ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are Young People Leaving Religion?

Updated on October 31, 2009


Religion, in many ways, has become a dirty word, especially with young people (ages 18 to 35). Why? For the most part, religious people are often perceived as preachy, "...hypocritical, judgemental or insincere" (Pew Formum On Religion & Public Life: Faith In Flux, 2009,

In my Hub Pages article, Spirituality vs. Religion, I reflected on how religion seems to have become a dirty word amongst college aged people particularly, and how they perceive themselves as being more spiritual, and not religious. The Pew Forum study seems to reflect people's attitudes towards religion, and their not identifying with any one particular religion.

While at Springfield College, in the United Campus Ministry & Spiritual Life Center, I've often heard college students talk of their frustrations with religion. Many had stopped going to church because they no longer were forced to, as they were when living at home. Many also seemed to be turned off by the focus on religious rules and doctrine, and not spirituality. Still, others felt that they were often 'talked at or talked to', and did not seem to have a personal connection with the messages being presented, and people within the congregation. And with issues such as gay marriage, homosexuality, politics, and global concerns, there definitely seems to be a generational divide with opinions, as well as process and style of 'spreading the message.'

The Baby Boom generation is filled with religious leaders, on the Left and Right, openly and actively involving themselves in politics, and political issues, and even endorsing candidates. But younger generations seem turned off by that. While they may resepct the Jessie Jacksons and Pat Robersons, they seem to prefer a different approach: thinking about the issues themselves, without active interference from religious leaders, and coming to their own conclusions. Some Christians for example, don't want politics brought up in church at all, but instead prefer to be encouraged to consider issues, from a Biblical and/or personal perspective. To these college students, religious leaders becoming actively involved in politics, and pushing a particular candidate for example, often lead to alienation.

The news is filled with religion and religious groups opposing issues such as gay marriage and homosexuality. While not all Christian denominations for example, are opposed to such issues, it is often presented that way in the media. And that oppositional image can definitely be a turn off, especially to those who are not heterosexual, and/or who are supportive of civil equality.

Wars in the name of God and religion is also a major negative. History is filled with wars fought in the name of religion, especially since the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the so-called "War on Terror." So, is such ideology, to kill innocents, in the name of God and religion, a true representation of the faith? Of course not. But still, the damage has been, and is being done. War is yet another example, of how religion continues to be used as a tool to control, and gain power.

Religion was not created by God, but by humans. And ever since the creation of religion, history is filled with those trying to convert, or force those who don't believe as they do, through some type of coercion. And this seems to be one of the greatest hypocracies. Why should it matter if someone believes differently than someone else? Does God really care if someone chooses one religion over another, or any religion, as long as they believe in God? And even if God does care, isn't that up to God, and not for humans to judge? Don't the three major religions teach and believe in 'free will, even if someone chooses not to believe in God?

And just because someone may memorize every prayer and ritual, and read and quote their Scriptures fervently, attend worship services regularly, and live the 'letter of the Law' seemingly without fault or question, does that make them better, or a better religious believer than anyone else? What right do such people have in judging others, if such actions do not extend beyond intellectual guidelines, and helping, serving, and treating others? It is such that seems to turn people away from religion, especially young people.

Religion often times can seem adversarial. But one question that I often asked the college students, is what is more important, believing in a religion, or believing in God? And if someone believes, or follows a particular religion, why? How does, and can religion help enhance your life? What does the faith mean to you? And can religion be practiced without infringing upon the rights and beliefs of others? Absolutely.

Shabazz Wilson


The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life: Faith In Flux


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Very well presented. I agree. Admittedly I've called myself spiritual because religion has many restrictions as you've explained. Voted up

    • kid2010 profile image


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Really interesting!!...I agree with a lot of what your saying from a position of experience, check out my post on Christianity in the 21st Century if your are interested further

    • E. Nicolson profile image

      E. Nicolson 

      9 years ago

      All really valid points -- you hit the nail right on the head.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)