How the younger generation justifies the difference between ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’
MAY 10 2018
Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are less likely to believe in God than their parents or grandparents, Pew Research Center reported on April 25. The firm surveyed more than 4,700 adults in America and found that one third of them do not believe in God and instead believe in some other kind of higher power.
Of the older generation (age 50 and older), two thirds say they believe in God. Only 43 percent of those 30 and younger agree. In the same survey, those under 50 said they don’t think God is very powerful or involved in day-to-day activities. They also tend to believe that God, or another higher power, has punished them one time or another.
God is disappearing from the lives of America’s young people today. And millennials are projected to surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in America in 2019, according to another Pew Research report.
While religion is on its way out the door, interest in “spirituality”—including witchcraft, astrology and tarot-card reading—is actually rising. Melissa Jayne, a woman in Brooklyn, New York, who owns a boutique specializing in witchcraft and sorcery products, was interviewed by Market Watch about occult interest:
It’s very different from the way we usually work and live and date, where everything is hyper-mediated and rational. There is a belief vacuum: We go from work to a bar to dinner and a date, with no semblance of meaning. Astrology is a way out of it, a way of putting yourself in the context of thousands of years of history and the universe.
According to Market Watch, astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry rose 2 percent between 2011 and 2016. It now brings in about $2 billion annually, according to ibis World.
One of the most popular witchcraft movements, Wicca, is just an offshoot of traditional witchcraft. Its primary emphasis is on becoming one with nature. Those practicing Wicca believe that being a witch involves being a healer, teacher, seeker, giver and protector of all things. According to a survey by Religious Tolerance, “the number of Wiccan adults in the U.S. had increased from 602,000 in 2008 to 2 million by the end of 2015. If one were to include teens, which religious surveys generally don’t, we estimate over 3 million Wiccan practitioners were active in the U.S. by the start of 2017.”
Trumpet contributor Dennis Leap wrote “Millenials Are Becoming Witches”:
Witchcraft is the very opposite of God’s way of life. It is a religion inspired by Satan and his demons. … The Book of books states, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23).
According to the Bible, witchcraft is sin. What sin? It is idolatry, pure and simple. … [I]dolatry will never bring happiness. Witchcraft is nature worship. Worshiping the Earth, sun, moon, stars or animals can never bring a person true spirituality. Only worship of the true God can bring the spiritual growth men and women need and desire. Idolatry will bring God’s wrath.
Writing for Fox News, religion and culture writer Alex McFarland described 10 reasons why millennials are backing away from God and Christianity, including:
- Breakdown of the family. It has long been recognized that experience with an earthly father deeply informs the perspective about the heavenly Father. In How the West Really Lost God, sociologist Mary Eberstadt correctly asserts, “The fortunes of religion rise or fall with the state of the family.”
- Lack of spiritual authenticity among adults. Many youth have had no—or very limited—exposure to adult role models who know what they believe, why they believe it, and are committed to consistently living it out.
- Pervasive cultural abandonment of morality. The idea of objective moral truth—ethical norms that really are binding on all people—is unknown to most and is rejected by the rest.
- Intellectual skepticism. College students are encouraged to accept platitudes like “life is about asking questions, not about dogmatic answers.” Is that the answer? That there are no answers? Claiming to have answers is viewed as “impolite.” On life’s ultimate questions, it is much more socially acceptable to “suspend judgment.”
- The rise of a fad called “atheism.” Full of self-congratulatory swagger and blasphemous bravado, pop-level atheists such as the late Christopher Hitchens (whom I interviewed twice) made it cool to be a non-believer. Many millennials, though mostly 20-something Caucasian males, are enamored by books and blogs run by God-hating “thinkers.”
- Our new God: Tolerance be thy name. ”Tolerance” today essentially means, “Because my truth is, well, my truth, no one may ever question any behavior or belief I hold.” This “standard” has become so ingrained that it is now impossible to rationally critique any belief or behavior without a backlash of criticism.
Dr. McFarland observed that young adults, especially those in their late teens or early 20s, feel “10 feet tall and bulletproof.” Why would they need an invisible God when they are perfectly capable of being successful and happy? “Finally, is it really any wonder that kids raised in the churches of 21st-century America aren’t often stirred to lifelong commitment?” he asked. “Most churches are so occupied with ‘marketing’ themselves to prospective attendees that they wouldn’t dream of risking their ‘brand’ by speaking tough-as-nails truth.”
Whatever the reasons may be, this world is in rebellion against God and His laws laid out in the Bible. People are turning to anything but God for happiness and fulfillment, even if it means they suffer because of it. This world has been going their own way for the past 6,000 years, since the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7). God is simply not real to mankind. They don’t fear their Creator or feel the need to obey His laws. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages:
The billions now living on Earth not only are ignorant of the most important knowledge—who and what God is—they seem not to want to know! They are willingly in ignorance of this most important knowledge and relationship possible in human life!
And why have humans been willingly ignorant of man’s most important relationship? One explanation, only, is possible! All nations have been deceived (Revelation 12:9). And the fact of this universal deception makes certain the fact of a super deceiver! …
Spiritual things—invisible things—are a mystery to them. They do not understand those things, real though they are, because they cannot see them. They remain a deep mystery so they deny their existence.
Young people are searching for something in life, they seek fulfillment in material things, but are never satiated. Witchcraft, sorcery, atheism and other spiritual substitutes are not the answers to their problems. God is. Obeying His laws and commandments is the solution. If they would submit to God and obey Him, then they would reap the benefits of true, godly religion.
As the editor of this website with intense interest in saving these lost young people I wish to encourage more pastors to do more to reach their community. Advertise in this magazine, reach your community in every way you can, teach the true gospel message, return people to the bible, ask what upsets them and find answers to their issues.
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