Via Debunking Christianity, I read of the latest poll by Christian research organization The Barna Group, which shows that American youth in the 16-29 age bracket currently have the lowest opinion of Christianity than that group has ever had in previous generations.
The study shows that 16- to 29-year-olds exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life. In fact, in just a decade, many of the Barna measures of the Christian image have shifted substantially downward, fueled in part by a growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment among young people. For instance, a decade ago the vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward Christianity’s role in society. Currently, however, just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a “good impression” of Christianity.
Rock on! Now we just need to get those kids their copies of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and George H. Smith. Can it get any better? It can.
One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 – to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals…. 91% of the nation’s evangelicals believe that “Americans are becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.” Among senior pastors, half contend that “ministry is more difficult than ever before because people are increasingly hostile and negative toward Christianity.”
I guess that, to a well-educated and intellectually curious young population, ancient superstitions that express hostility to science and promote hatred of “undesirables” like gays, and back their demands for compliance up with threats of eternal hellfire, just aren’t especially attractive or appealing ideas to embrace. So the next time you feel depressed that such cretinous examples of institutionalized idiocy like the Creation “Museum” seem to be making far more headway than they deserve, we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that young people do appear to be thinking skeptics after all. Now they just need to be encouraged to maintain that healthy freethought, before religion gets its hooks of emotional manipulation and fearmongering into them.