This era of big data can be overwhelming, but surveys and polls can help your parish in its evangelization efforts. One of the best religious research organizations in America is the Barna Group, which regularly conducts large and well-regarded polls about religious belief. Here’s an interesting graphic from a 2018 poll they conducted about generational barriers to faith:As you can see, barriers to Christian belief vary by generation. For Baby Boomers, it’s the hypocrisy of believers that ranks the highest (which may have links today to certain Church scandals). For Gen Xers and Millenials it’s the same. But when Gen Z is polled – the youngest adults alive today – the problem of evil is their #1 barrier to faith.
Bring this graphic to your next staff meeting and ask yourselves, “What are we doing the break down these barriers to faith?” Are your current programs, homilies, and outreach efforts addressing these problems? Are staff and volunteers trained in how to help overcome these barriers?
This is particularly important with Generation Z, the youngest parishioners in your pews right now. Since the seeds of faith or unbelief are planted very early in a person’s life, it’s probably time to take a look at that question of the problem of evil and begin responding to it.
Knowing why people reject the faith is the first step to developing an effective response to generational barriers to faith.