A study by St Mary’s University shows that in the UK, only 30% of youths aged 16-29 are religious, with surprisingly only 7% identifying as Anglican and 1% identifying as ‘Church of England’. Hence the question,
Are you religious?
On a rise, 70% of the youth in the UK claim to have ‘no religious affiliation‘. Additionally, having even been labelled ‘generation No-Religion‘ by others, it is clear that the youth, not just in the UK, are finding it difficult to follow a particular faith and are therefore less ‘spiritual’ or theist.
In particular, for youths who identify as atheist, ‘indoctrination’ is a key concern with major religions that are viewed as strict and archaic. People remember the Jonestown massacre, where 900 members indoctrinated in a religious cult committed mass suicide with cyanide fruit punch under the orders of their religious leader. (“Drinking the Kool-Aid” is no longer applied solely to religion). Youths find it hard to adhere to institutional religions because of the exploitation by its leaders and argued ‘false’ or ‘hypocritical’ teachings.
The issue which is SPAC Nation
SPAC Nation, an ‘Evangelical‘ Church has risen to popularity last year for its, potentially inflammatory problems and, exploitation of youths. SPAC Nation has gained media attention for its alleged scamming of money, indebting of students and exploitation of youths with no family or close connections.
Religion is often a way to escape trauma, past lives and a way to foster a closer relationship with God and faith. What potential problems are there for youths who are looking for emotional or spiritual connection? What problems are there when youths attempting to escape dangerous lives in gangs are met with an equally hostile and difficult environment?
As investigated by Panorama, BBC, The Guardian and other major newspapers, SPAC Nation has been accused of financial exploitation led by its leader Pastor Tobi Adegboyega. Members have been encouraged to take out loans in their name and give it to the Pastors or offer ‘donations’ found through other means.
In backlash to SPAC Nation’s actions, ‘Let the Youngers Go’ Marches have occurred and are being planned in the future where members of the public aim to raise attention to the exploitation of youths.
Religion for the youth in the future
SPAC Nation aside, what problems does the increase of atheism pose for religious and non-religious youths? If religion is a topic of contention for youths, the future topic of marriage and child-rearing is also a site of contention with deciding a child’s upbringing.
Education wise, 40% of state schools are religious and have the right to refuse admission to students who do not meet their criteria. Where do children and youths’ study if: (a) they cannot register at a religious school, and (b) they are forced to comply with religious masses, prayers and activity?
Well, there may soon be a change in educational institutions, with Humanists ULK Chief Executive Andrew Copson arguing that “the state ought to address the disproportionate and undue influence of religion in our schools.”
regardless, How would you feel about attending a non-religious educational system? What are your thoughts on institutional religion, indoctrinating or spiritually affirming?
If interested in the report of religion in youths, the link here analyses religion in Europe, have a look and let us now what you think.
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- Religion with the youth – The controversy which is SPAC Nation - 16th January 2020