by P. David Gardner
Shhh ... if you listen closely, you might actually hear the quaking of feet in well oiled boots as priests, preachers, deacons and other clergy officials in the United States are no doubt wondering just where their future paychecks may be coming from.
The Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2014 that, when the results were compiled and released in May this year, showed that over several years now, the new generation, dubbed "The Millennials," has become far less likely to identify with a religious group than their parents.
Not only that, approximately 35 percent of adults born between 1981 and 1996 now claim to be unaffiliated with any religion at all.
To add coal to that fire, an increasing percentage of those Millennials not eligible to participate in the study because they were not yet adults at the time of the survey also identify as religious “nones.”
The study does concede that as the Millennials grow older, get married, have kids and begin to more fully realize that they are mortal, they may begin to identify with a religious group. That, however, is mere speculation on Pew's part, and we will not know if this supposition is true for decades to come.
So perhaps those who minister to the faithful may not be too worried about it. They just have to keep hammering folks with the good old “don't go to hell” shtick, and maybe they'll catch a few new ones and bring them into the fold, to tithe their wages to keep the ancient and outdated religions going and going and going.
Those interested may read the Pew report for themselves here: