Why religion has lost its value to Generation Z

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Grace Edwards

Religion takes new meaning with growing Generation Z. When thinking of religion, do any of these questions sound familiar?

“The new generation has completely forgotten about God,” is a comment regularly made by Baby Boomers, Generation X, and some Millennials. The generational gap makes it even harder for them to understand why.

Sometimes being labeled as “rebellious,” Generation Z has marked itself as the most progressive, diverse, and well-educated generation. While their own difficulties including their mental and physical health, family life, school and work stress, personal identity, and cultural pressure seem insignificant in the eyes of those who have fought world wars, they still advocate for those oppressed and fight for those outside our community.

“Because I was young, I did what I was told. I did what my family did,”  junior Zeinabou Doulla Hassane said. “Now I feel that a person shouldn’t be punished nor forced to practice a religion just because their family does.”

Every religion has its own requirements and expectations, which can be overwhelming for young people. Gender roles, lifestyles, and dietary expectations are outdated and unrealistic to maintain. “Islam has strict rules that have turned me away from it,” Hassane said. “A person should do what makes them happy, not what another man thinks is right.”

Muslims are expected to pray five times a day for three to five minutes. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism recommend vegetarianism and veganism. In some religious cultures, an individual’s relationship status determines their place in their community. Those unmarried past a certain age, especially women, face oppression, and daughters usually get more criticism and less freedom than their brothers.

Not to mention the excessive idea of punishment for some religions. “It seems like everything I genuinely want to do is a sin, [and] I’ll suffer in hell for enjoying,” Hassane said. A lot of Gen Z joke about accepting that they might go to hell, or experience some other punishment for living their life how they prefer. Eternal damnation is a sacrifice they’re willing to make for an enjoyable life.

Religion isn’t entirely lost though. Most young adults don’t want to practice religion — going to church, reading the Bible daily, praying, etc. — but some may still hold on to what they were taught when they were young. God still exists to them. “I will keep my relationship with God and talk to him from time to time,” Hassane added.

Some Gen Z’ers have personally developed a connection with their God.  “I would say my relationship with God is personal,” junior Tania Hernandez said. “Because of that, I do see myself practicing my religion when I’m an adult.”

Young people who value their religion have fun with how they study, and apply what they learn in how they treat others. While being religious, they dress how they feel comfortable, love who they love, and eat what they want. There is a huge difference between feeling obligated to follow a certain way of life just because you know nothing better, and choosing that life for yourself because it makes you happy.

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