A major survey in the U.K. of 4,087 British adults on their attitudes toward religious people revealed that those of Generation Z are less likely to have a negative perception of Christians than millennials are.
According to results from the ComRes survey, released Thursday, 12 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds agreed (and 50 percent disagreed) that Christians are a "negative force in society." Among 25- to 34-year-olds, 14 percent agreed with the statement and 40 percent disagreed.
The youngest cohort is also more likely to say they trust Christians than millennials are. Forty-eight percent of those 18-24 disagreed with the statement "I would be more likely to trust a person with no religious beliefs than a Christian." Among those aged 25-34, 39 percent disagreed.
Other findings show that 11 percent of the younger generation and 14 percent of millennials said they find it harder to talk to someone when they know that person is a Christian.
Around a third from both age groups don't believe "Christians are more tolerant than other people."
Across all age groups, a majority said they never attended church.
The poll revealed that 65 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds never went to church; 9 percent said they are regular churchgoers. Meanwhile, 70 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds never attended church while 11 percent said they regularly attend.
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Krish Kandiah, a theologian and author who commissioned the survey, told The Daily Telegraph that there are tricky elements to measuring how often and why young people today attend church, and suggested that sometimes they visit even if they don't believe in God.
"Things like the Alpha course were designed for people who were coming to church but didn't necessarily believe the stuff," Kandiah said.
"So I think the church has been following this trend for a while, which is maybe why we are seeing this uptick in younger people."
Stuart Haynes, a spokesman for the Church of England diocese of Liverpool, said that cathedrals are often attended by students looking for peace and quiet.
"Not just the cathedral but also a couple of other city center churches certainly attract students, and there's that sense of two things — when you're away from your home and family finding a community that you can connect with, and the other thing is that notion of peace," Haynes said.
"Being a student nowadays, there's a lot of stress and pressure, and having that time to connect and be at peace, and get away from that stress and pressure and have that chill out time is something that we do see.
"You do often get people who wander in, sit quietly for five or ten minutes and then wander off again. It's seen as a safe place to collect your thoughts."
The Christian Post reported on declining church attendances in the CofE in March, and examined a number of strategies the church is using to try and pull young people in.
Adrian Harris, head of the digital team at the CofE, told CP at the time that digital innovations are aimed at reaching younger demographics.
"For example, half of the people who we engage with on Instagram are under the age of 34. On our main website, 17 percent of our audience comes from the 25-34 group," Harris said.
"So we are actually seeing some really encouraging numbers from younger people who are interested in Christianity and what we are doing."