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).”