Radar 'Keeping the Faith' Cover

In today’s Radar (a section of the Sydney Morning Herald) they ran a feature on religion amongst young people. Lia Timson, the journalist, interviewed a number of young people, as well as consulting some other opinions, including mine.

She suggests that “Rumours of the death of religion among young people have been grossly exaggerated.”

Read the full article here. 

 

Here’s an excerpt:

“There is a resurgence of spirituality among youth,” says Jodie McNeill, a theology lecturer at Youthworks College, an Anglican school. “It’s a lot to do with generation Y needing to have experiences rather than explanations.”

 

McNeill leads a new chapter in the life of the church. Using his Blackberry, a blog and two websites, he keeps in touch with students and parishioners at the Sylvania diocese where he is a minister.

 

He also runs Year 13, a program for school leavers who want to make a contribution to the world and their own religious upbringing. Last year, 16 students took the course, which included a trip to disadvantaged communities in Africa. This year, 30 have enrolled and another 50 are studying for a diploma of theology.

 

“We live in totally decadent times,” McNeill says. “We have so much prosperity, we’ve got all the toys – the latest iPod and phones – [yet] young people are wondering how come they are still not happy.

 

“After they immerse themselves in the whole materialistic thing they feel an emptiness and a sentimentalism, to a certain extent … There is a longing for a time when it was right to be an activist and fight for what really mattered.”

 

He also says we live in conflicting times, torn between consumerism and the need to sign up to worthy causes – hence our readiness to buy $2 wristbands and cause-related pins. But for some young people, that is not enough.

 

“It has to do with being post-Christian, as well. Before, kids could ask their parents what it all meant. Now the parents don’t know. There’s a spiritual desert out there. So [interest] is bubbling to the surface.”