Faith and young people, do-it-yourself religion

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Faith is affected by historical conditioning, situations, and experiences that are lived. Finding and living one’s faith authentically today is certainly very difficult. To arrive at a conscious faith it is necessary to take a path that convinces. Young people today are very interested in the themes of faith, but this is less and less associated with a specific religious affiliation.

They seek an open dialogue, but too often they do not find it, they seek concrete answers, but too often they have simplistic ones. Young people are not satisfied, they are skeptical, they want credible explanations, they want to know. Faith very often fails to enter young people, despite the fact that young people are predisposed to accept it.

The strong responsibility of religious institutions is evident, believers who do not identify with a church are clearly increasing and an individual relationship with the divine dimension is increasingly gaining ground. For young people, family educational contexts are also important, but they seem to be less and less disposed towards religion. The latest surveys show how the importance of faith is weakening in the passage from one generation to the next.

Young people and faith today

The crisis of faith in recent years has doubled the percentage of young people who say they do not have faith in ecclesiastical institutions and also the majority of religious figures have little consensus. The difficult relationship with the faith is also manifested through the widespread intolerance of young people in the face of the political role played by the ecclesiastical hierarchies.

This explains on the one hand the growing process of creating opposing groups whose positions for or against are consolidating. On the other hand, the obvious trend for which occasional participation in events and initiatives promoted by religious bodies is increasing, a sign of the emergence of a more individualistic search for the sacred.

What is faith for young people?

Many young people respond to this question by emphasizing the value of the faith’s psychological and relational support, as well as its fundamental function of guiding and offering hope. Religion, on the other hand, seems less and less a point of reference for moral doctrine, and in particular, precisely for those aspects on which it insists most in the public debate.

This confirms how the lack of effective and credible guides in the perception of young people undermines the desire for faith. As already mentioned, a widespread sense of religiosity emerges among young people, but it does not conform to traditional styles. Religion is perceived as an institutionalized system of beliefs, practices, rites, and traditions and young people tend to shy away from anything that appears to be an institution or discipline.

Young people need a more open and flexible relationship with faith to access it. The individualistic approach also often takes the form of independent reading of the Bible. Perhaps to better understand something that has not been clearly explained, to seek direct answers to their doubts. The fact is that we cannot speak to today’s young people about love, strength, hope, faith if we do not discuss with them the substance hidden behind these great words. In fact, many do not lack the goal, they lack the tools to achieve it.