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Gen Y: Indifferent or Hostile to Religion? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 01:15

Generation Y

Often you hear people talking about young people today with the assumption that they are hostile to religion and spirituality - why else, after all, do they not come to church in the way that young people did back in the 1950s?

A new book based on a study of 300 young people from age 8 up to 23 gives a much more nuanced view: The Faith of Generation Y, authored by Sylvia Collins-Mayo (a sociologist of religion), Bob Mayo (a parish priest in West London), Sally Nash (Director of the Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry) and Anglican Bishop of Coventry the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, who has five 'Generation Y' children..

Ekklesia have a review of the book which is worth a read. I think this is a book I'll be purchasing. [There's more...]

The fundamental issue is one of relevance. If the Church doesn't help young people to grasp the relevance of the Christian Way, of a life of faith, then what are we doing? The issue for the Church as shown in this book is simply that religion is often an irrelevance... The challenge for those of us for whom our faith is relevant to every aspect of our lives is to share that reality with grace.

Quote from the review:

"For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions and showed little sign of 'pick and mix' spirituality," says Sylvia Collins-Mayo.

"On the rare occasions when a religious perspective was required (for example, coping with family illnesses or bereavements) they often ‘made do’ with a very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else," she said.

"In this respect they would sometimes pray in their bedrooms. What is salutary for the Church is that generally young people seemed quite content with this situation, happy to get by with what little they knew about the Christian faith," commented Collins-Mayo.

The assumption that teenagers are alienated from their parents and hostile toward religion – a hangover from the 1960s and 70s – is a deep-rooted but flawed stereotype, according to the study’s findings.

"Generation Y have less cultural hang ups about the Church than did their predecessors… The challenge to the Church is to provide them with the opportunities to explore and to learn about a narrative of belief of which they know little,"

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