Sunday, May 01, 2005

Gen Y and religion

From Donkey Rising, we learn that at some point, the Republicans will either ditch the right-wing religious extremists or be shut out of government.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are witnessing the high water mark of the supremacy of the religious right.

Remember that the next time somebody tries to claim to speak for all "people of faith."

...Generation Y, which may be loosely defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 (though the report really only covers only the adult members of this generation, those currently 18-25 years of age).The report, with the somewhat gimmicky title of "OMG: How Generation Y is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era", was written by Anna Greenberg and is based on a large-scale survey with oversamples among Jews, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Muslims, as well as supplementary analyses of Census and other data, all conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

Much of the report focuses on the detailed religious and civic attitudes of Gen Y adults and I won't go into those findings here--read the instructive report to get the full picture. But there are some broader findings in the report that are worth highlighting.

Generation Y is extraordinarily diverse in a race-ethnic sense. Only 61 percent of Geb Y adults are white; 15 percent are black, 4 percent are Asian and 17 percent are Hispanic.

Generation Y is more secular and less Christian. Almost a quarter (23 percent) have no religious preference or are agnostic/atheist, 4 percent are Jewish or Muslim and another 7 percent are other non-Christian; only 62 percent identify themselves with some Christian faith.

Gen Y is at the leading edge of what Chris Bowers has pointed out is an extremely fast-growing demographic: the non-Christian coalition. Between 1990 and 2001, according to CUNY's American Religious Identification Survey, non-Christians grew by 84 percent (from 20 to 37 million adults), including an astonishing increase of 106 percent (from 14 to 29 million) among seculars.

This appears to be a ticking time bomb for conservatives. Oh, yeah, I know, they're going to say, "I was more liberal when I was younger too." Somehow I doubt that this is true across generations, and, even if true for the boomers, I suspect Gen Y will go against the Boomers on these issues- it simply makes no sense to repeat their dumb mistakes.

On the other hand,

Importantly, religious youth have a stronger sense of themselves than less religious youth. In other words, among the less religious, religion is not supplanted by a stronger ascribed or achieved characteristic. In fact, less religious youth are less strongly identified with anything at all, which suggests that religious group involvement is mutually reinforcing with other identities. Or, that feeling connected to a religious community or tradition heightens all other aspects of self-understanding. Religious adherence, in other words, builds social capital not just in terms of participation in civic life (more below), but also in terms of connection with family, self-esteem, and self-understanding. As Christian Smith finds in his study of teenagers, religious youth rank higher than less religious youth on every measure of self-esteem.

It is interesting to see my son's identities emerging: he is an American, he is Chinese, he knows about Jesus, but only in the same sense as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - and I might add, the Quan Yin, or Maritreya or Jizo

Except that Quan Yin or Maritreya are usually brought up and the focus is brought back to my child - defining himself by mindfulness.

That whole document is interesting reading- we learn that Evangelical Gen Y'ers don't tend to worry about getting a sexually transmitted disease. But given the situation with abstinence only education (when people stop being abstinent they are also less likely to use means that would prevent STDs) , it seems rather likely...I would wager...that these kids are more likely to be vectors of STDs. But then again, at least some of them are less likely to get into trouble. I guess it's like the boy who wne he is good is very good, but when he was bad...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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