Need some good news today? On our way to school this morning I shared with my daughter that I had watched as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that he was no longer an atheist. She responding by asking, “But is he a Christian now?” Great question, and I knew what she meant; that doesn’t mean we stop praying for him, right? Zuckerberg was interviewed at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City. (Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4JUbvzM3sQ). At the 25:30 the interviewer ask him, “Who are your mentors, who do you call for advice?” ‘It’s different people for different things. I’ve become more religious,” Zuckerberg answers. Hardly a profession of faith but it’s the reaction of the crowd and interviewer that got my attention. Mark’s answer stunned everyone in the room and even me. For so long Zuckerberg has been openly atheist, and in his answer to the question we see what can happen when a young person encounters the real world for the first time. He says, “The last few years have been very humbling for me. I thought I knew a lot about how to build something. But there’s comfort in knowing there are things that are bigger than you.”
If you are a seasoned Christian, watching and listening to the next generation over the past few years might not seem very hopeful for the future of our faith. We read reports of the death of the Church and traditional values. We see evidence of this on TV and even in our own communities. How can we blame our young people for losing faith in our traditional religious practices? Our political leaders speak of religion but we have seen little evidence of it in their behavior. Ministers continue to be found in compromising situations that require public apologies or dismissal. Hollywood role models are a thing of the past, not to mention the music industry. But somewhere with in all the conflicting and confusing messages our young people are finding their way to faith.
The classification “none” has become a real issue with minister who follow the patterns of church affiliation and attendance. That category, those who have no affiliation, has grown significantly over the past 25 years. But this week, political scientists who study religion have raised the possibility that the number of “nones” may be leveling off. Looking at a set of recent surveys, they suggest Generation Z, broadly defined as the 68 million Americans born after 1996, don’t look any less religious than the millennial generation that came before. Melissa Deckman of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland was first to notice. She examined numbers from across the generations and found the decline was leveling out. In other words, the number of “nones” is not growing. https://religioninpublic.blog/2020/02/10/generation-z-and-religion-what-new-data-show/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-3
Some caution that it is too soon accept or get excited about this but I see this as very good news. With all that is working against the church, the fact that young people continue to be open to the spiritual world gives me hope. Our work is not in vain! If anything we should be encouraged to the point of working harder for Christ. Young people are interested and searching, what will they find? If we are not out there to give them options who will be? Who knows, you might be mentoring the next Mark Zuckerberg! How horrible will it be to find out too late that you missed your opportunity because you didn’t try!
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."Galatians 6:9
Serving the Savior
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