In 2005, Christian Smith published his work Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. He interviewed teenagers across the USA to get a sense of their religious life. He found that very few teenagers are seekers or are spiritual and not religious. In fact, the opposite tends to be true. Teenagers are part of traditional religious communities.
Very, very few American adolescents appear to be caught up in the much discussed phenomenon of “spiritual seeking” by “spiritual but not religious” seekers on a quest for higher meaning. Neither Joy nor Kristen, nor most teens we interviewed, had even heard of the expression “spiritual but not religious,” much less knew what it meant. Contrary to popular perceptions, the vast majority of American adolescents are not spiritual seekers or questers of the type often described by journalists and some scholars, but are instead mostly orientated toward and engaged in conventional religious traditions and communities. (27).
The situation in 2017 may be different than when Smith wrote in 2005. But experience tells me that it is not. Of course, everyone knows a spiritual-but-religious person. But the majority of people that I know of are not spiritual seekers. They are either traditional religious adherents or those who are not very religious—however they define that. [Read more…] about Millennials Like Traditional Religion