Victoria University religious studies professor Paul Morris says there is evidence of a religious revival among the young.
Dr Morris conducted a survey of 147 students at the university and found of those who had a religious upbringing, half of them were as committed to their faith as when they were growing up.
About 10 per cent continued to practise activities such as praying and meditating, and 18 per cent were more religious than their parents, twice as many as when the first survey was done in 1999.
The findings spanned different faiths, but the students were mainly Christian.
All the Christian churches contacted – Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Pentecostal – say it is too difficult to measure youth numbers, but all say they have seen a change.
The Catholic Church has witnessed a “small increment” of young members involved, with the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney a big part of that. Four thousand young Kiwis crossed the ditch for the event, which Pope Benedict XVI attended.
Christchurch’s Catholic Youth Team director Chris Lysaght says it had previously attracted only about five people a year.
“Now we are organising the next one to go to Rio de Janeiro, and we have 10-plus people interested and I haven’t even advertised anything yet,” he says. “I think youth are more active. We are starting to see them more involved in camps or retreats.”
News category: New Zealand.