From the very liberal Washington Post.
A growing tide of young Americans is drifting away from the religions of their childhood — and most of them are ending up in no religion at all.
One in four young adults choose “unaffiliated” when asked about their religion, according to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.
But most within this unaffiliated group — 55 percent — identified with a religious group when they were younger.
“These younger unaffiliated adults are very nonreligious,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director. “They demonstrate much lower levels of religiosity than we see in the general population,” including participation in religious rituals or worship services.
Some of them will return to their faiths as they age, “but there’s not a lot of evidence that most will come back,” added Cox, who said the trend away from organized religion dates back to the early 1990s.
The study of 2,013 Americans ages 18-24 focused on the younger end of the cohort commonly known as the “Millennials” or “Generation Y,” which generally includes young adults as old as 29. Interviews were conducted between March 7 and 20.
Across denominations, the net losses were uneven, with Catholics losing the highest proportion of childhood adherents — nearly 8 percent — followed by white mainline Protestant traditions, which lost 5 percent.
Among Catholics, whites were twice as likely as Hispanics to say they are no longer affiliated with the church.
White evangelical and black denominations fared better, with a net loss of about 1 percent. Non-Christian groups posted a modest 1 percent net increase in followers.
But the only group that saw significant growth between childhood and young adulthood was the unaffiliated — a jump from 11 percent to 25 percent.
And this is very interesting:
An overwhelming majority of white evangelical Protestants (68 percent) said they believe that some things are always wrong, compared to 49 percent of black Protestants, 45 percent of Catholics and 35 percent of the unaffiliated.
I’m a non-white evangelical Protestant, and I think that in general, evangelical Protestants are the ones who emphasize theology, apologetics and worldview integration the most. I think that any other church that wants to stop the losses will have to get serious about apologetics and worldview. It’s especially important for churches to emphasize that Christianity is about truth, to emphasize how we know it’s true (science, history) and to explain why some things are wrong and why Hell is fair. We just don’t have the requirements straight right now – too much emphasis on Christian culture and externals, and not enough emphasis on theology and apologetics and moral reasoning. And parents – not pastors – need to take the lead in teaching their own children after church is over.