How many young Americans are not religious?
According to Harvard University professor Robert Putnam — and I paraphrase here — a whole $%load.
Putnam says the percentage of “nones” has now skyrocketed to between 30 percent and 40 percent among younger Americans…
The last time I heard a number for young “nones” was two years ago and that was an astounding 20%.
It should be noted that the “nones” are not necessarily atheists:
“Many of them are people who would otherwise be in church,” Putnam said. “They have the same attitidues and values as people who are in church, but they grew up in a period in which being religious meant being politically conservative, especially on social issues.”
Putnam says that in the past two decades, many young people began to view organized religion as a source of “intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views,” and therefore stopped going to church.
So the politicization of the Christian faith backfired and pushed people away from the churches. If the trend continues, I predict a few things will happen:
- Megachurches will wane in influence in the future.
- The Christian leaders of the future will be more concerned with issues like poverty and social justice than which Republican should become president.
- It won’t be long before guys like Rick Warren are seen as out of step with the mainstream and on the fringes of the faith. People like Rob Bell and Don Miller will take their place.
- Atheism will become much more “acceptable.” Just about everyone will know an atheist.
I hope atheists don’t screw up this positive trend… churches are doing enough to help us out right now.