Is Facebook killing the church?

April 23, 2011

This blog post by Richard Beck last year attributed the recent sharp decline in church attendance by young adults to the fact that today’s YAs don’t need the social aspects of church the way their predecessors did, because they have Facebook and other electronic means of networking instead. A commenter argued  on the other hand that previous cohorts of twenty-somethings also drifted away from church, only to come back when they started to raise families and wanted “to positively influence their children,” so there was no reason to despair of the same happening with the young people of today.

I however have come to suspect that reason for my generation coming back to church in our forties had less to do with the often-stated interest in moral training for the kids, than with the fact that we ourselves were finding it harder to socialize than when we were younger – what with raising kids, yes, but also living in suburbs, working hard on careers, suffering the general loss of energy that comes with age, no longer able to stay out as late at night or to drink or eat as much and feel good about it… many of these factors didn’t apply to me personally, but applied to so many of my old friends that I was affected  by them indirectly… the one thing I miss most about being young is having a significant supply of bright vibrant unattached friends to hang out with at odd hours… Anyway, if this was the real reason for our return to church, then the full impact of the Social Media revolution has not yet been felt – because when today’s twenty-somethings are in their forties they will have networking resources that we did not.

Whether church-as-we-know-it survives at all is very much an open question.


2 Responses to “Is Facebook killing the church?”

  1. Claude Tusk Says:

    So long as Jewish kids need bar/bas mitzvahs, their parents will be joining synagogues for 5-8 years in advance!

  2. allogenes Says:

    There is that, of course…
    Did you see the article this week – I think it was in the Globe, so maybe not – about people repeating their bar/bat mitzvah party 10 years later, when they’re old enough to enjoy it?

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