These numbers from the Pew Research Center on “the God gap” are about a month old. But I think they were a recent daily dose, and Bloggish sent them to me, and, frankly, they’re worth posting because, though they are not at all surprising, they are a revealing reminder of a generational shift:
One-quarter of all adult Americans under age 30 (25%) are not affiliated with any particular religion, which is more than three times the number of unaffiliated adults who are age 70 and older (8%). Overall, younger Americans tend to be considerably less Protestant and far less religiously affiliated than older Americans. The younger group is also more likely than the adult population as a whole to be atheist or agnostic (7% vs. 4%). However, more than a third (35%) of young adults who have no particular religious affiliation are in the “religious unaffiliated” category, that is, they say that religion is somewhat important or very important in their lives.
That last line reminds me a lot of the UCLA study on spirituality in higher education, the main finding of which is that college students are on a serious spiritual quest, even if they’re not sure what they’re looking for.