Young Americans are continually defining what it means to be a citizen of the world. As technologies advance daily, one of the world’s oldest traditions — religion — is falling behind.
In a new Pew Research Center study, 32 percent of Jewish American millennials, those born after 1980, do not define themselves as a part of the Jewish religion. This is in stark contrast to the 7 percent of the “Greatest Generation,” born between 1914 and 1927, who considered themselves unaffiliated with Judaism.
Younger Jewish Americans tend to identify with the cultural aspect and the strife the Jewish people have encountered over thousands of years but do not necessarily follow the religious traditions.
The Jewish American’s collective loss in religious identity is a snapshot of a generational shift: Church affiliation is becoming obsolete.
Hard-line stances and unwavering belief systems are the primary contributing factors to misgiving about churches and religious institutions.
Most Millennials were raised with a greater sense of equality and condemn real or perceived discrimination, more so than our older counterparts.
Overwhelmingly, Millennials support gay marriage, while our aging parents and grandparents do not. At the same time, many churches have been unable to completely change their mindset on the same issue.
Pope Francis has led many skeptical young Catholics back to the church; however, his efforts will likely prove to be too little too late.
Pope Francis’s focus on youth and women showcases the lapses over generations the Catholic Church has experienced.
A Pew Research survey show that Millennials are less likely to be Christian than any other age group. They also tend to be less fervent in religion and more likely to claim no affiliation to a church.
I was raised in a household with a Baptist mother and a Lutheran father, but religion was never emphasized to any great significance in my home.Thus, through my experience, I do not claim any religious affiliation and at times would consider myself more along the lines of an agnostic.
I do not necessarily believe that faith has been lost in our generation, as some may lament. I do, however, believe we find our religious experience without the inflexible guidelines and hypocrisy religious institutions sometimes promote.
Most individuals want to believe in a greater power and embrace the idea at the end of our lives our loved ones will be waiting for us. But how do we juxtapose these desires with our moral compasses that the Old and New Testament and Quran contradict? How do we become good Christians, Jews, Hindus or Muslims without following the religion word for word?
Churches need to rid themselves of outdated concepts and adapt to the technological age around them to become appealing to millennials.
If our generation ever returns to churches, it will have to be after a period of radical transformation of the bases in the organization. Until then, most churches will witness their membership decline, as in the case of the American Jewish synagogues.
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