Diminished Belief in God
Our Science/Faith blog connects with many contemporary phenomena. We are concerned about current societal chaos, specifically, breakdowns in law and order such as unprovoked weapons attacks on innocent people at churches, schools, supermarkets, and other public places and events. The recent Supreme Court ruling to reverse the wrongly decided 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling has resulted in demonstrations at the homes of justices. These events have reinforced the powerful negative impact of entertainers, news broadcasters, and politicians frequently expressing their view that the value of “a woman’s right to choose” and “a woman’s right to privacy” supersedes the value of a living human being developing within the womb of a mother.
The news that the largest drop in belief in God has recently occurred in people between the ages of 18-29 is disturbing. That age group consists of younger “Gen Y” and older “Gen Z” residents. Demographers are fond of assigning various monikers to different age groups of our population. Young people of age 18-29 frequently achieve more attention for many reasons. Perhaps the disturbing recent events referred to in the opening paragraph are connected.
Gallup researchers have stated that only 81% of Americans believe in God in 2022, down from 87% in 2017. Statistically, this is a substantial, disturbing drop. From 1944 to 2011, more than 90% of Americans professed belief in God, according to the Gallup poll which first asked the question in 1944.
The greatest drop occurred in the 18-29 year-old demographic—10%. Young adults who have finished high school and have launched their work careers and/or higher education and may contemplate marriage and raising a young family, are losing their God-belief at an alarming rate. Only 68% of young people in the 18-29 year category say they now believe in God. A thorough study of the spectrum of statistics reveals fascinating truths about many diverse aspects of contemporary God-belief.
What accounts for the drop in our young people’s belief in God? How do our young people respond to this news? They may state that there are many more distractions today than in the days of their parents and grandparents. Some distractions are fairly new to the modern generation. For example, many types of social media did not even exist prior to the turn of the 21st century. Traditional entertainment such as radio, TV, and movies, have evolved new forms.
But there is more! Added to traditional entertainment venues have been innumerable social media platforms. Most sites have been launched since the turn of the 21st century. By 1990, personal computers were “the NORM.” The onset of personal computers set the stage for the emergence of social media with its emphasis on “networking.” Personal computers began to assume a foothold in our culture, especially among young people. Email was ubiquitous by 2000. More important was the advent of social media platforms. Along with smartphones, they have transformed our society. These online communications have created networks, communities, and collectives for info sharing, messaging, and other social contacts such as videos. Most young people and many adults now have a substantially different life experience because of the bewildering existence of dozens of social media platforms.
We may ask if the proliferation of information and instant communications has helped or hindered God-awareness or God-belief. The numerous social media platforms were enabled by advances in technology—applications of science. Our blog has linked both science and faith. Ideally, principles of science fortify our faith. God is the author of all truth, including scientific truth.
Modern technology, as an application of science, has the potential to detract from faith in God. It also has the potential to enhance our knowledge of truth and strengthen our belief in God. The parallel in Scripture may be found in Romans 9:21: A potter has the ability to form clay into a vessel of either “honorable use…or dishonorable use.” In our time, science and technology are like clay in the potter’s hands. Many media platforms are beneficial. Others clearly distract us and fill our lives with things other than God. Our belief in God may be diminished. In these perilous days we must make every effort to guard against technology detracting from our belief in God.