Michelle Kent

21 Reasons Why Boomers are Drifting from the Church

Religious communities are known for providing stability, reassurance, and a sense of belonging. In generations past, entire families would attend church without fail, but these numbers have dwindled in recent years. Across America, people of all ages are departing from religious institutions, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers. Here are 21 reasons why more people are abandoning the Christian Faith. 

Scientific Discoveries

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Scientific theories, especially those encompassing evolution, are in clear opposition with Christian origin stories. Many people find that there is more evidence to support scientific discoveries than what they read in the Bible. Miracles and superstitions in scripture are becoming increasingly hard to believe in light of physics and chemistry. 

Media Influences

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With the invention of TikTok and Instagram, more people than ever are sharing their church horror stories or voicing their atheism online. This has led many young Christians to turn their back on the church entirely, influenced by the negative representations they see online. 

Life Challenges

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While a church community can support each other through some of life’s challenges, religion can sometimes get in the way. Grieving the loss of a loved one, going through a divorce, or having an accident can all trigger someone’s skepticism in their faith. 

Negative Experiences in Their Church

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Unfortunately, many people harbor religious trauma or have had negative experiences at their local church. Whether they had a strict religious upbringing or encountered abuse, these psychological impacts are more than enough to make them leave. 

Joining Other Religions

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While Christians are encouraged to learn from other religions, they are taught that the only way to salvation is by worshipping the one true God. But for many people, changing personal beliefs or life events make other religions seem more appealing. They might crave more fluidity, autonomy, or a different set of values. 

Too Authoritarian 

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Challenging authority figures has become the norm in today’s society, with many young people rejecting hierarchical structures. The same goes for Christianity, a religion presenting God as the ultimate leader. 

The Church Structure

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The Christian church is intensely hierarchical and has strict levels of authority. This is particularly important in Catholicism, with a hierarchy of popes and bishops dominating the church. For many people, this hierarchy can feel restrictive or overly traditional, causing them to leave the church in search of more freedom. 

Private Prayer

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While it’s possible to enter church without a congregation, many people opt to pray in the comfort of their homes. Instead of attending Sunday Mass, they might choose to pray at home and practice mindfulness, allowing them to express their devotion in their own way. With so many people going to church at once, there often isn’t room for personalized spirituality.

Discrimination Fears

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Christianity is often coming under fire for its exclusivity, and even discrimination, of certain ethnicities and sexualities. Wishing to embrace inclusivity, or afraid of how their sexual orientation will be viewed by the church, many people stop going altogether. 

Struggles to Find Meaning 

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It’s not uncommon to feel a disconnect between traditional messages and modern values, particularly when it comes to religion. As an ancient text, the Bible can be difficult to derive true meaning from, leading to confusion and alienation. 

Church Misconduct

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In recent years, many scandals and details of abuse within the church have been revealed, often by victims. Not only has this had devastating consequences for those directly affected, it has caused an erosion of trust. Many people are struggling to put their faith in a religion that has led to so much trauma. 

Cliques

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Church congregations are all about community, and having a tight-knit local group to rely on in times of need. But often, highschool-esque cliques begin to form, especially among those who have been attending the church for years. 

Wanting a Freer Schedule

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Participating in religion means attending church services whenever you get the chance. But in the busy modern world, many people struggle to balance their daily responsibilities with church attendance. Such people haven’t forgone their beliefs, but simply can’t fit churchgoing into their busy schedule. 

Cultural Shifts

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Nowadays, people struggle to see how religion can remain relevant in an ever-changing world. There’s an emerging culture of questioning traditions and interrogating why they are still considered important. This cultural shift has caused many believers to abandon the church entirely. 

Changing Personal Beliefs

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It’s rare for someone’s belief system to remain static throughout their life. Humans are constantly changing, and our personal beliefs can look very different as the years go by. For some, this means their attitude towards spirituality changes and they no longer feel the need to worship.

Moral Pressure

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Christianity comes with a strict set of moral codes to abide by, and believers are taught that to fall into sin may compromise their place in heaven. This intense moral pressure is simply too much for some people, who live their lives in fear of doing something to upset God. 

Attendance Pressure

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While the Bible doesn’t mandate church attendance, it certainly encourages frequent congregations. For some Christians, the pressure to attend church comes from their vicar or priest, rather than from God himself. 

Generational Divides

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Young people often see going to church as an activity enjoyed by older generations. Despite churches trying to rebrand and appeal to younger believers, the generational divide is everpresent. 

Digital Alternatives

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In the digital age, people aren’t required to travel physically to church to honor their faith. Instead of leaving the house, many believers find convenience in listening to faith-based podcasts, audiobooks, or interviews. Since the Pandemic created a surge of online church services, the trend seems to have stuck. 

Hypocrisy

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The Bible teaches readers to beware of “counterfeit shepherds” and to avoid hypocrisy. But over the centuries, there have been many cases of hypocritical clergy, who don’t exactly live by the moral rules they preach to others. This can cause people to lose faith and turn their backs on the church.

Authenticity Concerns

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In recent years, authority figures in both the protestant and catholic churches have been accused of being disingenuous and non-authentic. With these doubts entering the spiritual conversation, many Christians are finding it hard to support a church they cannot trust. 

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