Is there a revival of religion amongst the youth?

Our new research would suggest so.

Whilst you would be forgiven for assuming in this day and age that God is in retreat, expecting the youth to be replacing their Bibles with Dawkins’ God Delusion, you would be wrong. There is a palpable Gen Z religious revival. Those of faith within the 18-24 year age bracket are the most likely to believe in a God, to believe that their God is the only God, and to hold that God shapes their moral values. The recent findings of the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life’s survey into faith in Britain show that the youth of today are considerably more zealous than their grandparents’ generation.

Perhaps living in a globalised world where truth is harder to discern than ever before makes the concept of an ultimate truth ever more appealing. Perhaps such a world that appears more troubled and conflict-ridden is drawing Gen Z to God-given moral clarity. Or, perhaps, considering the results point towards a decline in zest for Christianity, young people are being inspired to convert. Indeed the Gen Z respondents were the most likely to have converted in their lifetime, and the most recent census showed that Muslims were the youngest faith group on average. Yet whilst young converts may be on an upward trend, doomsday these results show not.

Whilst the results showed Gen Z to be the most inclined to believe their God was the one true God, they were also the most likely to have friends of another faith and to learn of others’ faith through interaction with them. They also were the most positive about having a Prime Minister of a non-Christian faith – and, considering that the current PM is Hindu, the assumption that young Muslims are likely to be intolerant to Hindus carries little weight, leading us to conclude that Gen Z might well provide the key to a more cohesive Britain.

When the news is awash with accounts of growing religious intolerance, incidents of antisemitism at their highest since records began, and spiking anti-Muslim hate, hope is just what our faith communities need. And whilst hope is what these communities need, a proactive and unapologetic approach to tackling extremism must be a priority for whoever next comes into government. Much will need to be done to ensure these open and tolerant 18-24 year old faithfuls aren’t indoctrinated to hate.

With a study by Policy Exchange showing that 49% of Muslims believe more should be done to tackle extremism, and the younger respondents more likely to agree that Muslims should be the ones doing more, Gen Z are looking to be zealous, tolerant and proactive when it comes to tackling extremism. It may be time to stop damning Gen Z but instead support them to flourish in their tolerance; perhaps we can look to Gen Z to provide a faithful part of the answer to division and hate in Britain.

About the author