Teens in 2020 are trading in their parents’ Bibles, crucifixes and holy water for Tarot cards, crystals and sage.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, only about 52% of millennials say that they believe in God with “absolute certainty” and about 41% of millennials think that religion is an important aspect in their lives.
So, why are millennials straying from traditional religious doctrines and leaning toward more free spirited spiritual identifications? What is it about spirituality that is so attractive to the younger generations?
Ayanna Foster, a 21-year-old psychology student at Florida A&M University, felt as though her disconnect to the church was a factor in her waivering religious beliefs.
“I grew up questioning everybody including God and I honestly didn’t find a church I could relate to until I was 19, which was a big struggle for me,” Foster said. “Not having a church that spoke to my heart and not feeling like I was being good enough as a Christian played a big part in me feeling lost.”
Foster’s story is one that mirrors those of many millennials and kids of Generation Z — growing up in a fundamentally religious household and straying from the path that was laid before them by their parents.
“I realized that I don’t have a specific belief,” Foster explained. “But I realized I don’t have to put a title on it. I believe in astrology, spirituality, witchcraft and God. I talk to my guides, I talk to God. I talk to my ancestors. That’s just what it is. I guess I’m just a free spirit.”
It can be noted that some of the strict teaching in many religions do not align with the current progressive ideals of young adults we see today. The upcoming generations are ones setting out to demolish every problematic ism — the same isms that are found within the sacred texts of the religions they followed growing up.
Social media plays a vital role in the spreading of these spiritual beliefs and practices.
Brittany, a worker at locally owned metaphysical store Stone Age who declined to provide her last name, has seen firsthand the effect that social media has on young people’s spiritual beliefs.
“Spiritual objects have become more popular with social media like TikTok and Twitter,” Brittany said. “We had a lot of people coming in asking about Tarot cards, pendulums and moldavite.”
Moldavite, a forest green rock formed by the impact of a meteorite over 15 million years ago, surged in popularity on the social media platform TikTok as hundreds of thousands of videos were created dubbing the rock the world’s “most powerful crystal.”
“Every single day we were getting phone calls asking if we sell moldavite and where it could be bought,” Brittany said. “The whole market bought moldavite and could barely keep stock because of importing issues and shortages.”
The power of social media on the spiritual and religious beliefs of young people shouldn’t be overlooked.
Foster feels as though social media helped to further propel her into her spiritual journey.
“I follow many spirituality pages that educate me and give their experiences about their journeys,” Foster said. “Maybe tell me things I didn’t know that make me wanna pick up a book or get on google and learn more about it. Maybe I saw something that I didn’t understand and then I’ll get on Twitter and it’ll explain it deeper for me. Or I’ll go on YouTube and watch others talk about their spiritual journeys and deeper explanations of spirituality.”
Millennials are continuing to carve out their own spiritual path by any means necessary and this shift is anything but unprecedented.