Church of England in “doomed” shocker

Ruth Gledhill writes for The Times about Making Sense of Generation Y, a report issued by the Church of England, based on a survey of 120 people aged between 15 and 25. (If you’re a little older, like me, you’re on the Gen X-Gen Y cusp, in the MTV Generation, despite which I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than a minute or so of MTV).

The report does away with the popular conception among Christians that the youf have spiritual urges which are currently misdirected towards Harry Potter or throwing shapes in the church of dance, but which the Christianity can tap into and divert for its own purposes. Gledhill quotes the report as saying that “the data indicated that they found meaning and significance in the reality of everyday life, which the popular arts helped them to understand and imbibe.” She says that the Gen Y creed could be stated as β€œThere is no need to posit ultimate significance elsewhere beyond the immediate experience of everyday life” and that “the goal in life of young people was happiness achieved primarily through the family”. The report also reported a lack of feelings of the fear of death or guilt about sex, those pillars upon which Christianity, or at least the sort of Christianity which is best at making copies of itself, must rest.

Amusingly, the report tells the Church not to panic (Gledhill does not record whether it does so in large friendly letters), and by way of consolation, points out that mental health problems in the youth are on the rise (it’s not clear why this is a good thing for Christianity, or rather, I can only think of one, slightly, uncharitable reason why it might be). ETA: OK, so I’m trolling here, as gjm11 points out.

I think this newfound sensibleness in the youth is to be encouraged, and that the church has heard the sound of inevitability. Whether it will yet vault off the railway tracks remains to be seen, but I am, of course, cheering for the oncoming subway train.

9 thoughts on “Church of England in “doomed” shocker

  1. I think their point about mental health is that it seems to contradict the Gen-Y claims that they are happy; and therefore there is hope that they may realise that their worldview is empty, that it is not bringing them happiness, and instead they would look for happiness in Christ.

    1. So far as I can tell from Ruth Gledhill’s article, no one is claiming that the increased prevalence of mental health problems is good news. Paul, I think you’re just being naughty. πŸ™‚

    2. In most of Gledhill’s quotes, Gen Y claim that their aspiration is to be happy in this life, not that they necessarily succeed. It’s only when she mentions mental illness that she says Gen Y believe that “life is generally benign”. I’d like to see the report and find out what the interviewees did say.

      They sound a remarkably well-adjusted bunch, to me, although I imagine the external pressures on them are fearsome. Perhaps its those, rather than the mere fact that they want to be happy with friends and family now, which lead to the increased incidence of mental illness.

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