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Millennial Generation challenges religion in America

The Millennial Generation believes in God, but is even less interested in organized religion than were baby boomers or Generation X in their youth. Religions in America may be able to attract Millennials by appealing to their values, especially volunteering and service.

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While most religions believe their doctrines and practices to be eternal verities, all denominations, like other institutions, must continually enlist and renew the commitment of each new generation if they are to survive and carry on their work. At perhaps no other time in the nation's history has this task been more challenging for America's religious faiths than it is now.

It is not that the country's newest generation of young adults, the Millennial Generation, rejects the spiritual values that deeply permeate the nation's culture.

Americans, to a greater extent than those who live in other Western countries, believe in God (in numbers ranging from two-thirds to 80 percent depending on how pollsters ask the question). Millennials, born in the years 1982 through 2003, fully share this belief with older generations, according to the Pew Research Center. Two-thirds of Millennials (64 percent) are certain God exists.

In spite of these beliefs, however, a large majority of Millennials (72 percent) describe themselves as "more spiritual than religious," according to a LifeWay Christian Resources survey.

Millennials are significantly less likely than older Americans to be members of a specific denomination or to participate in traditional religious rituals. About 1 in 5 Millennials (18 percent) has left the denomination of their childhood and a quarter of them are completely unaffiliated with any denomination. Millennials are also less likely than older generations to attend religious services weekly or to read Scripture, pray, and meditate regularly.


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