- Published on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 07:19
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2562
It's not that young people reject religion, they just don't care; they don't think it's relevant and certainly not important. This is certainly true of the 300 young British people interviewed for a recent survey for a new book The Faith of Generation Y which focused on generation Y - those born after 1982. Its authors included Christopher Cocksworth, the Bishop of Coventry and it was published by the Church of England. If you know anything about Churches in England (and Canada and Australia for that matter), you'll know that church attendance is dropping fast - especially in mainstream churches like the C of E. So it's no surprise that "management" at the Church of England are trying to find out why and are worried about where parishioners will come from in the coming decades. For starters, the 2001 U.K. census found that only 62 per cent of young Britons still call themselves Christian and only 40% of children are being baptised into a faith.
Some key points from the study:
- For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living.
- Results show that less than one in five young people believes in a God "who created the world and hears my prayers".
- Most adolescents were more likely to believe in the "nicer" parts of religious doctrine than the devil and punishment.
- Many youngsters today were not looking for answers to "ultimate questions".
- For most, religious observance stretched as far as praying in their bedrooms during moments of crisis on a "need-to-believe basis".
- Authors found that for most teenagers today the definitions have changed with a "secular trinity of family, friends and the reflexive self" that gives them an "immanent faith" based on relationships in this world.
- There was no hostility towards religion as such among the age group, the study found. as "fewer and fewer young people are being brought up in households with religiously inclined parents". But the analysis said that teenagers and people in their 20s are not the rebels of the 1960s and 70s - the so-called Generation X - who rejected both their parents and Christianity, and were hostile to the Church.
- Pop songs were played at funeral memorial services ''because the young congregation did not know any hymns''.
One of the authors of the study, Sylvia Collins-Mayo, said: "For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions and showed little sign of 'pick and mix' spirituality. On the rare occasions when a religious perspective was required (for example, coping with family illnesses or bereavements) they often 'made do' with a very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else. In this respect they would sometimes pray in their bedrooms. What is salutary for the Church is that, generally, young people seemed quite content with this situation, happy to get by with what little they knew about the Christian faith."
When asked, "Which one of the following statements comes closest to your belief about God?", infrequent churchgoers in the study answered: "I believe in a God who is someone I can know personally" (23%); "I believe in some sort of Higher Power or life force but not in a personal God" (22%); "I don't really know what to think" (43%); "I don't think there is any sort of God, Higher Power or Life Force" (12%). Of course, they gave these answers only because they were asked the question - these are not issues that generally exercise them.
Is there hope for a more rational future?