- (Photo: Fox News video screencap)
Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen has offered that the many distractions Millennials face in life is one of the main reasons why the younger generation seems to be growing less and less religious.
Osteen said in a Fox News interview on Thursday that it was "disappointing" to read the latest State of the Bible survey from the American Bible Society which shows a decline of faith in young adults.
"I do think there are more influences today, distractions, and it's a different day than we grew up in," said the pastor of America's largest church, with more than 52,000 weekly worshipers.
"There's a lot pulling people away, and it does give us a challenge to see what we can do better."
The survey, conducted by Barna Group, found that Millennials (ages 18-29) are more likely to view the Bible skeptically than older adults – 64 percent believe the Bible is sacred literature (compared to 79 percent of all adults), 35 percent believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life (compared to 50 percent of all adults) and 39 percent never read the Bible (compared to 26 percent of all adults).
"American adults, young and old alike, overwhelmingly recognize a moral decline is taking place in the nation," said Roy Peterson, president and CEO of American Bible Society. "As they seek solutions, we hope they will find the Bible as the guidebook that can reverse the decline and help its readers make sense of life."
Osteen argued that despite such polls, his church still sees "a lot of young people that do love God," and offered that Millennials need to see more real people living out their faith.
"Young people can see through phoniness, they are more skeptical," the pastor noted. "I think when they see true people of faith, and not just myself – there are plenty of them out there - it's not just about rules and religion, and joining my denomination, but it's about loving God and doing good for others."
He also talked about his upcoming "Night of Hope" event at New York City's Yankee Stadium in June, which is estimated to attract over 50,000 worshipers. He noted that many who come to the events have not grown up going to church.
Other megachurch pastors, such as Louie Giglio from Passion City Church in Atlanta, have said that young people face a lot of questions and confusion when entering into adulthood.
When asked about the trend of Millennials becoming less religious and leaving the church, Giglio shared with The Christian Post in an interview in March:
"I don't discount the surveys. I think that all of us when we hit the 19, 20, 21, 22 age bracket, we question things in life. That's normal. I think people in church and people out of church do that. We question our background, we test our moorings. I think that's true of everybody. I don't know if I would believe necessarily that Christians, Jesus-following Millennials are leaving the church in large numbers. They may be leaving the church they grew up in, but I don't know that they're completely leaving the church. There are a lot of churches that don't hit the radar."