A recent UCLA national survey of more than 112,000 freshman entering 236 universities and colleges revealed some hard to reconcile findings. For example, 80% of the freshman surveyed claimed to have an interest in spirituality, but only 47% thought it was important to seek out opportunities to grow spiritually. 79% said they believed in God, but just 40% thought it was important to follow religious teaching in everyday life.
Huh? Is that really what it means to be spiritual? Is it enough to have thoughts about faith without any consequential response? Are these the responses of a truly spiritually minded generation? I don’t know. On one hand, I’m inclined to think the study more accurately portrays a large group of people who like the idea of being spiritual far more than they like the idea of actually pursuing spirituality. On the other hand, 47% and 40% respectively still represents a whole lot of people who seem to know that it takes personal engagement, and not just sentiment, to become truly spiritual. That’s encouraging.
I do believe this generation is more spiritually sensitive than mine. But it's not enough to be just sensitive. Sensitivity may help us become more tolerant, and perhaps even more curious. But true spirituality demands personal engagement...it demands a long obedience in the same direction. It costs us something. But it is oh so worth it.