Poll: Most young people identify as ‘spiritual’ but deny organized religion [Op-Ed]

by Seth Udinski
Poll: Most people in Gen Z identify as “spiritual” but deny organized religion

Seth Udinski, FISM News


According to a poll recently released by Springtide Research Institute, most young people between the ages of 13 and 25, commonly known as “Gen Z,” identify as “spiritual” but generally deny organized religion.

The study entitled “The State of Religion & Young People 2021: Navigating Uncertainty,”  showed that 71% of the more than 10,000 young people surveyed claimed that they were at least “slightly religious,” while 78% said they are “spiritual.”

58% of correspondents answered “yes” to the following statement: “I do not like to be told answers about faith and religion. I’d rather discover my own answers.” Additionally, 54% said, “Religious communities try to fix my problem, instead of just being there for me.”

The poll comes to the conclusion that young people are not interested in partaking in a traditional faith according to what that faith commands, but rather according to their own personal comfort and wishes.  The research team described this as “Faith Unbundled.” They said,

An analogy may help to illustrate Faith Unbundled. Think of how music streaming services like Pandora or Spotify unbundle albums: a person can enjoy specific tracks without buying the whole album. Someone can create their own playlists by ‘unbundling’ a variety of albums and ‘bundling’ songs from these many albums and artists to their liking rather than the musician’s original grouping. In essence, young people with unbundled faith will partake in religion, including practices, beliefs, and communities, to the degree that suits them, with no formal or permanent commitment.

Christians understand the flaws in this definition of religious devotion, knowing that Christ calls us to love and serve Him above anything else. This idea of “unbundling” goes against the tenant of inerrancy of scripture which is at the heart of Christianity. If one’s faith becomes a buffet line in which an individual can pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe and which parts they want to discard, then in essence the individual becomes their own god, rather than trusting the one true God. If the Bible is believed to be God’s Word, surely He is powerful enough to preserve the Bible and we must trust it to contain his accurate truth.

At the same time, we must use this to lovingly and graciously exhibit a Christlike character to the young people with whom we interact, knowing that they are seeking meaning and truth, though not always in the right places.