For Generation Z, those born between 1999 and 2015, atheism is no longer a dirty word, according to a new study from Barna research. This is truly the first "post-Christian" generation, the survey finds, and more than any previous generation, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity.
This is exactly the generation religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland (AlexMcFarland.com) is hoping to reach through the Truth for a New Generation (TNG) conference on March 23-24 at Life Community Church in the greater Greensboro area of North Carolina.
To illustrate, the Barna study found that the percentage of teens who identify as such is double that of the general population (13 percent vs. 6 percent of all adults).
"It's heartbreaking when we see young people choosing to turn away from God, especially at a time when they need Him most," said McFarland, who is also Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. "Secularism is pervading the culture, and especially the younger generations, promising a carefree, flashy life if they emulate the celebrity set. But more and more teens and young adults are turning to drugs and committing suicide. And some of those sad cases are due to the fact that many young people don't have the hope of Jesus. As Christians, and to fulfill our mission at Alex McFarland Ministries and Truth for a New Generation, we must reach them. It is quickly becoming a matter of life and death."
The Barna survey, conducted in partnership with the Impact 360 Institute, also found that members of Generation Z "might be drawn to things spiritual, but with a vastly different starting point from previous generations, many of whom received a basic education on the Bible and Christianity." This fact is evidenced through the study that examines the culture, beliefs and motivations shaping this next generation, and specifically Generation Z's views on faith, truth and the church in a time of growing religious apathy.
The study also discovered that the proportion that identifies as Christian likewise drops from generation to generation. Three out of four Boomers are Protestant or Catholic Christians (75 percent), while just three in five 13- to 18-year-olds say they are some kind of Christian (59 percent).
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