“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
This Biblical truth is supported by Daniel A. Cox, senior fellow in polling and public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute, who also serves as director of the Survey Center on American Life, notes that “for as long as we have been able to measure religious commitments, childhood religious experiences have strongly predicted adult religiosity.”
Sadly, for nearly 30 years, notes Cox, research shows the share of Americans who identify as religious has consistently declined with each new generation. “This pattern continues with Generation Z demonstrating less attachment to religion than the millennial generation did,” he said.
Generation Z, born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is now the least religious generation yet, with 34% of them identifying as religiously unaffiliated. Among millennials, 29% identify as religiously unaffiliated, while Generation X stands at 25%. Only 18% of baby boomers and 9% of the silent generation identify as religiously unaffiliated.
Cox pointed to a number of factors that have impacted a diminished view of organized religion, including a breach of trust.
“Gallup has found that trust and confidence in organized religion have plummeted over the past two decades. In 2021, only 37% of the public reported having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in religious institutions, a massive decline since 2001 when 60 percent reported feeling confident,” he said.
He further added that while only 35% of Americans overall believe religion causes more harm than good, among the disaffiliated who were raised in religious homes, 69% say religion causes problems more than it provides solutions. Some 63% of Americans who have always been religiously unaffiliated also believe religion causes more problems in society than it solves.
Only a little more than half of Americans say raising children with religion is a benefit. Of more concern, 82% of the growing number of religiously unaffiliated disagree and only 40% of Gen Z see raising children with religion as a good thing.
We are fast approaching the time Jesus spoke of that precedes His second coming.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14