The Pew Research Center released a report on the religious preferences of Americans.  I thought two things are worth noting from the article.  First, the Millennial generation (defined as individuals born in 1981 or after) show a relatively high number of individuals who are unaffiliated with any religion (26%).  That generation is approximately 6% higher than people classified as Generation X and 13% higher than Baby Boomers.  Furthermore, Millennials attend religious services less often than their elders.  It is important that the Millennial generation shows higher rates than previous generations at the same point in their life cycle.  However, the article contrasts these observations by noting that the beliefs of Millennials are approximately the same as Generation Xers.  For example, the article states that “belief in God is lower among young adults than among older adults, [but] Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty at rates similar to those seen among Gen Xers a decade ago.”  The article also characterized Millennials as generally more accepting of homosexuality and evolutionary accounts of origins.  Certainly skeptics of all stripes will tout these figures with glee.  I don’t think these findings are particularly surprising.  Religious belief has been eroding in America for some time, and I think this is in part due to Christians pulling out of the public square.

The second observation is that the Millenial generation shows a higher tolerance toward civic engagement by religious organizations.  The report states that “Millennials are no less convinced than their elders that there are absolute standards of right and wrong.  And they are slightly more supportive than their elders of government efforts to protect morality, as well as somewhat more comfortable with involvement in politics by churches and other houses of worship.”  It is not clear how individuals who do not affiliate themselves with a religion ground their morality.  I realize that they attempt to base morality off a subjective foundation; however, I contend that those attempts are doomed to failure.  An objective standard is required for there to be any form of morality that is binding.  That is, objectivity is required to bridge the “is” to “ought” gap in morality.  Furthermore, the notion that Millenneials are more accepting of involvement of religious organizations in public policy debates is certainly encouraging.  Perhaps this generation will be more receptive to a Christian voice in public debates than previous ones?

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