Barna poll: Gen Z is the most 'post-Christian' generation in US history

A Barna survey has found that Generation Z Americans are the least religious generation in U.S. history. | Pixabay/StockSnap

Americans born between 1999 and 2015, also known as Generation Z, are the least religious generation in the country's history, with many of them increasingly identifying as agnostic, atheist or not religiously unaffiliated.

A new survey conducted by the Barna Group has found that 35 percent of Generation Z teenagers claim to be atheist agnostic or unaffiliated with any religion compared to 30 percent of millennials, 30 percent of Generation X and 26 percent of Baby Boomers.

The Barna Group describes Generation Z as the first truly "post-Christian" generation, noting that many of them are not asserting a religious identity, more than any other generation before them.

The findings of the study revealed that twice as many Generation Z teenagers identify themselves as atheists, compared to the general population (13 percent against six percent of all adults).

Only 59 percent of Generation Z teenagers considered themselves Christian or Catholic, while 65 percent of millennials and Generation X, and 75 percent of Baby Boomers identified as some form of Christian.

The study noted that the percentage of people who hold a biblical worldview drops in each successively younger generation.

While nearly six in 10 of Generation Z teens identified as Christian, Barna found that only four percent held a "biblical worldview." By comparison, 10 percent of Baby Boomers, seven percent of Generation X and six percent of millennials have a biblical worldview.

Only 85 percent of Americans belonging to Generation Z believed that Jesus Christ was "a real person who was crucified by Rome and was actually physically raised from the dead."

The findings also indicated that Generation Z teens are more likely to see science and the Bible as incompatible, compared to previous generations.

Only 28 percent of Generation Z teens believed that science and the Bible are complementary, while 45 percent of Boomers and 36 percent of Generation X respondents said the same.

Other findings revealed that Generation Z nonbelievers appear to be less likely than other non-Christian adults to cite Christians' hypocrisy as a barrier to belief. Twenty-three percent of Generation Z nonbelievers listed Christian hypocrisy as a barrier, while 31 percent of millennials and 25 percent of Boomers said the same.

"[Y]oung Christians are struggling as much as we have seen it in the 20-plus years I have been at Barna and in the 35-plus years of our company to understand how to live out their faith in an increasingly skeptical culture," Barna President David Kinnaman remarked during survey's rollout event at Grace Midtown Church in Atlanta.

"I think about what we might do to use discernment and I am asking you how it is in your church and your context, in your ministry could help kids [today] have a more robust experience of what it means to be Christian. We need to be thinking theologically. We need to challenge them. They are ready to be challenged more than the church is willing to challenge them," he added.