Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Dr. Richard G. Howe Reacts to New Findings That 43 Percent of Millennials ‘Don’t Know, Don’t Care, Don’t Believe God Exists’: The Church Must ‘Prepare an Adequate Response’

Study from American Worldview Inventory 2021 Says That Millennials Are Far More Prone to Reject Traditional Christianity

May 25, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s highly dismaying, but in some ways not surprising. When researchers for The American Worldview Inventory 2021 survey assessed the beliefs of individuals from four different generations—millennials (born 1984-2002); Gen X (1965-1983); baby boomers (1946-1964); and builders (1926-1945)—they found that of all groups, millennials have gone further than others in turning their backs on traditional Christian views.

In one example, nearly half of boomers said that they’ll go to Heaven when they die because they confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as Savior—yet only 26 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of millennials felt that way. But most notably, 43 percent of millennials said they “don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe God exists,” compared to 28 percent of baby boomers who said so. The researchers warned that the beliefs and behaviors of younger Americans “threaten to reshape the nation’s religious parameters beyond recognition” and that these findings represent “a radical spiritual revolution” for “a generation seeking a reimagined world without God, the Bible, or churches.”

Dr. Richard G. Howe, Provost and Norman L. Geisler Chair of Christian Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), commented from a biblical perspective on the survey results.

“Once again, we are confronted with statistics that may startle some Christians,” said Dr. Howe. “The health of the Christian worldview appears increasingly bleak. These trends should not surprise those who believe in the traditional Christian doctrine of the Fall. It didn’t happen overnight. And short of a monumental move of God, we won’t get out of it overnight, if at all this side of heaven.

“An increase in religious diversity is to be expected as immigrants bring their religions and cultures with them,” he added. “Such diversity can enrich everyone’s experience. And for Christians, the mission field is conveniently coming to us. But other reasons are not so encouraging. Historically, there have been cyclical assaults on the integrity of the Bible—namely these:

  • Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Downgrade Controversy’,
  • J. Gresham Machen’s fundamentalist battle with liberal influences at Princeton,
  • The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy’s response to the post-WWII subtle compromise of inerrancy of the Bible, and
  • The current battles within evangelicalism against the erosion of inerrancy.

Dr. Howe continued, “The seeds of postmodern relativism, originally confined to the ivory towers of academia, have now blossomed into a rampant moral and religious relativism. The American church’s increasing anti-intellectualism that emphasized experience over truth has created a church that is anemic in any attempt to contend for the objective truth of Christianity. We are like the sedentary person who has disregarded diet and exercise but is startled to have health problems.

“It’s time for the church to try to understand what is going on around us and prepare an adequate response,” he emphasized. “I am very encouraged that this is exactly what’s beginning to happen.”

Dr. Richard G. Howe was named SES Provost on May 1, 2021. Dr. Howe is a writer as well as a public speaker and debater in churches, conferences, and university campuses on issues concerning Christian apologetics and philosophy. He is past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, has presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and has interacted with such leading Christian thinkers as William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Greg Koukl, and Frank Turek.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and the defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees (along with several for-credit certificates) that uniquely integrate theology, philosophy, and apologetics to build a complete and systematic Christian worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.

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To interview Dr. Richard G. Howe of Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.