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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Recent study shows that millennials aren’t very religious

A study finds that not only is the U.S. becoming less religious, but also the millennial generation is far less religious than previous generations.

The Pew Research Center recently released the results of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, which found that there were modest drops in overall rates of belief in religious practice.

“I think Americans as a whole are losing their trust and faith in organized religion,” Kelly Bauer, director of the University Religious Council, said.

Bauer said he thinks that too often, people feel like they’ve been let down and this could be a reason why numbers are dropping.

The study, which was a follow-up to a survey on religion in America conducted in 2007, found that there were modest percentage drops in the number of people who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services.

There was also an 8 percent drop from 71 percent to 63 percent of adults who say they are religious affiliated.

Corey Wegwart, a religious studies senior and intern at the Episcopal Campus Ministry, said that it’s a growing phenomenon among millennials.

The study found that 27 percent of millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis. Four out of 10 say they pray every day, half of millennials surveyed say that they believe in God with absolute certainty and four out of ten say religion is very important in their lives.

“Colleges, in general, are interesting to look at and are a little world in of itself,” Bauer said. “College students, in my own personal opinion, have a much higher tendency to be very analytically and critically sensitive at that period in their lives.”

Bauer said he’s not worried about the numbers and doesn’t think the UA has any obligation to address this problem, but rather have the obligation to be respectful to any student that considers themselves as spiritual, religious or none of the above.

He also said the university has been nothing but supportive of the council and has always been very helpful and wanting to get their perspective.

Wegwart said he’s not worried about the survey results, and it’s like every other reported story in the way that you hear about corruption in other fields.

“It’s like every other reported story; you don’t hear about the congressman with integrity, but you hear about the corrupt politician,” Wegwart said. “You never hear about all the planes that land safely but you hear about all the planes that crash, and that religion is being depicted as something that is antipathetical,”

Wegwart said that the ECM and other churches are currently working on creating a sage religious environment here on campus.

“My purpose is to purify the poisoned well of religious discussion brought on campus by Brother Dean and others,” Wegwart said.

He said he believes there is not a meaningful debate going on, that there is a discourse about religion in very inaccurate and hurtful ways.

He said these drops have been occurring for ages, and there’s a profound misunderstanding of how religion works and that religion does not simply disappear, but it changes.

“Specifically what we are trying to do is create a space where one can be affirmed as both an individual and as a person of worth and dignity,” Wegwart said.

Wegwart said it’s easy for students to think religion would inhibit their ability to study or to learn, but the overall numbers don’t make him nervous.

“I see [the drops] as a positive thing because to me, that element of doubt is a very important aspect of religious life,” Wegwart said. “When people’s religion is so grounded in certainty and there’s no longer searching, then you sort of find this fundamentalism, which I think is turning millennials off.”


Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.


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