Millennials’ Religious Doubts Double, Causing Campus Atheism Boom
Columbus, OH – Unlike other demographics, Americans 30 and under are
doubting God more than ever before – and organized atheism on campus
is reaping the benefits. The PEW Research Center released a new survey
last week finding that the percent of Millennials reporting doubts
about the existence of God has doubled in five years, from 15% in 2007
to 31% today. No other generation saw a change larger than 2%. The
Secular Student Alliance, a national nonprofit which helps organize
and support nonreligious students, has boomed in the time period.
“Our generation is causing a fundamental shift in how society will see
religion,” said Jesse Galef, the Secular Student Alliance
Communications Director. “The internet has exposed young people to
different worldviews, and they’re carrying their newfound skepticism
onto campus to organize.”
The Secular Student Alliance has exploded with growth, outpacing the
larger trend of doubt. The organization has increased fourfold since
this time 2007, from 81 campus groups then to 357 today. They expect
the trend to continue, not slow down.
“We’re creating a ripple effect through our culture,” continued Galef.
“The more safe places we create for young people to discuss their
doubts, the more they can inspire questions in others.”
The question itself is part of the larger, ongoing Pew Research Center
Values Study. Participants over the years are asked whether they agree
with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.” Millennials –
classified as those born after 1981 – reported disagreeing with the
statement 31% of the time. This is the highest response ever found in
this 25-year report.
Other generations have remained fairly stable in their level of doubt
over the years. The next highest generation, Gen-Xers born between
1965 and 1980, disagreed 17% of the time, up only 1 percent from 2007.
Previous surveys including the 2009 American Religious Identification
Survey had indicated that younger generations were less likely to
self-identify with religion. The American Values Survey is different
in that it sheds light on beliefs rather than affiliation with a
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About the Author
The Secular Student Alliance (www.secularstudents.org) is a 501(c)3
educational nonprofit that organizes and empowers nonreligious
students around the country. Our primary goal is to foster successful
grassroots campus groups which provide a welcoming community for
secular students to discuss their views and promote their secular