In the United States, its citizens are categorized by their date of birth into four commonly known generations. The individuals born anytime before 1946 are considered Pre-Boomers, individuals born between 1946 and 1964 are known as Boomers, individuals born between 1965 and 1976 are known as Generation X, and last but not least is Generation Y, which are individuals born anytime after 1977. The individuals categorized in each of these generations tend to share similar values and views on things such as religion, culture and politics. These segregated differences in views are also known as generational gaps.
“A generation gap is commonly perceived to refer to differences between generations that cause conflict and complicate communication, creating a gap. ” (Adcox, 2012) Research shows that there are many other differences between each generation in America, however the generational differences in attitudes toward religion tend to be very apparent. During this study of the generational differences in attitudes toward religion, the research center made three statements giving Americans the option to agree or completely agree with each one.
The three statements included: “Prayer is an important part of my daily life, We will all be called before God at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins, and I never doubt the existence of God. ” (Pew Research Center Publications, 2007) In past years, eight out of ten Americans agreed with these three statements and the agreement of these three statements between the generations rose dramatically during the 1990’s. Then , the majority of Americans believed that religion and personal beliefs were extremely important and a vast majority belonged to a religious affiliation.
However, the percentage of generational agreement has started to fall within recent years as the new generations start to come about. During the years of 1987 through 2007, The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press also conducted a study in hopes of comparing the religious attitudes of each generation. The study showed that while the majority of Americans have remained religious throughout the years in both their practices and beliefs, the percentage of Americans that expressed strong religious beliefs have dwindled down drastically since the 1990’s.
Not surprisingly, the percentage of individuals who chose not to be affiliated with any one religion has increased with each new generation, showing a decrease in religious commitment. The study showed that between the years 2006 and 2007, 19% of Generation Y, 14% of Generation X, 11% of Boomers, and 5% of Pre-Boomers were either atheist, agnostic, or had no religion. There have always been and will always be differences between each generation and their views on certain hot topics, such as religion.
As new generations come about, I feel that the attitude towards religion in America will continue to decrease on a level of importance as well as the level of beliefs. The newer generations will of course outlast the older generations which will then in turn outlast their beliefs regarding religion and its importance. The newer generations will instill their values of religious importance on to the next generation and slowly, I believe religion may no longer be of any importance to the majority of Americans.
References: Looking at the Generation Gap: Identifying Generational Differences and Their Causes. Adcox, Susan. (2012). Retrieved on July 5, 2012, from: About. com: http://grandparents. about. com/od/grandparentingtoday/a/GenerationGap. htm Trends in Attitudes Toward Religion and Social Issues: 1987-2007. Pew Research Center Publications. (2007). Retrieved on July 5, 2012, from: Pew Research Center: Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World: http://pewresearch. org/pubs/614/religion-social-issues
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