There has been much angst in the blogosphere the past couple of days over a new Pew Survey showing that more Millennials are doubting that God exists than the same group did 5 years ago. Here's how the CNN religion blog put it:
The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God's existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center Survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God's existence, that's a 15-point drop in just five years.
In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God's existence.
More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement, "I never doubt the existence of God," double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.
Much hand-wringing ensued. Was it the culture wars? The media? Permissive parenting? A self-centered society? Out-of-touch churches? Press the panic button! Sound the alarm! What should we do? WHAT CAN WE DO!
To which I want to say, are you reading the same survey I'm reading?
Listen carefully to the question:
"I never doubt the existence of God." Agree or disagree?
Frankly, I want to know who those 68% are (and those of other generations) who never doubt the existence of God. I wonder if they fall into one of these categories:
- People who have never thought about questions of faith one way or another in any depth.
- People who have never encountered something that challenges their faith.
- People who provide what they think ought to be the right answer.
- People who have forgotten that time in the middle of the night when they doubted the existence of God.