February 07, 2018
It seems there's good news and bad news when it comes to the latest survey data on young people -- the devil (or angel) is in the details. The Barna Group, which does surveys both of the general population and of Christians, recently issued a major report on "Generation Z" -- the post-millennial generation that includes today's teenagers aged 13 to 18. Barna reports that they rate a number of factors -- professional or educational achievement, hobbies and pastimes, gender and sexuality, and friends -- as more important to their "sense of self" than family background or religion. They are also "de-prioritizing family" in their goals for the near future -- nearly two thirds say they want to finish their education, start a career, and be financially independent before they are thirty, but only one in five say they want to be married by that point.
That's a survey of the whole population, though -- only 42 percent of whom attend church and only nine percent of whom are what Barna calls "engaged Christians." The good news, though, comes from another survey showing that students who graduate from evangelical Protestant high schools have a very different trajectory in life. A survey of U.S. and Canadian young adults by Cardus, a Canadian think tank, shows that such graduates "are more likely to be married and to have children," as well as to be active in a range of religious activities. Once again, the social sciences reinforce the biblical truth that if we "train up a child" according to God's way (Proverbs 22:6), it makes a difference.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.