Do you believe in a God? Do you believe that all life has a divine purpose? For an increasing number of people in this country these questions have become all but irrelevant, especially to the younger generation. According to a YouGov poll, only 12% of 18 – 24 year olds feel influenced by religious leaders in their daily lives. In comparison to politicians (38%), brands (32%) and celebrities (21%) this figure potentially signals a shift in the focus of society from the spiritual to the material aspects of the world.
Veronica, a Catholic who is studying Textiles at Falmouth University, spoke to TruthFal about her faith:
“For me it gives a sense of community, a sense of purpose and a safety net. I know from personal experience that, if things are getting tough, you have people that will pray for you and pray with you. It also surrounds you with like-minded people who don’t judge you.”
For Veronica, raised as a Catholic by Irish parents, there is often a difference of insight and belief within the community of young Christians. It often arises as a result of being brought into the fold at an early age, or discovering the faith later on in life.
“I think people who haven’t been raised in a religious background are much more open-minded. Coming from a Catholic background, I was told that ‘this is how we do things’ so when I came to uni, I felt I connected to God far better through music and worship, rather than going to church every Sunday and going through the motions.”
For the young people that are not religious, often they find that the spiritual aspect does not merit too much thought, as it does not have a solid enough impact on their lives and future. David Tearse, a 20-year-old student at Nottingham Trent University, told TruthFal:
“I find myself under less pressure to concentrate on things that seem to make less of an impact on my life, such as religious issues. I prefer to focus on things that will make a physical difference to my future, like my university degree.”
What concerns Veronica most about the future of religion in Britain is not the decreasing number of people who are religious, but the acceptance that those who choose to identify with a particular religion will receive.
“I’ve been in contact with people that say I’m stupid for believing in God and that there isn’t any scientific background for it. That’s very hard because you feel as though it’s a personal attack, and when you do come across people like that you pretend to be busy on a Sunday morning than tell them that you’re going to church.”