Christianity Today is warning Christian leaders of teens who identify as LGBTQ or atheist.
A cursory reading through Get Ready, Youth Group Leaders: Teens Twice as Likely to Identify as Atheist or LGBT makes me want to write a follow-up article titled Get Ready Youth Leaders: Teens Twice as Unlikely to Swallow Your Horseshaft.
Let’s see what the Christianity Today article actually says, eh?
Half of Protestant youth pastors consider technology and social media the defining factor of this latest generation, but a new study released today by Barna Group sheds new light on striking social and demographic trends: Teenagers in Gen Z are at least twice as likely as American adults to identify as LGBT or an atheist
Now, this isn’t one of those Yay! Yay! The witch is dead! articles. You know those pieces from just before the 2016 elections. Those so-called thought pieces heralded the death of American Caucasian Christianity only to have American Caucasian Christianity win the election a few weeks later.
But what I am saying is that this is good news. Let’s just not start popping the champagne corks quite yet.
Let’s continue with the newsy fun:
While the latest Gallup poll reported only 4.1 percent of Americans—and 7.3 percent of millennials—identify as LGBT, Barna found that 12 percent of Gen Z teens described their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual, with 7 percent identifying as bisexual.
*sits back in smoking chair and waxes philosophically*
Back in my day (the 80s) I don’t remember any LGB club (note: life was simpler back then with fewer letters and greater discrimination) in high school and certainly not in middle school. I can attest the middle school my kid attends is quite LGBTQ friendly with a very active Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club. I reckon the lower rate of beatings makes more kids comfortable with saying they’re not straight.
Ben Trueblood is director of student ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources. You can almost hear the nostalgia in what he said:
“In the past, it was possible for difficult issues like this to be brushed aside or go unaddressed entirely. But that approach cripples the purpose of student ministry,” he said. “Now, student ministry leaders are forced to teach what the Bible says on these issues, as well as equip teenagers to respond biblically.
I translate as: In the good olde days you could beat the gays into the closet. Them days are mostly over.
And here is the cherry on the ice cream. The cream in the coffee. The slice of salmon on top of the latkes and fried eggs (I had that for breakfast, and it was incredible.)
But wait, it gets better!
Among Gen Z members between 13 and 18 years old, 13 percent consider themselves atheists, compared to just 6 percent of adults overall.
One out of five teens in the Barna study imagine Christianity as negative and judgmental. Some of the biggest barriers to belief are the problem of evil (29%), perceived hypocrisy among Christians (23%), and the conflict between science and Scripture (20%). Gen Z is less likely than older generations to see science and the Bible as complementary.
That’s mother’s milk, Disbelievers.
Andrew Hall is the author of Laughing in Disbelief. Besides writing a blog, co-hosting the Naked Diner, he wrote two books, Vampires, Lovers, and Other Strangers and God’s Diary: January 2017 . Andrew is reading through the Bible and making videos about his journey on YouTube. He is a talented stand-up comedian. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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