Just stumbled on the website of the “National Study of Youth and Religion”:http://www.youthandreligion.org/.
There’s some interesting stuff in here.
bq. [T]he web has become a significant place of religious connection for a sizable portion of religious U.S. teens. Forty percent of those teens who say that religious faith is extremely important to them report using the Internet to visit religious web sites a few times each month or more often. From “The Internet: A Resource for Religious Teens”:http://www.youthandreligion.org/news/2003 – 1210.html
This fact certainly seems to be reflected in all the “religious blogging”:/Quaker/Quaker_places.php activity out there.
bq. The youth-religion book market, for example, is inundated with works claiming in one way or another that contemporary youth — GenXers, “Busters,” “Millennials,” the “Mosaic” generation, “Generation 2K,” “postmodern kids” and so on — are suspicious of, rebellious against or otherwise alienated from “institutional” or “organized” religion in the United States. U.S. youth, it is claimed, are searching for an “authentic” faith that they find lacking in the (presumably inauthentic) adult church that for youth simply “isn’t cutting it” (Rabey 2001). Youth today are said to be pervasively skeptical, disoriented and irreverent, interested in spirituality but not inclined to be religious (Barna 1995; Beaudoin 2000; Zoba 1999). This standard account of contemporary youth religion has roots going back at least to concerns in the 1960s and ‘70s about how the “generation gap” was undermining the religion of youth. Today, it has become the master frame of published books on youth religion. Even a number of more scholarly books appear to be influenced by this interpretive frame. The problem, however, is that many of these works are journalistic, impressionistic or semi-autobiographical. “Are American Youth Alienated from Organized Religion?”:http://www.youthandreligion.org/publications/docs/Alienation.pdf
This echos themes I explored in “Peace and Twenty-Somethings”:/martink/archives/000100.php, where I argued that a lot of the Quaker peace (and youth) initiatives are models based on what today’s sixty-somethings wish had been around in the 1970s. This last article looks at the mis-information there and then goes on to what I described as _incentuous amplification_ (a military term):
bq. Yet tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of parents, youth ministers, church pastors, denominational leaders, journalists, teachers and others in the reading public consume these books. This, in turn, helps to form a socially constructed reality that might or might not actually match scholars’ best understanding of the empirical truth. This might have consequences in forming (and perhaps reproducing through selffulfilling prophesy) parental expectations, youth self-images and the resource allocations of religious organizations.
This study goes on to conclude that religious youth from “theologically and behaviorially conservative” backgrounds are the least likely to be aliented from their religion. Interesting stuff, for sure. See also: “The ‘young Friends’ problem amongst liberal Friends”:http://beppeblog.blogspot.com/2005/03/young-friends-problem-amongst-liberal.html, Beppeblog’s response to this Quaker Ranter post.