October 12, 2007

New Generation Unhappy With Christianity

According to a recent study by The Barna Group in which 16-29 year-olds were surveyed, the reputation of Christianity has declined considerably in just a decade. This finding holds for both non-Christian and Christian youth. Evidently, young people are increasingly skeptical of this ancient religion. Excellent news if you ask me.

This article is worth a read, but here are some highlights:
  • "16- to 29-year-olds exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life."
  • "...today’s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation..."
  • "...91% of the nation’s evangelicals believe that 'Americans are becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.'"
  • "Common negative perceptions [of Christianity by non-Christians] include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) - representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians. The most common favorable perceptions were that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%)."
  • "Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality."
The authors of the study say that one of many reasons for these trends involves the rise of atheism (hurray!). Perhaps we aren't completely irrelevant after all!
One reason that Christianity’s image is changing is due to the shifting faith allegiances of Americans. Simply put, each new generation has a larger share of people who are not Christians (that is, atheists, agnostics, people associated with another faith, or those who have essentially no faith orientation).
For more, see Daily BBG and Ornicus.

H/T to Daily BBG for bringing my attention to this intriguing study.

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