17 Reasons Why Gen Z Doesn’t Like Religion

The majority of Gen Z identifies as atheist, agnostic, spiritual, or non-religious. This pull from organized religion doesn’t mean they’re pulling away from faith or morals; they may even be more focused on spirit and values than previous generations. These are 17 notable reasons Gen Z doesn’t identify as religious.

Diverse Identity

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Gen Z’s openness to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, with a higher percentage identifying as LGBTQ compared to previous generations, contributes to a distancing from religious institutions that traditionally oppose these identities. According to a study posted on Axios, “about 28% of Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ, compared with 16% of millennials, 7% of Generation X (born 1965–1980), 4% of baby boomers (1946–1964), and 4% of the Silent Generation (1928–1945).”

Liberal and Progressive Values

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Gen Z will account for about 1 in 6 voters in 2024, most of whom will vote Democrat. Gen Z tends to lean more liberal and progressive in their political and social views, which can sometimes clash with conservative religious doctrines.

Digital Natives

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As the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age, Gen Z’s access to a wide range of viewpoints and information online may influence their religious beliefs and practices. Exposure to diverse cultures and religions, partly through social media and the internet, may lead to questioning and reevaluating one’s religious beliefs.

Family Dynamics

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Changes in family structures, including higher rates of single-parent households, may impact religious upbringing and participation. With single-parent households and less focus on traditional families, the focus on religion changes as well. “The parents of millennials and Generation Z did less to encourage regular participation in formal worship services and model religious behaviors in their children than had previous generations,” says the Survey Center on American Life.

Social Justice Orientation

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Gen Z’s strong commitment to social justice issues, such as racial equality and climate change, may not always align with the positions of traditional religious institutions. Those who attended Black Lives Matter protests and marches felt like they were gathering with others who held “common commitments and perspectives,” and that doing so constituted “a meaningful way to make change,” which all sounds a lot like a religious experience.

Mental Health Awareness

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With a growing emphasis on mental health, some may find traditional religious communities lacking in support or understanding of these issues. Historically, religion has not accepted mental illness and has gone so far as to think mentally ill people are possessed.

Scientific and Rationalist Worldview

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A preference for scientific explanations and rationalist approaches to understanding the world may lead some to question religious teachings. We’ve been taught Darwinism over creationism in school for so long that it’s hard not to question what we can’t see or confirm.


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A strong sense of individualism and personal identity may lead Gen Z to seek spirituality outside of organized religion. Many are turning to at-home spiritual practices such as manifestations, journaling, and being in nature.

Skepticism of Authority

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A general skepticism toward authority figures and institutions, including religious ones, is influenced by political and social developments. With more and more spotlight on readily available news, Gen Z also has access to the wrong-doings of religious leaders, which is turning their trust away from religious institutions.

Desire for Authenticity

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Seeking genuine and authentic experiences, Gen Z may perceive some religious practices as outdated or inauthentic. Gen Z is looking for a life that fits their passions, hobbies, and ways of thinking over the perceived hive-mind style of religion.


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In the past, we were generally only surrounded by people similar to us. We can now travel the world in person or online whenever we want, bringing new ideas and cultures to our doorsteps. Increased global connectivity exposes Gen Z to various cultures and religions, fostering a more pluralistic worldview.

Economic Factors

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Economic uncertainties and concerns may lead Gen Z to prioritize practical and immediate concerns over religious participation. When there is a declining economy and increased inflation, real in-the-moment life takes priority over the afterlife. However, according to Hoover.org, “We know empirically by doing cross-country analysis that per capita GDP has a significantly negative effect on religion, both in terms of beliefs and participation. This tendency is gradual as countries grow richer.” So it may be that their parents started turning away from religion when financial times were good.

Search for Meaning

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Many may say the lack of formal religious engagement is a sign of a lack of faith, but according to Deseret News, this doesn’t seem to be the case. “Researchers, however, argue that surveys of religious belief often ask the wrong questions to gauge the faith of youth and young adults. They say that Gen Z—a group that was born from 1997 and later—is eager for spiritual engagement, but the form it takes might confound conventional ideas of worship.”

Community Engagement

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Though a majority of her students “identify as non-religious,” Elizabeth Drescher, a professor of religion at Santa Clara University, says they “still look for social structures to express community cohesion and shared values and stories that create shared meaning.” Many of her students have found that “in a spiritually rich Black Lives Matter movement” and various other social justice causes.

Interpersonal Relationships

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Gen X and millennials were taught to not see labels but to see people. This started the trend toward associating with people based on common religious beliefs, expanding our communities. It’s easy to see how the following generation is valuing personal relationships over institutional affiliations, including religious ones.

Changing Views on Morality

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Religious texts were written in the past, and as humans have changed as a society, religion has failed to keep up with changing world views. With the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, changing gender roles, and much more, Gen Z is walking away from teachings they don’t morally agree with.

Questioning Tradition

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Gen Z is less inclined to follow the tradition of showing up to church on a given day; they want to do something different. “We’ve seen a hunger in Gen Z for more experiential stuff—something they get to participate in rather than receive. They want to belong to a community rather than an audience,” says Pastor Zach Lambert of Restore Austin.

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