Revival of Faith, Spiritual Questioning Among Gen Zers in the UK

A new study reveals a significant shift in religious attitudes among Gen Zers in the United Kingdom, those born in 1997 or later, suggesting a potential revival of faith and increased spiritual questioning. The research found that individuals aged 18-24 exhibit higher levels of religiosity than any other age group. The study shows that 69% of respondents aged 18-24 believe their faith significantly impacts their lives, compared to only 51% of those older than 65. Further, 72% of young adults in this age group stated that their religion helps them find purpose in life, a stark contrast to the 47% of those older than 65 who said the same, according to the survey conducted by the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) and carried out by Whitestone Insight. One notable aspect of the study, involving over 2,000 U.K. adults, is the diversity and openness among younger believers. It was found that 76% of 18- to 24-year-olds have friends with different faiths or beliefs, suggesting a higher degree of tolerance and acceptance. This contrasts with older generations who are less likely to have diverse friendship groups.

Moreover, 45% of Gen Z respondents expressed openness to changing their religious beliefs, compared to just 22% of those older than 65. The survey also found that Gen Zers are more likely to view faith as a positive force in public life. They support the idea of politicians discussing their faith publicly and believe in the involvement of faith leaders in social and political matters. This contrasts with the overall low confidence in religion as a force for good in society, as only 36% of the general population agreed with this sentiment. Among religious respondents, 55% saw religion as a positive force, highlighting the generational divide in attitudes toward faith. Charlotte Littlewood, a senior research associate at IIFL, noted that while the U.K. has been on a general course of secularization legally and politically, British youth increasingly value faith. “The results have shown that whilst legally and politically the U.K. has been on a general course of secularization, British youth are more believing than those half a century their senior,” Littlewood said. “Faith is seen of higher value, significance, and impact to Gen Z compared with previous generations.”

The survey also examines broader societal views on religion. For instance, while there is general resistance to the presence of religion in the workplace and politics, with 42% viewing religion in the workplace positively compared to 41% who disagree, younger generations see more value in religious discussions in public spheres. The media’s portrayal of religion also came under scrutiny in the study. A significant 71% of respondents agreed that the media is biased, and 63% did not favour more media coverage of religion. This mistrust suggests a gap between the media’s representation of religion and the public’s lived experience. Despite these challenges, the study highlights positive aspects of faith in the U.K. For example, 62% of respondents agreed that Christian heritage is important to the U.K., and there is a perception that the country welcomes religious diversity. Further, 73% of respondents reported having friends of different faiths, indicating strong interfaith relationships.

Faith’s role in education is also seen as crucial by many respondents. The survey found that 61% of participants believe religious education is important in schools, and 80% agree that knowledge of other faiths is essential. The study’s findings resonate with broader trends observed in the United States and elsewhere. The Survey Centre on American Life noted generational shifts in religious affiliation and participation in the U.S. While young adults in the U.S. are less religiously affiliated than previous generations, those who engage with religion often show a strong commitment to their faith. A 2023 report in the U.S. revealed that while younger generations of Americans are less religious and less engaged with the Bible than older generations, roughly half credit the Bible’s message for transforming their lives. The American Bible Society’s State of the Bible USA 2023 report showed that although a higher percentage of Gen Zers identify as agnostics, atheists or “nones” (34%) compared to older generations, 58% of Gen Z respondents identify as Christians.

Source: Christian Post

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