The Twentysomething Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults

Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-19-093135-3
Sociologist Clydesdale (The Purposeful Graduate) and religious studies professor Garces-Foley (Crossing the Ethnic Divide) combine their respective expertise in this persuasively argued empirical study of the spiritual beliefs and practices of America’s 42.7 million adults in their 20s. Using data from their national survey and ethnographic interviews, the two tell “an optimistic story” from the 1,880 members of their study, which showed that belief and practice among the 71% of 20-somethings who are affiliated with a religion remained an important part of their lives. They also contribute to the characterization of those young adults known as “nones”—those affiliated with no religion—arguing (among other surprising things) that one out of four of this group occasionally attends religious worship services and that 20% of them pray weekly. Referencing recent Pew Research studies, the authors show that, while church attendance and adherence to traditional religious doctrines is on the decline, interest in spirituality over the long term has remained largely the same. Refuting a popular narrative of religious decline among the young, they instead characterize young adults as “postmodern pilgrims” free to choose religious, spiritual, or secular paths. Any reader interested in the changing religiosity of America will be edified by Clydesdale and Garces-Foley’s revealing findings. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 04/29/2019
Release date: 08/02/2019
Genre: Religion
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