POST CHRISTIAN SENTIMENT
Much has been made of the growing post-Christian sentiment among America’s youngest generation of adults. But how has this well-documented turn away from religion affected Millennials’ views of Christianity’s most sacred text? Has the “brand” of the Bible suffered or significantly shifted among young adults?
In a recent study among Millennials, conducted in partnership with American Bible Society and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Barna Group sought to discover how changing ideas about Christianity might be affecting perceptions of the Bible. This study—the largest Barna Group has ever done on a single generation’s view of the Bible—looked at Millennials’ beliefs, perceptions and practices surrounding Scripture. Three significant—and surprising—insights emerged. 1) Practicing Christian young adults maintain a traditional, high view of Scripture. 2) In contrast, non-Christian Millennials hold ambivalent and sometimes extremely negative perceptions of the Bible and of those who read it. 3) And while the screen age has impacted Bible engagement, print remains Millennials’ favored format for Bible reading.
Jeremiah 1:4-9 — “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth.’”
Like the aforementioned survey above, a large portion of millennials are talking to God and looking to Him for help. Being young and inexperienced in life’s teachings doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in what can happen.
Samuel 17:42 — “And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.”
This comes from the story of David and Goliath, where the little tyke and youngster David slayed the giant Goliath. It shows that no matter the size or strength, it’s possible to tackle even the most intimidating of foes.
Luke 1:26-33 — “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
The Virgin Mary was but a youngling when she first received word that she would be carrying the Son of God with her. Young people continue to face pressures as they grow.
Proverbs 1:8-9 — “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”
This quote is about staying true to your parents and not disrespecting them. And given the Pew Research Center’s findings that more than one-third of millennials are living with their parents despite graduating from college and earning higher education degrees, playing nice with the parents isn’t something young people are skipping out on.
Peter 5:5-9 — “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
It seems young people may already be learning this lesson, too, about humility, given that millennials are more humble than baby boomers, according to a Psychological Science study. Sure, millennials are taking selfies. But otherwise, the tough economic times have made millennials appreciate the things they do have, the study found.
Ephesians 6:1-3 — “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
It’s important to take care of your elders, and that’s something that millennials are definitely doing.
Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 — “Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart’s desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do. Don’t let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren’t going to be young very long.”
This one is very poignant for young people. Since many are living the YOLO life these days, Ecclesiastes’ message to enjoy life for what it is now shows that eventually things change for young people. And like Psychology Today says, there isn’t one finite number that determines old age. It can come at any time.
Luke 11:9 — “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
This quote is all about seeking opportunities and asking God for guidance, which is something that millennials are doing in the modern age. Not only are they searching for jobs, but millennials are researching different volunteer projects to help people in need.
Psalm 25:7 — “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!”
It’s always important for young people to know that what they do as a youngster can be forgiven.