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The On Being Project

Millennials, DJs of Their Own Spiritualities

This week we’ve been blogging on The Takeaway‘s series “Young Nation Under God?” John Hockenberry’s roundtable discussions with Millennials who identify as secular Jews, first-generation Muslim-Americans, and Christians-turned-atheists point at a growing disenchantment with current religious institutions. Rather than repudiating these establishments, they are simply leaving the traditions of their elders.
Yes, the Pew polls show that 1 in 4 Millennials are religiously unaffiliated. Nevertheless, the United States is a deeply religious country. This generation of Americans (born in 1981 to 2000) is exploring new ways to express the core values at the heart of their parents’ faith. They are rediscovering the foundation of these religious impulses they sense have been lost or buried in bureaucracy or inauthenticity.

In the audio above, our host Krista Tippett sits down with The Takeaway to round out these polls and discussions with Millennials. She believes that this growing number of unaffiliated young people are a source of renewal of religion in the United States.

“This spirituality of the Millennials is not the new age, superficial spirituality of the 80s and 90s. This is also the generation that has a huge service orientation. This is the generation that has given us social entrepreneurialism. Even as they detach from institutional affiliation, I find a lot of these people who describe themselves as non-religious or non-affiliated as incredibly ethically engaged, spiritually curious, and even theologically curious.”

How will this changing religious landscape persist? What will it evolve into? What does it mean for America’s future?

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