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6 Degrees Entertainment

Book Reviews
Religion and Generation Z
By: Brian Mountford - Christian Alternative Books, $17.95

Description: In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’ and that of those 70% of the 18-24 age-group claim to have ‘no religion’.

These essays attempt to say why, and are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented.

Verdict: As is made clear from the off, the purpose of these noted essays was to explain a social trend but, in the process of writing, several of the contributors have, as if by chance, produced material which is richly meditative and can be read both for information and as spiritual reflection.

The Editor, Brian Mountford, is concerned that, too often, the religious views of the young are discussed by older clergy and writers but rarely heard first hand. Therefore, this book is a partial remedy for Mountford has written opening and closing chapters, setting the scene and finally asking what future there is for religion.

From the off, Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion opens our collective eyes to two important, and perhaps lesser unveiled facts: The biggest junkyard in history is the one marked Abandoned Religion, abandoned because they are incapable of adapting to the flowing currents of human history [Richard Holloway], and To be rationally sustainable, religions must ally with the best modern science and with textural criticism; they must accept that ancient moral rules must often be adapted to new circumstances and that they should be conducive to universal human flourishing [Keith Ward].

Ergo, both statements go a long way to show that millennials and their like have had a dramatic, if not wholly negative (for the most part) impact on American religious life. That said, and playing Devil’s Advocate, ok, sure, millennials have also earned a reputation for reshaping industries and institutions — shaking up the workplace, transforming dating culture, and rethinking parenthood, but still, the question remains: Why do they not adhere to any of the known religions (publicly or privately?)

For a long time, though, it wasn’t clear whether this youthful defection from religion would be temporary or permanent. It seemed possible that as millennials grew older, at least some would return to a more traditional religious life. But there’s mounting evidence that today’s younger generations may be leaving religion for good.

Some of the reasoning explored within these essays cover bases such as, well, for one thing, many millennials never had strong ties to religion to begin with, which means they were less likely to develop habits or associations that make it easier to return to a religious community.

Also, young adults are also increasingly likely to have a spouse who is nonreligious, which may help reinforce their secular worldview. And changing views about the relationship between morality and religion also appear to have convinced many young parents that religious institutions are simply irrelevant or unnecessary for their children.

But, whatever the true reasoning is behind this seventy per cent figure, Editor Brian Mountford’s collected essays that make up Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion showcase a deep dive into the topic, and one that ultimately may not just have you understanding more about the reasons why, but have you wanting to ask more questions (which is always a good thing with a book, don’t you agree?)

About the Author - Interested in the clash between traditional religious faith and the challenge of secularism, Brian Mountford is a Fellow of St Hilda’s College and an established speaker on contemporary religious issues, leadership and literature.

He is Publisher-at-Large for John Hunt Publishing’s Christian Alternative imprint and writer of the best-selling Christian Atheist - belonging without believing and the anthology, Friday’s Child - poems of suffering and redemption. He lives in Islip, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link