Millennials continue to create their own path to adulthood. A Pew Research Center survey indicates that they are less likely than any other generations to be affiliated with a traditional faith or attached to religious institutions.
Only 58% say they are certain that God exists.
Moving beyond the walls, they’re finding unrestricted networks where every tribe is represented and no one is left out. Some have lots of questions and, without definitive answers, are engaging with others and encouraging dialogue. As digital natives they continue these discussions, collaborating and feeling connected through social and digital media.
Millennials who boomerang back home because of huge student loans and few job opportunities, or who are down on their luck, feel stressed and under pressure much of the time. Support, often derived from spiritual nourishment, can provide a sense of ease, relief, even calm.
Whether it’s meditation, spirituality or prayer, the greater concerns are about diversity and inclusivity. Free thinkers who are trying to identify their beliefs and ideals place value on meaningful conversations without judgment.
Many dislike the formality of services or the recitations of prayers they don’t fully understand. But the idea of being in nature or having a spiritual practice feels authentic and resonates deeply. Although they may not be rushing to church or temple, many are carrying their values into the community by volunteering – reaching out to those in need or taking part in service programs.
Pope Francis has been a role model for Catholics with his emphasis on simple religious values: be humble, help those who are hurting, treat everyone as equals. Millennials are following his lead, but putting their own spin on it – posting selfies from the Vatican on Instagram or following #AshtagWednesday on Twitter.
In general, our grown children today are more secular, yet they continue to search for meaning and authenticity. Some still have strong religious beliefs and regularly attend pulpit services. Others look to their elders for guidance about how to navigate a rapidly changing world. And although Millennials are doing it their way, past is prologue. So we’ll have to wait and see. They may very well develop a stronger belief in God over the course of their lifetime, just like previous generations have.