Friday, October 7, 2016

Young People Leaving Organized Religion-The Perfect Modern Storm

Sadly, according to a new study, a quarter of Americans do not belong to any religion and many of them are young people. The Public Religion Research Institute published a study recently entitled, "Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion-And Why They're Unlikely To Come Back."
The study shows that Americans are increasingly identifying as being "nones." Nearly 40 percent of those are between the ages of 18-29. More disturbing is that fact that the Catholic Church has the most that are leaving.
I've been suspicious for awhile that part of the problem is modern technology. Of course there is a lot that is good about modern technology and I certainly use it everyday and find it helpful and necessary. But I keep it in perspective and use it as a tool for study and learning as well as a way to communicate. But I suspect that because young people are constantly checking their Facebook page, their e-mails, text messages, Instagram, Twitter accounts etc., it is very time consuming.
In a NY Times article today titled, "Intimacy For the Avoidant," it quotes a British study which reported people check their phones on an average of 221 times a day-about every 4.3 minutes. I assume that's true though its hard to believe and I'm sure that number is higher for young people. How can there be time for reflection on life's big questions? How can there be time for God? Or time for prayer? Is the need for  God being replaced by cell phones, gadgets and computers. I'd hate to know the real answer to those questions. It's a bit scary.
As David Brooks wrote in the article, "A decade ago almost no one had a smartphone. Now the average American spends five and a half hours a day with digital media and the young spend far more time. A study of female students at Baylor University found that they spent 10 hours a day on their phones."
At a recent prayer group meeting, someone asked, "If people don't have a prayer life, what can they hold onto to? I replied, "Their iphones." We all laughed but there is some sad truth to it.

UPDATED on Saturday morning..... I realized the above entry is too might be true to some extent but....Christians must always have a positive view.... we must have Christian hope....... and know in the words of Julian of Norwich that "All will be well." We should pray for young people that they will come to know the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ and how it enriches one's life!