Why millennials are leaving the church

How about this answer:

Because millennials are self-entitled, self-absorbed, whining, largely pathetic excuses for humans entrusted with the propagation of our species. (I speak as a member toward the beginning of the “millennial” demarcation…early 80’s.)

I might want to nuance that answer a bit, but there’s more truth than hyperbole.

By contrast, you can read Rachel Held Evans’ response. You will never hear me say, “I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation.” Of course you do — your blog has demonstrated that, time and again.

I was actually more annoyed by her apparent attraction to “high church” forms of the faith (Catholic, Orthodoxy, etc.) — because it appears more “authentic” — which is just another way of expressing the millennial obsession with the self’s “authenticity.” On that point, David Koyzis, at the First Things blog, hits the nail on the head.



  1. I’m a mid-late 80s child, and there’s some hyperbole in your description of millennials (as you acknowledged – I wouldn’t mind seeing you go into more depth later), in many ways it is close to the mark.

    There may be a little truth to what RHE is saying, but if it were really all about evolution and being tired of the culture wars, then mainline churches would be gaining members or at least losing them less quickly.

    On the other hand, though, is it possible that shallow megachurch Christianity has helped create some of the problems with the millennial generation?

    The Christian Humanist has a good response (these guys are great, by the way…their podcast is thoughtful and funny, nothing else like it):

    • Thanks, Joel, that’s a great analysis from The Christian Humanist. I just added them to my feedly reader.

      Yes, I see the megachurch movement as both a cause and an effect of the ideological shift in our culture away from normative objective values to subjective identity exploration — the pathos of megachurchianity is centered on feeling and self-projection.

  2. “Because millennials are self-entitled, self-absorbed, whining, largely pathetic excuses for humans entrusted with the propagation of our species.”

    Is there any generation in the last 5 that hasn’t tried to re-imagine church in it’s own image?

    After all – shallow megachurch christianity arrived from somewhere.

    • Yes, the divide between baby-boomer, gen x, and gen y is arbitrary — we are observing just a greater intensification of the rebellion that was fully articulated by the baby-boomers. And, of course, this then leads us to question whether their parents (the “greatest generation,” so-called) were maybe not-so-great, at least in certain respects.

      And, in truth, we could go back to the Old Testament and find the church re-imagining herself and her God in her own image (mixing Baal and Yahweh).

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