Reboot, a Jewish youth organization just released the findings of a poll of Generation Y (Gen Y includes those born between 1980 and 2000 but the poll only polled those age 18-25) which focused on their feelings about faith and religion.
“The religious establishment is failing to connect with Generation Y, the most diverse and individualist group in American history,” Bennett said. “iTunes, Tivo, and MoveOn have shown this generation that it is possible to bypass the ‘middleman’ and take control of their own experiences, whether it’s a song list or politics. Religious institutions have to recognize this reality if they want to be more meaningful to them,” he said.
According to the survey, many 18-to-25 year olds express their faith in informal ways that are either communal or individualistic, such as praying before meals (55%), talking with friends (38%), or reading religious magazines, books, and newspapers (33%).
While they enjoy “a genuine attachment to religious life,” younger people are “more disconnected from traditional denominations than their older counterparts … [and] favor more informal ways to practice their faith as opposed to attending services, classes, or formal activity,” the report says.
The survey, however, reveals that young people who identify as highly religious (27%) tend to be more self-aware and significantly more connected to family and community.
“One of the most remarkable findings of the study is that on every measure, highly religious youth better understand themselves and their place in the community more than less religious youth,” said the report’s author, Anna Greenberg, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
“The results send a clear message: Demand for meaning and community is there, but few in Gen Y are finding it in churches, mosques, or synagogues,” Bennett said. “The question now is whether established institutions will adapt or innovate to meet this generation’s particular spiritual needs.”
–Reboot press release via Yahoo!
The poll itself can be downloaded here.