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Survey published on “Religion, Values, and Politics among College-age Millennials”

Survey published on “Religion, Values, and Politics among College-age Millennials”

Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shared their survey of college-age Millennials (Americans ages 18-24) concerning faith, values, and the 2012 election. The survey was jointly conducted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Some of the religious highlights:

Younger Millennials report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated. While only 11% of Millennials were religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%) currently identify as unaffiliated, a 14-point increase. Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the largest net losses due to Millennials’ movement away from their childhood religious affiliation.

Today, college-age Millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated. They are less likely than the general population to identify as white evangelical Protestant or white mainline Protestant.

Millennials also hold less traditional or orthodox religious beliefs. Fewer than one-quarter (23%) believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. About 1-in-4 (26%) believe Bible is the word of God, but that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. Roughly 4-in-10 (37%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.

Millennials’ feelings toward present-day Christianity are fairly ambivalent.Approximately three-quarters (76%) of younger Millennials say that modern-day Christianity “has good values and principles,” and 63% agree that contemporary Christianity “consistently shows love for other people.” On the other hand, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Millennials say that “anti-gay” describes present-day Christianity somewhat or very well. And more than 6-in-10 (62%) Millennials also believe that present-day Christianity is “judgmental.”


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Nicole Porter

People tend to return to the church when they are older/have families. Very few that are my age actually remained the whole way through the college years. I would like to see how it compares with the past as well instead of drawing conclusions from one survey.

Josh Magda

A hopeful development in some ways, a distressing one in others. I will go with my hope rather than my fears, and see this as a fecund opportunity for a fresh expression of Spirit in this country, free from the oppressive fundamentalist categories that have characterized past generations of Christianity.

Of course, I think the Church needs deconversions as much as it needs more converts, as a great many people are Christians not by choice but by birth.

TEC, take note, and get on board.

Bill Dilworth

Hasn’t a large portion of college students always taken the opportunity to distance themselves from their childhood religions? How does this survey’s data compare with former decades?

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