Douglas MacArthur said, “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
Today on OurValues.org we’ll address MacArthur’s first topic: faith. I’m not sure the old warrior meant faith as in religious faith, but that’s the way we’ll look at it.
Getting older strengthens religious beliefs and commitments in America, according to just-released findings from a new survey on aging by the Pew Research Center.
Starting with the young, more Americans in every age group say they attend religious services on at least a weekly basis. For example, 48% of Americans 65 and up frequently go to church or religious services, compared with 34% of those under 30.
Only 7% of Americans 65 and up said that they had no religious affiliation or were agnostic or atheist. That contrasts with 25% of Americans under 30 who report the same. Other surveys I’ve seen also report that today’s youth are more likely than youth in the past to say they have no religious affiliation.
About a third of Americans 65 and older say their faith has become more important as they grow older. And, 43% of those 65+ who also suffered serious illness or depression said their faith deepened.
What is your personal experience of age and religion?
Has your faith strengthened as time goes by?
Have you observed the same generational differences reported here?
And, the all-important question: What do you think all this will mean for how Americans of different ages treat one another?
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