The Z-GEN -The Atheist Generation

The percentage of Gen Z atheists is twice that of adult atheists.

A study conducted by Barna Research has found atheism has lost all its negative connotations for Generation Z . These are Americans born anytime from 1999 to 2015. The survey was done in two tranches over two years. The first installment was done in November 2016 and the second in July 2017. The first had 1,490 respondents and the second 507 respondents. All respondents were aged between 13 years and 18 years. Data extracted from both the surveys were weighted to publicly available U.S. Census data. These made it representative of gender, region, ethnicity, and age.

The Generation Z can be regarded, as the poll finds, to be truly the maiden “post-Christian” generation. This is as the generation does not assert by itself any religious identity. To the religious minded, the crisis is real. The percentage of atheists in this age group is about twice that of the adult population identifying as atheist, 13 percent to six percent.

When asked about the reason for their disbelief in God, the respondents said they failed to find any definitive argument “for the existence of both evil and a good and loving God.” It is interesting that Generation Z does not cite Christian hypocrisy as a significant barrier to a belief in God. However, many cited a bad experience with church or a Christian as a trigger to turn away from faith. This age group is also found to be influenced by a number of political issues like immigration policy, poverty, and LGBTQ rights.

About 37 percent of Generation Z holds the belief that there cannot be any certainty of the existence of God. In contrast, about 32 percent of adults hold the same belief. Conversely, about 54 percent of Generation Z who are sure about God's existence are fewer than adults (64 percent) holding identical beliefs. The Generation Z people who attend church were found to hold positive perceptions about the church compared to those who hold negative views. Positive feelings clock over 80 percent. However, there is also significant negativity at around 40 percent.

It is no wonder that the religious are alarmed at this turn of events. Dr. Alex McFarland, noted author and a known face in religion and culture studies, said it breaks his heart to see the young turning away from God. McFarland bemoaned that secularism has pushed out religion in U.S. culture. He ascribes this reason to the rise of teens committing suicide or turning to drugs.

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