ViewPoint: Youths and Religion
It is now obvious that most youths no longer have affinity for the things of God. They don’t feel the need to draw closer to God and some tend to even abandon the faith completely, embracing atheism or even apatheism.
If you are reading this blog for the first time, welcome. Let me tell you a little bit about ViewPoint. ViewPoint is a blog series that is featured every first Monday of the month. It brings together the opinions or “viewpoints” of people on subject matters. Basically I would ask some people their thoughts on a particular issue or matter and compile them for you all to see. The aim of this is to realize how people think and to appreciate the diversity of thoughts. Click here for previous series of ViewPoint.
Now that you know what ViewPoint is about, let’s get into the subject at hand.
According to a research by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), “Most Americans who leave their childhood religious identity to become unaffiliated generally do so before they reach their 18th birthday. More than six in ten (62%) religiously unaffiliated Americans who were raised in a religion say they abandoned their childhood religion before they turned 18. About three in ten (28%) say they were between the ages of 18 and 29. Only five percent say they stopped identifying with their childhood religion between the ages of 30 and 49, and just two percent say age 50 or older.”
It seems like as the years go by, it is becoming worse. This is due to a lot of factors. These include family dynamics and religious disaffiliation such as divorce, religiously mixed households, secular spouses. Also people tend to question things, they have doubts about God and these things make them withdraw from the things of God.
In the article by PRRI, the religious unaffiliated fall into 3 subgroups. these are the rejectionists, apatheists and unattached believers. The rejectionists are those that say religion is not important in their lives and believe religion as a whole does more harm than good in society. The apatheists say religion is not personally important to them but believe it generally is more socially helpful than harmful. The unattached believers believe religion is important to them.
Permit me to add the “Under the Umbrella of religion” type. These ones are those that say they are Christians, or Muslims and so on but they don’t behave like one, so it’s more like a generic thing. Most of the people in this category grew up in a religious home but along the way, developed an indifference to religion but still recognize that there is a God.
Now, to people’s opinion about the matter, I asked 9 people a question on the said topic.
Question: Why do youths seem not to be interested or involved in religious activities or things of God?
The following are the answers I got. The participants still remain anonymous.
“In my opinion, the teens and youth of today are attracted to the things of the world than they are to the things of God because of two distinct reasons. One of which is freedom.
Being a Christian restricts or confines one to just one path — the right/righteous path. Now, the Bible contains over a thousand rules, codes, and principles we’re all expected to live by as Christians, and if there’s one thing the youth of this rebellious age hate and can’t stand, it’s “rules”. They want to feel, live and be treated like adults, so, they do their best to steer clear of anything or anyone that threatens their freedom, or dictates to them, constantly chiding them on why they should or shouldn’t do this or that.
Another reason why I think today’s youth don’t partake wholly in the things of God is pleasure. You’d hardly see a teen (or youth) squeal the way he does when invited to play a video game, when he’s asked to go to church, or to go evangelise.
Simply put, drinking, partying, clubbing, er… pornography, and addictedness to video games, all promise great pleasure — to the flesh, never the spirit. And our youth that’s dead — or close to dead — in the things of the spirit know they can’t really find joy in the things of the spirit, so they fully delve into the things of the world. That’s what I think.”
“Because it’s the time of change. So many new distractions are taking over the world. It’s almost like the technology age issue. Kids don’t have joy in reading again or anything that’s hard. Making life appear easy has made us fall into so many things. E.g. live streaming of gospel messages but we don’t even focus when on those atimes etc.”
“That’s a very interesting question. I was born into a Muslim home and no matter how hard your parents force you to pray (mine didn’t) you have to first create your own relationship with God. So basically, I think it’s because a lot of youths don’t have a personal relationship with God. They just go to church or mosque with the family.
I have a friend that became a Christian because in her words “it’s easier”. It was disappointing cause no religion is easy. Even in relationships you put in work to get to know your partner, what’s stopping you from doing that with God himself. A lot of youths are not ready to put in work to know God.”
“They’re not interested or involved mostly because the things of God hinders them from pursuing their canal desires. And they have the mind-set of “if I don’t live life to the fullest now while I’m young, I’ll look back on my life in regret when I’m older”.”
“Mostly I feel cause most youths easily feel inferior and want to be like the “CROWD” and also as Africans will say most youths have longer throat.. We youth don’t appreciate what we have and we always wants more which makes us pull away from the important stuff which includes being spiritual (involved in God’s activities) just so we can gain worldly stuff.”
“I feel that it’s not that the youths are not interested in religious activities, it’s more like they don’t see what to be interested in…
- If you’re running a youth ministry, you need to have humour. Humour doesn’t necessarily mean to crack jokes around, while that is a part of it, it also means to relate with someone with a language that appeals to that person. That’s why you see many youths in relationship seminars and less in prayer sessions.
- It’s about how they view the kingdom. Maybe they don’t see what should make them so involved. They may not have caught the revelation that the older ones have. They still may not have understanding of kingdom principles, and therefore do not strive to engage in kingdom activities.”
“Youths seem not to be interested or involved in religious activities in recent times because most of them are gradually becoming irreligious or apatheistic.
So the bigger question is why? What could have caused this turn of tables?
Many youths now consider some spiritual things scandalous or over exaggerating. For instance, they say humans can survive without religion but religion cannot thrive without humans.
Also, the problem youths might have with religion is how to reconcile their personal struggles with religious laws that just won’t fit their decade (time zone).
Youths might have decided to show little to less interest since the new generation are soldiers of thinkers. Unlike some previous dogmas that were swallowed like a pill, religion is now questioned by many…
“Does God really want this? Or it’s just humans saying ‘he’ does?””
“I believe there is a foundation to every built up character. Many youths have a wrong foundation right from their homes. Depending on whatever religion one might belong to, the rules are different. Religion comes with rules and for me, am part of the youths not interested in religious activities – especially when it is defined by a particular sect. But when the mind-set of a relationship built in the youths, then a personal orientation is developed in the process of relating with the Supreme Being – God.
That’s why I prefer Christianity to any other belief system. So far, it’s only Christians that know their God as father – no other sect dares call their supreme being Father.
Religion creates a Gap that needs one to qualify on certain things to have access. Youths like me who fall short a times get tired. But when I understand my God as a father, like the prodigal son, I never get tired of being involved in a relationship with Him. It’s all about the mind-set.”
“Not everyone is really interested and most times when we get involved…. Our parents made us, our friends were doing it and all.
We haven’t overcome “SELF”. We casually know Jesus, not that we’ve really experienced him. We tag the things of God as “boring” and let the devil have his way saying we’re not capable and he instils fear into our hearts. We say we don’t have time and procrastinate and say we’ll get involved some other time. We fail to realize that God created us for service to Him.
If only we truly know God, there’s nothing boring about Him and we won’t give the devil a chance. If only we’ll not be lazy and make the things of God a priority. If only we’ll let God take charge, there’s so many fun things to explore about Him. If only we have His Spirit and let Him flow.
It pays to serve God, not just be involved religious activities cause in the end, service to God is what really matters.”
These 9 people have given their thoughts on the subject matter. I’d love to hear yours.
Join the discussion!
Why do youths seem not to be interested or involved in religious activities or things of God? Do you think they are not interested? What are your thoughts generally?
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Jones, Robert P., Daniel Cox, Betsy Cooper, and Rachel Lienesch. “Exodus: Why Americans Are Leaving Religion – and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back.” PRRI. 2016. http://www.prri.org/research/prri-rns-poll-nones-atheist-leaving-religion/
28 thoughts on “ViewPoint: Youths and Religion”
??Interesting Convo. I expect a follow through
Thank you Deshi!
Please pardon my illiteracy, what do you mean by a follow through?
Sorry I meant follow up
Hmm… A follow up, lemme think about it. Thanks dear
Wonderful responses from the participants and I really like what no9 participant said… We haven’t overcome “SELF”. We casually know Jesus, not that we’ve really experienced him. We tag the things of God as “boring”
Many youth of these days are impatient and want everything in a hurry and it shows that we are still being controlled by our flesh, we lost after material things and the bible said that if a man loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.
Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.
Thank you Dynaxty. Thank you for your contribution. You are right about our flesh controlling us. If we are able to overcome that, I believe we will take the things of God more seriously.
I think this is a great post about why the youth don’t want to be involved in the church. And based on the statements you can almost tell which ones are from the other generations and which ones that may be a youth themselves.
This is a great topic about why the youth don’t want to be involved in the church. And some of the statements there you can almost tell which one is from the older generation and the ones that cone from someone who may be a youth themselves or a little older.
Thank you dear. Funny enough, everyone that contributed is between the age bracket of 20 and 25, something I failed to mention in the post.
I feel many youths especially from highly religious homes see their faith as a burden. So, as soon as they are old enough or away from home they feel free to do whatever.
Some people are down as long as it isn’t enforced. I’ve seen a girl whose parents don’t go to church become super dedicated in the things of God and another with parents who hold key positions in their church become “something else” in our first week in the university.
So it’s something parents should inculcate in children: teaching them to know and love God for themselves not for the fear of hell or cus of their position in their religious association.
That’s true about the highly religious home. It’s more like dos and don’t, instead of emphasizing on having a relationship with God that would guide one.
Thank you for your input ?
This is such a great idea. For me, I think the reason why youths are not as interested or involved in religion is because of family or peer pressure from friends who aren’t religious.
Sometimes, the world we live in can bind us and make us focus on the things of friends over relationships and this can lead some youths to desert religion. The World can sometimes make us focus on having friends and being accepted and compromise our values for whichever religion.
Peer pressure. People tend to focus on being accepted, so it’s more like pleasing people, so they join them.
Thank you for this angle and thanks for contributing.
I LOVE reading these posts, they’re so interesting! Keep it up!
Thanks dear, I appreciate the comment ?
Plot twist : the problem has always been the same and increasing numbers only mean increasing population.
Another plot twist : Maybe it’s the way God is sold to us . Not Us being the problem.
The oldest disciple was 24 years old most were 15- 18.
What kept them . And why are we fleeing
Hmm… You could be right about the problem always being the same but increasing population.
And concerning the second plot twist, I think the disciples stayed because they caught a revelation of Jesus for themselves, so it made them understand what salvation entails. Right now, not too many have experienced God for themselves. They mostly hear of Him, go to church because it’s “mandatory” and so on.
It could also be the way God is sold to us like you said.
Thank you for your contribution dear. I appreciate it ?
This was an interesting read.
With how the world has progressed I think the Only sight common for the youths is the evolution of music. From where I stand, religious growth has declined because most churches focus on building the church capacity and not the youth or the other memebers individually.
See, when people say “have a relationship with God”, I believe it’s easier said. For such to happen you need to grow in understanding of what it entails to keep a spiritual relationship and all the likes. You may not learn all that by yourself. You need to be amongst spiritually mature people or be around godly people and tapping from their errors and wisdom. It’s not about going for sermons on Sundays or whatnot.
Churches are lacking that, creating programs or time for youths to spend learning the word. And since the world is already winning in that, giving more music and more entertaining programs, why not go with the flow
Most churches do focus on building capacity than not member development. I like your points. Churches need to create programs and activities that help impart the word into youths.
Everyone has a part to play. The church, the home and even the individual.
Thank you for your input ?
Hi Pearl, interesting responses. I agree with anonymous 3. Many of us today don’t have a personal relationship with God. We follow our parents to church and answer the name “I’m a Christian”. We are down for anything as long as it’s profitable. We could care less what any religious person says. In our own words they are “Old school”. It’s really sad.
Yea, we have not experienced God for ourselves, that’s why we can care less about Him and even doubting His existence. Thanks Whitney for your contribution.
You are most welcome.
A synthesis of the reasons why Youths are not serious with religionnor suffer a quick disconnect, and a close up and what should be done to make religion – thus time around, Christianity – an exciting buy in for the Youths will provide the church a sure resource material for running a better Youth Church. This is a project that the church has would find beneficial going forward. Expecting research stunt.