June 12th, 2012
04:49 PM ET
Pew survey: Doubt of God growing quickly among millennials
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.
In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.
More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.
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When asked about doubts of God, no other generation showed a change of more than 2% in the past five years.
The survey found that the percentage of millennials who identify with a religion is remaining constant, while most other generations have seen religious identification increase in the past 10 years.
The findings about millennials and religion were part of a 168-page report that Pew released June 4 but were largely overlooked.
“Notably, people younger than 30 are substantially less likely than older people to say prayer is an important part of their lives,” the report said.
“Research on generational patterns shows that this is not merely a lifecycle effect,” it continued. “The Millennial generation is far less religious than were other preceding generations when they were the same age years ago.”
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The findings are part of Pew’s 2012 American Values Survey, which touches on issues including political partisanship, gay marriage and abortion.
Despite the findings on millennials, the survey shows that the United States continues to be a highly religious nation, with most Americans identifying with a particular faith.
Seventy-six percent of all respondents said prayer is an important part of their lives and agreed that “we all will be called before god at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.” About 80% said they have never doubted the existence of God.
The report points to a growing divide between the youngest and oldest Americans on belief, religion and social issues.
According to Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, the growth in “doubting” youths has led to a surge in secular student groups.
“For a lot of millennial atheists, they are expecting to find a group, they are coming to campus, and if they don’t find one, they are starting one,” Galef said. “This is completely different than what other generations grew up with.”
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The Secular Student Alliance has affiliates on 357 American campuses, Galef said, up from 81 such affiliates in 2007.
Galef says the Internet has created a place for young people to discuss religious doubts.
“It enables anybody to have open discussions without fearing if their parents would find out or what their communities would say,” he said. "The more safe places we create for young people to discuss their doubts, the more they can inspire questions in others."
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
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Sober since 1964 when I was 21 years old. Bill Wilson gave me the big book in October 1968 when I spoke at his 34th anniversary at the New York Hilton. All that and $2.50 gets you a ride on the subway.
Deeds not creeds. Only thing I have to know about a Higher Power? That I'm not it!
I don't drink no matter what and all the rest is conversation in my book. I lead the life I want to. Very grateful but I worked for it and more than half was just dumb luck.
" Luck is the intersection of where preparation meets opportunity'~~~ Seneca 52 B.C.E
' Do your work and I shall know you.'~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"What lies behind me and what lies ahead of me compares very little to what lies within me."~~~ Emerson
Keep the wind at your back.
Learn to become your own best friend.
No one gets out alive.
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"More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007."
Once the old folks die off, it will be a new ball game.
It is difficult to believe in a punishing, moody God. But, instead of dismissing God, I found a God of love and healing.
21st Century Science and Health
Jesus is coming back, but not to pass final judgment on man. He is coming back to burn the bible, shred the koran and flush the torah down the toilet, for these books are the real Satan. They have killed more people, destroyed more civilizations and spread more misery than all the earth’s plagues put together. Even God makes mistakes and its biggest mistake was to allow man to invent religion.