Generation Y and Faith

RossClifford.jpgHow do Australian young people view issues of faith?

Recent studies show that less than 50% of those aged 13 to 32 classify themselves as Christian.

One study found, “At least 47 per cent of those aged 13 to 17 identified themselves as Christians. About 15 per cent classified themselves as New Age and 7 per cent as having “other” beliefs. Researchers found that active Christians rated helping others and social justice higher than other spirituality types and that teenagers serious about their spirituality were more likely to be volunteers. They were also more likely to be more generous when giving to charity.”

It’s significant that a University of Queensland study found that moving away from traditional beliefs to “trendy”, self-focused religions was not making young adults happier.

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we discussed the studies and asked what the results mean for Australia’s young people.

We also discussed the behaviour of members from Westboro Baptist Church in the US who are planning to picket and protest at any memorial for Western Australian actor Heath Ledger.

Click the audio player below if you want to listen to our conversation.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I think that alot of the christianity being ‘sold’ to many teenagers is in fact a trendy, self focused religion from my experience…. 🙁

  • Onya, Rodney, good talk.

    Where are the Christian role models for young folk?
    – Buddhism has the Dalai Lama
    – New Age has Oprah and numerous flaky mystics and gung-ho motivational gurus

    What’s Christianity got? Not much, unfortunately. (Speaking as a younger Aussie guy).
    – Brian and Bobby Houston, Guy Sebastian, Joyce Meyer, etc. — work for some (Pentecostals, Charismatics, demons-in-the-rafters folk), but all too money-hungry, effeminate, dodgy or flaky for my liking
    – Mark Driscoll is okay — macho, rant-crazy mad, but too much so
    – Tony Campolo is more my style, but ain’t a man’s man

    Who in Aus gonna inspire us? Peter Jensen, George Pell, Fred Nile, puhlease… A heretic like Bishop Spongbob relates better to Gen Y than these guys.

    Tim Costello — good bloke, but ain’t hip and happenin’ Mike Frost, perhaps, but how many young folk know who he is?

    We need role models who can communicate within and through the culture of young people yet preach the gospel in ways that transcend it. Honestly, most young folk don’t know jack about Jesus — just think he was a good moral teacher, loved us, even died for us, and has some neat miraculous powers. He ain’t exactly swallowing up their lifes, but I don’t see many preaching that he should, except Campolo.

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