A prejudice wants that young people are less and less interested in religion, in belief more generally, and that they are more sensitive to agnosticism, atheism or indifference. A study by the Springtide Research Institute challenges this received idea.
If young people turn away from religious communities, it is not necessarily for lack of interest in spirituality. “Religion has hurt a lot of people,” says Willow, 17, at the Springtide Research Institute who is interested in youth mental health. According to the teenager, if Generation Z are widely tempted by new drugs, such as crystal meth, it is because they perceive them as spiritual. For her part, Willow does not dissociate religion and spirituality:
“I think I've always found spiritual comfort in very religious settings. I've definitely had times when I felt a spiritual connection at a youth summer camp or something. And God really touched me. »
The institute conducted a poll last spring, along with interviews that show that while 68% of 13- to 25-year-olds consider themselves less religious, 77% say they are at least slightly spiritual.
Thus, young people may not attend places of worship massively each week, but affirm that their faith contributes to their overall well-being.
Recalling that the social sciences show a link between well-being and being religious or spiritual, the Springtide Research Institute points out that belonging to a religious community can promote a sense of happiness, while seeing that many people have suffered mentally from religion or spirituality.
Mental health, a concern opening the door to spiritual discussions
According to the study, 53% of young people surveyed consider that the biggest challenge they have faced during the epidemic relates to their mental health and 57% agree that their religious or spiritual practices are important for their mental balance.
The results also show that those who are psychologically unstable are less likely than those who are psychologically stable to say they are thriving spiritually. In addition, according to the study, young people who are connected to a religious or spiritual community seem to have better mental health than others.
Asked about the Christian channel CBN News, Dr. Josh Packard, executive director of the Springtide Research Institute says that Generation Z is strongly in search of meaning and purpose in their lives. "An opening to a higher power [which] could lead to presentations favoring the reception of the Gospel", underlines Billy Hallowell, journalist for the media.