Writers Daniel Cox and Amelia Thomason for their 2019 FiveThirtyEight article wrote about how millennials (ages 25-38) are leaving religion and not coming back. “Four in ten millennials now say they are religiously unaffiliated…it wasn’t clear whether this youthful defection from religion would be temporary or permanent…but there’s mounting evidence that today’s younger generations may be leaving religion for good.”
Take a step and unpack the phenomenon of leaving religion. Why is this such an issue worth reporting on?
Historically, religion and the church as played a huge role in the human culture, especially within the Black community. Most millennials were born approximately between the years of 1980-1994 and have come of age during the turn of the century and the new millennium. Millennials have been a witness of religious terrorism, financial strain, and changing views of marriage and children.
So why is it that they would want to rethink or even leave religion?
Cox and Thomason argue that perhaps a personal renaissance happens later in adulthood. “Social science research has long suggested that Americans’ relationship with religion has a tidal quality-people who were raised religious find themselves drifting away as young adults, only to be drawn back in when they find spouses and begin to raise their own families.” Often time, children are instilled with religious values of their family and when they come of age, they envision and redefine their own values.
Naturally, their religion would look a little different from that of their parents.
Often, a difference of views may create an atmosphere of tension and resentment when it comes to young people and religion. Perhaps, young people move away from religion out of fear of not fitting in. Perhaps it’s the fear of not living up to the preconceived rules of living. Perhaps it’s the lack of understanding on one’s own.