gen z

According to new data from the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible USA 2024 Report,” the willingness to forgive is a powerful indicator of human flourishing. The most recent data, released last week, was predicated, in part, on a proclamation with which respondents were asked to agree or disagree. It read, “I am able to sincerely forgive whatever someone else has done to me, regardless of whether they ever ask for forgiveness or not.”

Respondents’ responses to this statement offered key insights into how a willingness to grant forgiveness — a key concept embedded in the Christian faith — can impact people’s happiness. The report reads, “People who agreed most strongly with that forgiveness statement scored significantly higher than others in Human Flourishing and Hope Agency. People who disagreed scored lower.” The “State of the Bible USA 2024 Report” considers human flourishing a concept that involves “happiness, health, purpose, character, and relationships.” Forgiveness is affiliated with each of these.

The report continues, “Those who ‘agree strongly’ that they can forgive others are a full two points higher on the overall flourishing score (7.6 to 5.4) than those who ‘disagree strongly. We find a similar pattern when we turn to Hope Agency, with a huge disparity between the scores of those who strongly agree or disagree with the forgiveness statement.” Plainly stated: Those who strongly agree they can forgive someone with or without an apology also score much higher on hopefulness, again underscoring the notion that forgiveness can help push people toward positive life experiences.

One interesting area of focus in this most recent research surrounds Generation Z, young adults ages 18 to 27. Despite seeing what the American Bible Society called “rather troubling statistics” about this generation being less connected to the Bible and church — and experiencing less hope and more stress — something truly fascinating happens when the Bible is thrown into the mix. Gen Zers who engage in Scripture are experiencing better lives than their peers who ignore the Bible. “What about those in Gen Z who do engage with Scripture?” Dr. John Plake, editor-in-chief of the State of the Bible series, said in a statement. “Not only do they score higher on the Human Flourishing scale than other young adults who don’t read the Bible — but they have the highest score of any generation.”

Plake said there’s more research to be done in this arena, though there are some theories based on this most recent data. “This suggests that the unique challenges keeping young adults from flourishing are countered by a regular connection with God in Scripture,” he said. As CBN News recently reported, Plake also told CBN News Christians have a “good reason for hope” when it comes to the Gospel’s impact on young people.

He said 21 percent of Generation Z adults said in the “State of the Bible” survey that “they’ve actually increased their use of the Bible within the last year.” This is notable considering the ongoing discussion about generational replacement and younger Americans being less faithful than previous generations.

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