Religion and Generation Z
Why seventy per cent of young people say they have no religion.
In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’ and that of those 70% of the 18-24 age-group claim to have 'no religion'. These essays attempt to say why, and are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented. The purpose was to explain a social trend but, in the process of writing, several of the contributors have, as if by chance, produced material which is richly meditative and can be read both for information and as spiritual reflection.
The Editor, Brian Mountford, is concerned that, too often, the religious views of the young are discussed by older clergy and writers but rarely heard first hand. This book is a partial remedy. Mountford has written opening and closing chapters, setting the scene and finally asking what future there is for religion.
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This interesting collection of nine essays by Oxford graduate and undergraduate students sheds light on why 70% of the 18 to 24 age group claim to have no religion. The editor provides the initial and final essays based on his experience as a chaplain at both Oxford and Cambridge, arguing that two key factors are unfamiliarity with religion and the influence of rationalism which has led to a wider shift of the default position with respect to religion – my own upbringing took place within daily chapel services, which is no longer the case. The essays are engaging in representing a variety of cultural viewpoints and intense personal experiences. We hear from a physicist about science and religion and from a student of philosophy of religion who expresses dismay at the ignorance of his contemporaries and the superficiality of their arguments; there are also contributions on feminism and the environment. The editor asks if we still need religion within the frame of understanding the self, ethical values and a sense of the sacred. I think he is right in arguing that asking such questions is perennial and inherently religious, but it seems unlikely that religious institutions – especially the fundamentalist and regressive – will attract the younger generation. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer
Some of the reasoning explored within these essays cover bases such as, well, for one thing, many millennials never had strong ties to religion to begin with, which means they were less likely to develop habits or associations that make it easier to return to a religious community. Also, young adults are also increasingly likely to have a spouse who is nonreligious, which may help reinforce their secular worldview. And changing views about the relationship between morality and religion also appear to have convinced many young parents that religious institutions are simply irrelevant or unnecessary for their children. But, whatever the true reasoning is behind this seventy per cent figure, Editor Brian Mountford’s collected essays that make up Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion showcase a deep dive into the topic, and one that ultimately may not just have you understanding more about the reasons why, but have you wanting to ask more questions (which is always a good thing with a book, don’t you agree?) FULL REVIEW: https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=351 ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review
5.0 out of 5 stars. An insightful look into the younger generation. Each chapter is written by a different person on a range of topics, so you get a new perspective and style each time. Some are heartwarming, others are more academic in nature. All give a great look into what religion is to the younger generation. ~ Katherine, Amazon UK
5.0 out of 5 stars. For whatever generation and whatever belief. I was captivated from the word go. Brian's thoughtfully compiled a very interesting and well chosen collection of writings by different people. They extremely well sum up the attitudes and different beliefs towards faith in the UK today. The book examines well why it is some people still believe but why it increasing numbers now say the do not. ~ Kate Haywood, Amazon UK
For the purposes of this book, “Generation Z” is the 18-25 age group. “In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion,’ and that of those 70% of the 18-25 age-group claim to have 'no religion'.” This book is “A collection of essays by students” which attempt to say why, and are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented. I probably ought not to say this, but to be honest, it sounded to me like a bunch of whiney Generation Zers trying to come up with excuses to justify their rejection of “traditional religion.” To be fair, the nine student essayists seem to be honest and sincere in their complaints. But my own answer to the question as to why we now have a generation which identifies as “no religion” is that it has been effectively brainwashed by its experiences with schooling, entertainment, and the media to accept secularism, relativism, humanism, and post-modernism rather than to seek for truth. What I hear in the book is that the church, especially conservatives, isn’t scientific enough, isn’t feminist enough, isn’t pro-environmental enough, isn’t LGBTQ+ friendly enough, etc. Those of us who believe that the Bible is a divine revelation of God’s will for mankind look to it for absolute truth on these subjects, and there’s not much common ground or room for negotiation with those who base their beliefs primarily on how they feel about something. Editor Brian Mountford has written opening and closing chapters, setting the scene and finally asking what future there is for religion. Yes, it is certainly true that, because “the church” is made up of fallible human beings, bad things have been done by evil people in the name of Christianity which all right-thinking people, including true Christians, abhor. It is also true that various traditions have arisen in “traditional religion” that are due for criticism and rejection as they are purely man-made and not in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the inspired Scriptures. The needed advice here is “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” To be honest, I cannot say that I enjoyed reading this book. It does have the benefit of letting us know what Generation Z is thinking about religion, but the only situation in which I might recommend it would be to an apologetics scholar like Alex McFarland to provide reasonable Biblical answers to the objections. ~ Wayne S. Walker - Home School Book Review Blog, https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com/2022/05/27/religion-and-generation-z-why-seventy-per-cent-of-young-people-say-they-have-no-religion/
Religion and Generation Z edited by Brian Mountford, Christian Alternative Books Generation Z is anyone now aged 18 to 24. They are the successors to the Millennials and they are set to be the best educated and the most racially and ethnically diverse generation so far. They are also the Zoomers, those with no experience of “life before smartphones.” Brian Mountford, a now retired Anglican priest and university chaplain, engages with a selection of Gen Zers in a series of essays telling us why some 70 per cent of them have no religion. This figure perhaps comes as no surprise to Mountford as readers may recall his recent Church Going Going Gone, reviewed in PV39 in which he explores the spiral of decline of traditional church. Mountford’s keynote piece starts the book and then there follows nine highly readable essays by Gen Zers who have all encountered religion in their upbringing and who have variously rejected, grappled with or embraced it. Some of the essay titles give a flavour: Age of Uncertainty; Faith vs Organised Religion; Jesus is a feminist, why isn’t the Church? Mountford then returns in a final where-do-we-go-from-here chapter with Does Religion still have a Future? In all, it is a pretty sharp look at religion, or rather the lack of it, in Britain and a highly recommended read. It of course begs the question what will Generation Alpha, even now being born, make of religion and, more particularly, what future is there for Christianity? ~ Paul Harrington, Progressive Voices Issue 41
These timely if inconsistent essays assembled by Mountford (Church Going Gone), a fellow at Saint Hilda’s College, Oxford, contemplate the decline of religiosity among Generation Z in the U.K. Citing a 2017 survey that found 70% of 18- to 25-year-olds claim no religious affiliation, Mountford compiles a variety of perspectives seeking to explain this trend away from religion broadly and the Christian church specifically. Tara Lee’s “Age of Uncertainty” raises the common theme that “religion has become heritage,” dull and uncompelling with outdated views on sexuality and politics. Christopher T. Bennett interprets young people’s indifference to religion as “indicative of [its] fading significance in the modern world, rather than pig-headed antitheological arrogance.” Other contributions focus on Christianity’s history of misogyny, the friction between religion and science, and the failure of clergy to address climate change, alongside more personal reflections on receiving pushback from secular college classmates and finding hope in musical liturgy. The essays vary widely in tone, ranging from academic to confessional, and for that reason can feel tenuously connected at times, though the perspectives on offer frequently enlighten. These sometimes unfocused reflections offer valuable insights into the present and future of the church. ~ Publishers Weekly
Across the country churches are struggling to connect with young people as their congregations age. But so rarely do we have the opportunity to hear from young people themselves. In this book of essays we hear the raw experience of young people’s encounter with religion, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes dreary, and most often of no account at all. A sharp critique of religion in 21st century Britain, this book of essays is essential reading for anyone interested in this field. ~ Avril Baigent, Doctoral Researcher, Durham University, Pastoral Ministry Advisor, Northampton Diocese (Roman Catholic).
Flowing from curiosity, and drawing on the stories and insights of Gen Z students this is a valuable engagement with the dwindling religious affiliation of young adults. ~ Ian Macdonald, Youth Ministry specialist, Diocese of Oxford
These essays give hope that the future of faith and religion will be diverse, varied, and reimagined. Mountford's passion for faith and religion to transcend traditions comes to the fore in this insightful collection. It is encouraging to read how peoples' interaction with the Divine is fresh, challenging, and alive. ~ Andrew Allen, Chaplain and Fellow, Exeter College, Oxford