Living In A Post-Buffy World

It wasn’t so long ago that experts were trying to soothe Christian parents about the future of their children with a study that claimed that they are likely to stay with the faith of their parents and weren’t “spiritual seekers” as feared. I questioned the methodology and accuracy of this study (and subsequent book) as too limited to give an accurate picture of todays youth. I have held that there were far more minority-faith adherants, spiritual seekers, and occult dabblers than the “less than 1%” number held forth by this study.

Now the Barna Group (a Christian market research firm) has released the findings of three national studies of over 4000 teens dealing with their interest in the “supernatural”. The study finds that an overwhelming majority of teens (73%) have participated in “psychic or witchcraft-related activity, beyond mere media exposure or horoscope usage.” One third of this number have read a book on Wicca or Witchcraft. Nearly two million teens according to the study claim to have psychic/magical abilities. This naturally makes parents (and conservative Christian groups) anxious about the future of the “Mosaic generation” (aka Generation Y, Millenials, The Net Generation), study author David Kinnaman sums up the worry.

“The Mosaic generation is in a state of spiritual turmoil. They long for personal meaning and they are comfortable with incredible technological and media-driven tools that would enable them to accomplish whatever spiritual goals they choose. But millions of teens are precariously close to simply shelving the Christian faith as irrelevant, uninspiring, and ‘just a phase.’ Millions of previously churched Busters (aka Generation X) ended up rejecting Christian spirituality after high school. Mosaics are in even greater danger of making that leap from faith to doubt.”

In other words, there is a good chance that the modern Pagan population could have an even bigger growth spurt in the years to come. It also points to a generation of children with a more open and pluralistic view of religion. One that could put a dent in the “Christian” make-up of our country. Is the current ascendency of the Christian right the final thrashings of a movement running out of steam? Does the future belong to a generation more likely to have a “mosaic” perspective on faith and spirituality than a dogmatic and unified one? The Barna Group is hoping you will buy a copy of the report to help parents stem the “supernatural” tide, but will it in the end prove too little and too late?

Jason Pitzl-Waters