A new study from Arizona Christian University suggests that there are significant, statistical differences between generations in regard to spiritual beliefs and behaviors.
ACU’s Cultural Research Center recently conducted the American Worldview Inventory 2021, a survey of the philosophy of life on American adults. The assessment is based on several dozen worldview-related questions covering eight categories of worldview application. The CRC divided participants into four generations: Millennials (born 1984-2002), Gen X (1965-1983), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Builders (1927-1945).
Unsurprisingly, each generation differed greatly when it came to specific beliefs and practices. The CRC research shows that some of the biggest differences are in definitions of success in life, abortion, Biblical practices things like and karma and horoscopes. Millennials and Gen X beliefs align more closely to one another, while Boomers and Builders hold more similar beliefs.
Among the most drastic differences:
- Ninety percent of Builders believe you treat others as you want them to treat you, while less than half of Millennials agree.
- Sixty-six percent of Millennials are willing to try anything at least once compared to 28 percent of Builders.
- Forty-three percent of Millennials stated they either don’t know, don’t care or don’t believe God exists compared to 28 percent of Boomers.
- Nearly half of all Boomers believe that when they die they will go to Heaven only because they confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their savior, compared to only 26 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of Millennials.
Despite the differences, the data shows that there are key similarities among all generations. Regardless of their generation, a majority of Americans call themselves Christian, ranging from a low of 57 percent of Millennials to a high of 83 percent of Builders. With a low of four percent of Millennials to nine percent of Builders, each generation struggles with upholding what the study called a “biblical worldview.”
There is no conclusive reasoning why the generations differ like they do, but generational differences are nothing new. As the world changes politically, technology advances and societal norms are pushed, it is inevitable that generations view life differently. God doesn’t change. But each new generation has a different way (and takes different paths) towards figuring out what that means.