The Church and 20-Somethings

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell recently wrote an op-ed piece in the LA Times entitled Walking Away from the Church. The piece deals with “Organized religion’s increasing identification with conservative politics is a turnoff to more and more young adults. Evangelical Protestantism has been hit hard by this development.”

Pulling from recent statistics, the authors state:

The most rapidly growing religious category today is composed of those Americans who say they have no religious affiliation. While middle-aged and older Americans continue to embrace organized religion, rapidly increasing numbers of young people are rejecting it.

This should not surprise anyone as the “Nones”, as they have been come to be known as, are gaining in numbers.  In 1990, about 8% of the population affiliated with no organized religious group.  In 2009, that number rose to 15%.  In 2010, that number is 17%.  According to the authors, within the twentysomethings, that number is more like 25-30%.  This is indeed a startling statistic.

The authors then ask what is the cause of this.

The surprising answer, according to a mounting body of evidence, is politics. Very few of these new “nones” actually call themselves atheists, and many have rather conventional beliefs about God and theology. But they have been alienated from organized religion by its increasingly conservative politics.

Is it possible that the conservative politics of Evangelical churches is part of the catalyst that is driving the younger generation away from the church or is there more going on here?  Is this, just one of many symptoms for a larger sickness in our church?

Give the full article a read.



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