"Many of them are people who would otherwise be in church," Putnam said. "They have the same attitidues [sic] and values as people who are in church, but they grew up in a period in which being religious meant being politically conservative, especially on social issues."Putnam argues that this fact will affect the political sphere for years to come. He also believes this will heighten the debate about the decline of a Christian America, he believes (like me) that religion will adapt:
Putnam says that in the past two decades, many young people began to view organized religion as a source of "intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views," and therefore stopped going to church.
Given that today's young "nones" probably would be in church if they didn't associate religion with far-right political views, he says, new faith groups may evolve to serve them.
"Jesus said, 'Be fishers of men,'" says Putnam, "and there's this pool with a lot of fish in it and no fishermen right now."
In the end, he says, this "stunning" trend of young people becoming less religious could lead to America's next great burst of religious innovation.