Who Needs Pastors When Therapists Are Available? October 2, 2016

Who Needs Pastors When Therapists Are Available?

When church attendance and religious participation are in decline among younger Americans, perhaps we can also assume many of them no longer see pastors as oracles of wisdom.

Elizabeth King, writing for Quartz, expands on that premise, arguing that Millennials are more likely to deal with personal issues by talking to a therapist instead of a church leader.


… Whereas religion tends to focus on communal worship, therapy is far more focused on the self. Meanwhile, millennials (and young people in general) tend to be more individualistic than other generations and are more willing to change. The fact that the therapeutic space is designed for self-discovery and thinking through its use of open-ended questions fits these needs perfectly. As [therapist Rachel] Kazez told me, in therapy, many millennials feel they can “cultivate their own sense of things and fulfill their own needs” instead of getting the answers pre-packaged from church.

Makes sense to me. When you consider that some of the biggest criticisms of religious institutions involve their handling of sex abuse, LGBT discrimination, women’s rights, etc., why would anyone want to go to a church for help? Pastors have been on the wrong side of the simplest moral issues of our time, so why would we trust them to deal with the far more complicated problems in our lives?

Better to see a therapist who has better advice than “just have faith” and “stop sinning.”

Therapy isn’t a replacement for everything churches offer, of course, but it’s a welcome alternative to religious leaders who have been so wrong on so many important issues.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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