A recent study found that, while an increasing number of millenials have little use for organized religion, this does not imply that they have ceased to believe in God:
Carnegie Mellon Universityreleased numbers last week that found a slight majority, 52 percent, of millennials "look to religion" but that a much higher portion, 62 percent, "talk to God."
Kaya Oakes, a writer from Berkeley, Calif., told Vox that millenials seek a "do-it-yourself faith" because "institutional religions fail to welcome the kinds of questions [they] bring to the table."
Carnegie Mellon's research supports previous polls that show young people eschewing religion for myriad reasons but especially because of organized religion's hostility to LGBT people.
The Public Religion Research Institute reported in March, "Among Millennials who no longer identify with their childhood religion, nearly one-third say negative teachings about, or treatment of, gay and lesbian people was either a somewhat important (17 percent) or very important (14 percent) factor in their disaffiliation from religion."
This all strikes me as scanning well with my own experiences of conversations on the topic with millenials. Organized religion, as long as it is perceived as being the stronghold of ongoing homophobia, will be swimming against the stream with younger Americans.
At the same time, this is also a disconfirmation of the idea that the rise of the "nones" in recent surveys indicates a significant uptick in the formal embrace of atheism. Americans continue to believe in God in higher numbers than most of the Western world, but they are increasingly dubious about the connection between God and a set of institutions dedicated to excluding LGBT folks.