Today's Young People and the Future of Religion
The Montreal Gazette last week came out with an article showing statistics which demonstrate that less and less people are staking a claim to a particular religion. This might not come as a shock to most of you who understand that the more information opens up and the more channels of communication become available, the more outlets people have to feel connected to a group and may not have to rely on religious institutions to fill that societal void it may have in the past.
Even more interesting, according to the article, around 50 percent of young people do not associate themselves with any religious group, and this was back in 2004! It's safe to say that the number, within the past 7 years of rapid communication expansion, may have even grown to somewhere around 60 or so percent. In the Netherlands the number is supposed to reach 70 percent by mid century, and that's for the entire population!
The question many have on their minds right now is what will happen when the developing world gets their hands on these new formats of communication, instantly connecting them to new worlds and new perspectives which will include thoughts they've never considered entertaining. It's an exciting time period in which we live to know that by 2013, Liberia will become connected to the internet in a way that will exponentially increase the people's understanding and knowledge capabilities ten fold. Will these citizens still cling so closely to their religious affiliations once they learn more about the alternatives to religious piety or devotion? Or, will the religious institutions and councilmen within the political infrastructures (that are tied to the churches, mosques, synagogues, etc) try to integrate their already dominant ways into a new medium, thus attempting to overshadow other social platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) that incorporate a global approach to understanding what's happening with everyone at anytime around the world.
As the world becomes more connected day by day thanks to development in internet technologies and communication systems, can a religious institution remain prevalent and on the constant minds of its once devoted members. That is to be seen over the next 50 years, and it will surely be interesting!