The Straits Times has published a feature on the rising number of non-religious youth in Singapore, quoting several academics, religious leaders and one of our members. Our organisation was also mentioned for our efforts at interfaith dialogues as a voice for the non-religious, which tend to be “excluded and forgotten”.
Points brought up by academics and religious leaders:
- The rise in is in tandem with an increasingly educated, and more common for individuals who grew up in families where religion was already nominally practised.
- Traditional religions have also been slow to engage young people and help them appreciate their faith.
Change in attitudes among the young, who have become more independent in their thinking.
- Exposure to range of ideologies, which results in a spectrum of views within the non-religious category.
- Relative stability of a country also means there is less concern about the future because the present is “non-threatening”. Less incentive to look to religion for divine intervention or for security.
- Multi- religious make-up of Singapore and the open-door policy of religious institutions here facilitate “shopping” for a religion.
- Some young people could also be identifying more with liberal ideologies that clash with religious teachings on topics such as homosexuality.
- High-profile failures of institutional religions to uphold their credibility as a moral voice, which may also have turned some people away from religion.