It is by now a well known fact that most young adults are high on spirituality, low on organized religion. (I always joke, what do they want--disorganized religion? :) In case more proof were needed, USA Today recently reported a survey that said that 72% of those surveyed from Generation Y/Millennials said that they were really more spiritual than religious. Here is a USA Today video on this point.
So, why is this younger generation spiritual, but not religious. I believe that these are some of the reasons for this shift:
Their parents were less religious, and they are continuing this trend. Some young adults and teens have NEVER been to a church service.
Religion is associated with being judgmental, narrow-minded, and intolerant towards gays, while these and other lifestyles are being embraced by the culture.
Christian religious expression in the West has sometimes substituted programs and busyness for spiritual practices, such as prayer, Scripture memorization and meditation, fasting, etc. Many who come from Christian homes see this dichotomy and have decided to ditch religion for spirituality.
Eastern religions tend to be more individualistic in their practice. As these faiths have grown in the US, so has an increase in privatized spirituality--even if much of this spirituality is still Christian (belief in God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc.).
A reaction against rule-based religion that can kill the Spirit.
A desire to "pick and choose" one's own spiritual path from a variety of faiths readily available in our increasingly pluralistic society. (Most "religions" don't let you pick and choose--they make you choose between faiths.
So, what are your thoughts about why Millennials are more spiritual than religious? What do you think of the reasons that I have proposed?
You are right on with your observations. I would simply add that this generation is looking for more than the one hour a week at a church building. We often talk about living our faith, but the reality is that we often forget that church happens beyond the church walls.