….from “meat”????? To change the word we need to be in CONTACT with the word!!! But we prefer to sit quietly in the box, between our walls, singing for ourselves, preaching for ourselves but forgetting that salt has no effect on salt!

    • Yes, Cornel. Big difference between the two churches. The one with the “C” the authentic body of Christ and the “c” the worldly body we view as church.

      Now, the thrust of your idea is that the Church could be more effective at preventing the degeneration that current society is going through.

      That is true to a certain extent. I certainly believe that the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit is currently preventing a major, hideous, nefarious manifestation of the ruler of this age in society. But we also have to remember that the evil we see in society has to get worse because that’s what Jesus and the Apostles taught us.

      Things have to get worse as we come to the end of this age. And I do believe we are getting close. God have mercy on us.

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