Exploring millennials’ faithlessness

Joy Pullmann writes for the Federalist about recent research into young American adults’ declining religious faith.

While conventional wisdom about young Americans’ increased faithlessness says many will come back to church when they marry and have kids, it’s likely many millennials will remain secular instead, suggests a recent study.

This is for three reasons, write Daniel Cox and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at FiveThirtyEight: Millennials’ parents taught them fewer religious practices, more have secular spouses than ever before, and young parents as a whole are less likely to believe they need to teach faith to their children. This means “there’s mounting evidence that today’s younger generations may be leaving religion for good,” the pair write.

The United States has seen a surge in people who claim no adherence to a religion, who are often called “nones.” A large part of this group comprises younger Americans. In 2018, American church membership hit an all-time low of approximately 50 percent, according to Gallup. …

… One of the top sources of people losing their religion is leftist politics. The December American Enterprise Institute study, which surveyed 2,561 people, found: “Democrats brought up in religious households are roughly three times more likely than Republicans to have left religion. Nearly one in four (23 percent) Democrats brought up in a religion no longer identify with a religious tradition, while only 8 percent of Republicans say the same.”

Although general skepticism seems to be the top reason cited, people who have left faith also indicate that politics, particularly sexual politics, is a major contributor to their apostasy. In 2018, 49 percent of nones told Pew they’re faithless because they don’t like religious teachings on social issues.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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