Millennials, as well as Generation Z, are starting to find themselves searching the universe, instead of God. In 2015, Pew Research Center found that 35% of Millennials identified themselves as religious “nones”. This comes largely with the shift in how the younger generation communicates.
The Communication Shift: Always Connected
Millennials have growing up in an era where they are always connected. From MySpace and AOL to now a litany of social networks and ways to communicate real time, information- and everyone they care about- are just a few clicks away.
“Spiritual, but not religious.”
Millennials are less attached to organized religion that previous generations. However, Pew Research Center found that 80% of Millennials believe in God.
“A lot of people are disaffiliating from the religion they were raised [with] primarily for political reasons,” said Melissa Wilde, a religious sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. “They see their faith as much more conservative than they are.”
Perceived political entanglement of religion is a large contributing factor, specifically in Christianity. Stereotypes play a large role in this, participation in Christianity is seen as more conservative which can be controversial for younger generations.
Choosing a Path
Consumer Capitalism is driven by choice. Young people tend to resist systems that are authoritative and restrict their lifestyle. What we consume constructs our identity, from the books we read, to the bands we listen to, to the clothing we wear. Our social interactions largely rely on these things. We spend time with people who choose to consume the same things we do.
The Millennial approach to spirituality tends to be about choosing and consuming different pieces of religion, like yoga, meditation, or prayer- instead of belonging to a congregation.
Before technology, individuals were limited to the groups they interacted with, meaning they might have had a few choices to pick from. Today, information- and people- are right at the tips of our fingers. You can learn about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Pagan beliefs, and more from the comfort of your couch. Further, you’re able to practice utilizing resources available online. You can watch live streamed sermons, read bible verses, and interact with others doing the same.
Younger generations have access to much more information than in the past. There has also been a shift in ways they consume products and media. Combined, these factors create a new way Millennials interact with religion. While still spiritual, they are largely turning away from congregations and opting to piece together different practices.