We wanted to cast our nets a little farther: How does someone outside the U.S. feel about Millennials and religion? How does someone outside Christianity view church and faith? Here’s your challenging view of the day, from a Millennial atheist from Europe. (She wanted us to be sure we included, “This is purely based on European observations, not sure if these are all the same in the USA.” Thanks Melissa for contributing to the conversation!)
What are some strengths and weaknesses you see among Millennials as a generation?
“We are the first generation with the full awareness of what’s going on in the world due to internet and active social media. I think this has its pros and cons. In a way, it is good to be connected to the world 24/7 and see what is going on (wars, strikes, politics, etc.). It creates some sort of awareness. On the other hand, I think it doesn’t create a social life. Being active on social media such as Facebook doesn’t compare to being in a bar with people. Millennials are disconnected from reality in a way. I also feel that the way of thinking is different than a few decades before. It is becoming more and more common to not be religious, for example, or to start with children later than was formerly expected.”
What are issues you see with organized religion?
“I do feel that a lot of people are trying to push religion on you. There is not a lot of acceptance towards atheists or other religions. That’s what I don’t like about church. I think the statement ‘Live and let live’ is probably in its place here.”
How would you describe “church”?
“There is a difference between active and passive believers. The active believers go to church every Sunday, while the passive ones are only there during Christmas. I feel like the hardcore people go to church but those are often the ones that are less accepting.
How often does faith or religious beliefs affect your day to day life?
“They don’t affect my decisions, but other people’s do. There is currently a debate in the Netherlands about vaccinations and religion. There are some people here that don’t vaccinate their children, because “That’s not God’s will.” They are not willing to accept technology when it comes to health issues.”
In what direction do you feel Christianity is headed?
“I feel like religion is becoming less and less popular. Churches here are closing down because of the lack of people attending and a lot of young people don’t even bother to show up at church (mostly because they themselves don’t have a religion).”
I’m an atheist in the US and I agree with her statement. I was raised Christian, and the consensus from most was, “don’t question God.” It is easy to go to church every week–pray–listen to christian music–watch christian movies–have christian friends; at the end of the day your in a christian bubble… When you go out into the world and learn that life just doesn’t fit into that bubble, and that the perfect loving god you once talked to every day actually is not as moral as you once believed (slavery, sexism, genocide, rape, murder) naturally you find yourself in a position to either believe without questioning (blind faith/god can do no wrong) or decide maybe Christianity is not for you.
What I realized, at the end of the day, you where born into your religion… What makes your’s different from someone that was born Muslim, or Buddhist, or any number of religions from different cultures around the world. How can anyone say they own the absolute truth? To me, that is a scary notion indeed…
I do however have respect for anyone who does believe, and I think it is everyone’s personal choice to chose what path is right for them (unless it infringes on others rights, or causes harm). I think its awesome that you are reaching out to find opinions directly from the source! Most of my friends are Christians, and I have several that are of different faiths (or none).
LikeLiked by 1 person
Love it, brother! Thanks for sharing. We really feel that the open-mindedness of Millennials can lead the way to cooperation between Christian faith and other faiths, between faith in general and non faith. There is so much we share in common, especially in the things we want to do to improve the world. And perhaps uniquely as a generation, we seem to encourage doubt – it’s only by doubting what you were taught and digging deeper with an open mind that you’ll become sure of how wrong or right you were!
LikeLiked by 1 person