A new report released by the American Bible Society found that Generation Z's relationship with the Bible is limited and precarious.
In a new chapter released on Tuesday, the ABS' "State of the Bible – USA 2021" survey concluded that the relationship that individuals aged between nine and 24 have mixed relationships with Scripture.
The data concluded that only nine per cent of Gen Z (born from the late nineties onwards) would be considered "Scripture Engaged" - a term the Society uses to describe someone who constantly interacts with their Bible or it provides their core values. Forty-seven per cent of Gen Z were "Bible Disengaged."
According to the Society, only 34 per cent of Gen Z would be considered "Bible Users," anyone who reads their Bible three or four times a year. This portion of the population is slightly smaller than the average population (43 per cent) of Bible Users.
2020 also does not appear to have impacted Gen Z's tendencies to read Scripture. "The turmoil of 2020 did not spark greater Bible use among teenagers. Gen Z youth (27 per cent) are more likely than Gen Z adults (19 per cent) or Millennials (9 per cent) to say they decreased their Bible use in the past year." writes the Society in the report.
Gen Z youth (15-17) were also less influenced by Scripture. "When asked about the Bible's importance to sustaining key American ideals, youth in Gen Z were more likely than adult members of their generation, and far more likely than older adults, to be undecided." Many of the Gen Z youth respondents expressed that they were uncertain that Scripture was essential to sustain Democracy, Justice, Liberty and Unity.
When asked if they believed whether the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon were all different expressions of the same spiritual truths, 33 per cent of Gen Z Youth expressed that they did not agree or disagree. They also hold much lower views of Scripture. Only 18 per cent of Gen Z youth affirmed that the Bible had everything someone would need to live a meaningful life. In comparison, 20 per cent disagreed with that same query.
While some may see this data as depressing, the Society notes the slight increase in Bible-reading habits between Gen Z adults and Gen Z youth as proof that all of these low numbers may change with maturation. "For all the handwringing about Millennials, Gen Z's immediate elders suggest the picture can change significantly even in one's late twenties and thirties, where adults show higher levels of Bible engagement, confidence in their own beliefs, and engagement with their faith."
The State of the Bible Survey is completed annually in partnership with the Barna Group and released in chapter segments.