Christianity is the most common religion in the world. However, more young people are leaving organized religion and, most notably, Christianity. Millennials are especially prevalent in the abandonment of religion.
Millennials have already reshaped many cultural touchstones, such as the nuclear family, dating, and the workplace. They are increasingly becoming child-free; they are now polyamorous, mainstreaming consensual nonmonogamy and changing how offices operate. Young people are pushing for a better work-life balance, and there is a growing disillusion with capitalism. But now, more young people who grew up as Christians have no religious affiliation.
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What causes the migration from Christianity?
Many young people who were raised religiously eventually stopped engaging in organized religion. In some instances, they are only Christians because of the indoctrination they were subjected to growing up. When independent in university, they abandon religious education and pursue different spiritual enlightenment.
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In other cases, millennials opposed the church’s views and ideologies, which are inherently problematic. Many people leave the church due to the institution’s various scandals and human rights violations. The Catholic Church is involved in multiple abuse scandals and cover-ups where priests assaulted thousands of young boys and nuns. It’s also involved in a lot of anti-vaccination rhetoric in many countries. In addition, the church has been known to dehumanize single mothers while excusing the behaviour of abusive church leaders. Churches are also responsible for the most virulent anti-LGBTQ world views. The church is considered sexist, homophobic, and regressive. As a result, many millennials can’t align their values with what the church promotes.
Many millennials also grow a social consciousness where morality isn’t inherently tied to religion. They grow an ability to think for themselves that don’t rely on spiritual guidance to have moral values. Secularism becomes more attractive because it doesn’t require rituals and accommodating opposing views.
Some millennials have also given up on Christianity because of the lack of answers. Christianity relies heavily on dogma, and for a generation that grew up with the internet, the lack of answers makes organised religion unattractive. Some churches insist that their congregation believes only in the Bible, debunked by science, such as in the creation of the universe or evolution. Growing up in a church that doesn’t embrace science makes it difficult to remain in the flock when you know facts differ from what the leaders preach.
The parents of millennials were also less forceful about religion than their parents. Millennials’ parents were more likely to make their children focus on school and growing their value in a capitalistic society.
Are young people likely to go back to religion?
Younger generations are also embracing spirituality over organised religion. They prefer practices that give them peace and well-being rather than the church. Practices like witchcraft and astrology are becoming more popular. Young people are also becoming influencers providing tarot readings or Wiccan services online where they feel connected to nature and the universe.
People who used to identify as Christians who are now atheists or agnostics are unlikely to go back to the Church. However, those who became lax in practising Christianity can often go back into the fold when they marry a practising spouse.
Religion and politics are becoming increasingly intertwined. Reports show that young people are also leaving Islam for secularism. Studies show that more people are embracing atheism because it’s nonconformist. It embraces human rights and holds nonbinary morals. As young people continue to question the role of religion in their lives and the institutions fail to meet modern moral standards, the exodus will continue.
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