Baby boomers

Latest stats: More young adults dropping out of church because of political, moral clashes

Latest stats: More young adults dropping out of church because of political, moral clashes

It’s been 10 years since I published a book on why people quit church and, no surprise to me, the topic is still making news.

The Nashville-based Lifeway Research released some findings last week that I meant to get to sooner. But then the unlucky meeting of some Catholic high school kids, obscenity-spouting Black Hebrew Israelites and drum-pounding Native Americans in Washington, D.C., a week ago pushed everything else out of the news.

Back to the regular news chase, I found it unsurprising that young people drop out of church. I mean, most youth take a vacation from religion during their college years. The journalism issue right now is what has changed. As the Tennessean said:

Large numbers of young adults who frequently attended Protestant worship services in high school are dropping out of church.

Two-thirds of young people say they stopped regularly going to church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, a new LifeWay Research survey shows.

That means the church had a chance to share its message and the value of attending with this group, but it didn't stick, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

"That's a lot of folks saying, 'No, that's not for me' or 'It's not for me right now' at that young age," McConnell said.

Again, youth have been dropping out of church during their college years for as long as I can remember, so that’s not news. What is?

The reasons fell under four categories:

· Nearly all — 96 percent — cited life changes, including moving to college and work responsibilities that prevented them from attending.

· Seventy-three percent said church or pastor-related reasons led them to leave. Of those, 32 percent said church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical and 29 percent said they did not feel connected to others who attended.

· Seventy percent named religious, ethical or political beliefs for dropping out. Of those, 25 percent said they disagreed with the church's stance on political or social issues while 22 percent said they were only attending to please someone else.

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CNN scores hit with its well-sourced take on Donald Trump, guilt and the Gospel

CNN scores hit with its well-sourced take on Donald Trump, guilt and the Gospel

It’s rare that an article about Donald Trump’s faith can say something new and fresh, yet a recent CNN.com piece managed to pull that off. It helped that the reporter had some very good sources.

The headline was pretty apropos: “The guilt-free gospel of Donald Trump.” (A similar piece about Hillary might, as my colleague Jim Davis has suggested, have a headline like "Hillary Clinton offers gospel-free guilt.") 

There's been a lot written about the puzzle that is Donald Trump's religious beliefs, but this story manages to break some new ground less than three weeks from Election Day. 

(CNN) -- Donald Trump was ashamed -- contrite even -- as he spoke to Paula White hours after the video of him bragging about groping women was released.
"I heard it in his voice," said White, a Florida pastor who, outside of Trump's family, is his closest spiritual confidant. "He was embarrassed." ...
During his phone call with White, the GOP nominee said he regretted his remarks and was grateful for the evangelicals still supporting him. Later that evening, he publicly apologized in a video that was remarkably free from the usual rituals enacted by disgraced politicians.
Trump didn't stand beside his wife, Melania. He didn't ask for forgiveness. He didn't lament that he had fallen under sin's sway but that by God's grace and with his family's support he hoped to earn a second chance. In fact, Trump didn't mention faith, family or reconciliation at all.

The article goes on to cite several of Trump’s vapid responses to questions about religion.

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And this just in: In green DC, death and funerals have no religious overtones whatsoever

And this just in: In green DC, death and funerals have no religious overtones whatsoever

When clergy get together to talk about people whose commitment to faith is about as deep as an oil slick, they don't just talk about "Easter Christians" and Jews who just show up, year after year, for the High Holidays. They also talk about people who take this whole concept to another level and, basically, turn faith into a force that shows up for events linked to births, marriages and funerals, and that's that.

Thus, I would argue that if you were looking for a topic that would offer a window into life in a post-faith world, the whole concept of a faith-free funeral is what you want. Let me stress, however, that "faith-free funerals" are not the same thing as "green funerals," unless, it would appear, environmentally friendly funeral rites are discussed in The Washington Post. More on that in a moment.

While most recent news coverage of minimalistic or abandoned faith has focused on the young, especially the so-called "Nones," it's also important to remember that the Baby Boomers have also had an adventurous streak that affects religion and the lack thereof. As I wrote in an earlier post about some -- repeat SOME -- Woodstock Generation funerals:

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