New research by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University suggests that there is an ambivalence to Christianity among the millennial generation.
The survey, which is the third release in the report Millennials in America: New Insights into the Generation of Growing Influence, found that 65 percent of millennials profess to be Christian. The national average is 69 percent.
While 59 percent of millennials held a favorable view of Jesus Christ, they viewed Christianity as more of a moral system for being a good person rather than a commitment to follow Christ.
According to the research, the indifference is attributed to a variety of factors, including their views on the Bible and the church. For instance, just half of Millennials viewed the Bible (51 percent) and the Christian faith (50 percent) favorably.
Distrust of pastors, the notion that Christians are hypocrites and uncertainty about how the ancient faith applies to a postmodern society have also contributed to millennials’ ambivalence towards Christianity.
Millennials are also slow to accept Christianity as a comprehensive and cohesive worldview. A previous report from the Cultural Research Center found that only four percent of the generation holds a biblical worldview.
The survey noted that millennials disengaged from the faith were least likely to engage in Christian practices. About four in 10 young adults have attended a church service or worship event (41 percent), spent at least an hour reading the Bible (40 percent) or donated money to a church, religious center or faith-based organization (40 percent). On the other hand, at least six out of 10 older adults engaged in religious practices in the past month.
Despite not being drawn to Christianity, most millennials do not consider themselves atheists. The study found that 25 percent of young adults viewed atheism favorably compared to 31 percent who viewed atheism negatively or had no opinion about it at all.
Overall, millennials had the lowest level of any generation when it comes to possessing a traditional, biblical worldview of who God is. Only 35 percent of young adults were found to hold to that belief. Additionally, over half of millennials (56 percent) believe that moral truth is subjective rather than objective.
CRC Research director Dr. George Barna explained that the challenge presented amongst young adults today is a worldview issue.
“Given the research showing that 24 out of every 25 Millennials do not possess a biblical worldview, the most logical solution is to help them understand the role of worldview and then to embrace the biblical worldview,” the veteran researcher explained.
“Their current reliance upon syncretism—the patchwork perspective on life drawn from competing and sometimes contradictory ideas and often muddled and misguided viewpoints—is detrimental to their well-being,” he continued.
“If we care about them, we will commit to helping them understand and adopt proven biblical truths about life,” he said. “Anything short of that kind of decision-making reorientation will simply be ineffective, stop-gap measures doomed to fail.”
The Millennials in America report was conducted online in August 2021 with a national sample of 600 millennials.
Photo courtesy: Pexels/Leah Kelley
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.