Millennials losing their religion
By Bob Allen
LifeWay Research found seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school quit attending by age 23. A third of those had not returned by age 30. That means about one-fourth of young Protestants have left the church.
The Barna Group says six in 10 young people will leave the church permanently or for an extended period starting at age 15.
The 2012 Millennial Values Survey, conducted jointly by the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, found college-age millennials are 30 percent more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated.
Millennials report lower levels of religious engagement across the board. Just one in four says he or she attends religious services at least once a week, while 43 percent say they seldom or never attend.
Nearly half of younger millennials still live with their parents, but those who live at home are no more likely to attend church than those who do not.
Experts say the trend away from organized religion dates back to the early 1990s. While there's nothing new about young adults drifting from the faith after they leave home until they marry and have children of their own, pollsters fear current trends signal more than sowing wild oats.
Millennials are leaving the faith at higher rates than ever before, and with many postponing life-changing events like career and marriage to later ages, more and more young adults are making choices with sometimes lifelong consequences largely devoid of religious influence.
Experts point to various reasons for the exodus. Conventional wisdom attributes the trend to moral compromise. Free from parental control, young adults adopt lifestyles they were taught were sinful. Unwilling to change and desiring to avoid feelings of guilt, they drop their faith commitment.
While that certainly is a factor, researchers suggest the picture is more complicated.
According to a 2010 Christianity Today article by Drew Dyck, many young people influenced by college professors and writings of the rash of New Atheist authors consider religion intellectually inferior to academic study.
Others have postmodern misgivings about hyper-logical apologetics such as C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity that were persuasive to earlier generations of young skeptics…
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