Millennials (people born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s) in America are leaving Christian churches in droves.
According to an April 2012 Public Religion Research Institute poll:
One-quarter [25 percent of millennials] currently identify as unaffiliated. Fewer than one-quarter [23 percent] believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. About 1-in-4 [26 percent] believe Bible is the word of God, but that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. Roughly 4-in-10 [37 percent] say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.
Rachel Evans, a Christian writer and blogger at RachelHeldEvans.com, and Hemant Mehta, author of The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide and editor of Friendly Atheist, appeared on CNN on Sunday to give their theories as to why young people are fleeing the church (video below).
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“I think there’s this assumption among a lot of Christian leaders that, you know, if we bring in some hipper worship bands and a coffee shop in the fellowship hall and maybe a pastor who wears skinny jeans young adults will come flocking back to the church," Evans said. "Clearly, that’s not working. According to the Barna group, 59 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 29, with a Christian background have actually dropped out of church. Not all of these young adults are flocking to atheism. In fact, most still identify as Christians, still identify as people of faith, but they're not going to church anymore... They're not looking for a hipper version of Christianity, but a more traditional faith.”
Mehta added that some millennials, not all, are finding their answers in atheism because of the "anti-gay, anti-doubt, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-sex education" stands of the church.
“Like Rachel said, not all the millennials who are leaving church are necessarily flocking to atheism," Mehta said. "But if you ask young people, if you ask millennials what comes to mind when they think of Christianity, when they think of the church, they will tell you it’s 'anti-gay, anti-doubt, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-sex education.' We all know what the church is against, and we really don’t care what the church is for when you have that much baggage. For a lot of young people, they want to get away from the church. And more importantly though, as atheists, we're kind of bringing them along. We like exposing the church for all the bad things it does and we say, 'look we have reason on our side.'"