According to a new survey by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, three-quarters of millennials said they are struggling to find direction in life.
In the survey, titled Millennials Establish Their Need for Purpose and Lifestyle Changes, millennials (ages 18-36) were the generation most likely to question their place in life.
While 22 percent of millennials contend that life is sacred, half of the generation (50 percent) assert that “life is what you make it; there is no absolute value associated with human life.” Thirty-two percent of people from older generations also hold the latter view.
The report also found that millennials were only moderately satisfied in most areas of life, such as their personal health, spiritual life, career, relationships, finances and the nation.
Regarding overall life satisfaction, 66 percent said they were satisfied, 29 percent said they were very satisfied and 37 percent said they were somewhat satisfied. However, one-third of respondents said they were either not too satisfied (20 percent) or unsatisfied (11 percent).
When asked about life improvements, just 5 percent said they believe their life is great without the need for major changes. The survey found that millennials most desired to change their financial situation, with 37 percent looking for financial ease or comfort, 17 percent looking for a better-paying job, and 15 percent hoping to have less debt to repay.
Nearly 3 in 10 millennials reported wanting deeper friendships (28 percent), and 10 percent reported wanting a better relationship with their spouse or significant other. Additionally, 13 percent said they desire for there to be less discrimination based on someone’s race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Twelve percent of the same group desire inclusion in communities that know, appreciate and respect them for who they are.
Regarding spiritual matters, 14 percent of millennials noted wanting to have a better relationship with God.
Dr. George Barna, who authored the survey, noted that many millennials have failed to find purpose in life because they hold self-centered worldviews.
“Millennials have largely bought into worldviews that teach ‘life is about me,’” the veteran researcher explained.
“Life is not about us, and purpose is not buried within us,” he continued. “Life is about knowing, loving and serving a gracious, mighty, forgiving and supportive Creator.”
“God alone determines our purpose in life—the purpose for which He created and gifted each of us, and the life to which He calls us. We extract meaning from life by relating to and serving Him,” he said. “Anything less is bound to result in frustration and despair. God, rather than us, must be at the center of our life in order to grasp and fully experience genuine purpose and meaning.”
The survey was conducted online in August 2021 using a national sample of 600 millennials, defined as people born between 1984 and 2002.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.