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Column: Losing our religion – what thirtysomethings believe in now

If we haven’t got God to fall back on what does this generation believe in now? Kate Bellamy takes a lighthearted look at what people follow today.

Kate Bellamy

US UNDER THIRTIES are increasingly turning away from the religious doctrine which covertly or overtly influenced the lives of our parents and grandparents.

In the 2011 census just under 277,000 defined themselves as being of ‘no religion’ and these days most under thirties would only go to mass on a special occasion, if pushed.

Organised atheism is on the rise, there’s the insight of the stars in the tabloid back pages, but there’s not so much holy communion anymore. A lot of us seemingly are losing our religion. So if we haven’t got God to fall back on what does this generation believe in now?

Twitter

Technology has a lot to answer for. Our Twitter followers are our friends, they receive our confession and vindicate our existence. Social media provides the merest hint of fame to keep us all sated, we do matter, 156 followers think so. Of course we need things to tweet about, enter BuzzFeed.com. Our one stop shop for all cultural affairs facts, and lists. Lots of lists. A glimpse into the mind of an average twenty-five-year-old would look a lot like BuzzFeed occasionally interrupted by cute pet tumblrs.

When you feel like crap, watching day time telly or stuck at work cute pet tumblrs offer succour. Even the hardest of hearts will be broken by a clip of a dog skateboarding or a cat doing something human like ironing. The inventors of the internet never guessed we’d spend most of our time online googling “dog dancing”.

Apple products, not the fruit variety, are largely responsible for our evolving evangelism. For many their iPhones/Pods/Pads are an extension of themselves. We can’t remember a world pre-iPhone and we certainly couldn’t live in such a place. Once you go Mac you never go back. Likewise TV on demand.

On-demand TV

No more will RTE tell us what to watch and when, we’ll watch Friends re-runs forever if we want! The idea that we should have to sit down at a set time to watch a programme is absurd now, a breach of our human rights! Instead we’ll threaten to kill anyone that gives spoilers to the entire saved up series we’ve got on demand and that we plan to watch over twenty-four hours, in the dark, in our pants.

Another pants related facet of the way we live now is Sexting. Too busy for romance, what with your internship and Twittering, sure fire off an old sexy text, it’s the new sending flowers, but far less subtle.

If you don’t have a significant other on the scene though your time would be well spent googling Ryan Gosling. Man, myth, and . . . mind melter? He rescues people from getting run over, he cries and he makes great films! An odd selection of character traits but they have caused him to be hand-picked by the populace to effectively be our leader, Ryan God-sling.

The internship

If every now and then we do step outside into the cold, harsh real world it might be for an internship. Since the countries finances went wrong unemployment across 20-30s has taken a bit of a battering – to say the least.

The only options remaining are emigrate or intern advertised as the only way to get a job, by getting a foot in the door while getting no money or a sultry bonus to our social welfare. Due to the inherent lack of funds an internship allows we will of course be dressed in Penneys Finest, the answer to all our sartorial needs. Ask and you shall receive in Penney’s, for a fraction of the price.

Despite most of us not being financially solvent we believe in coffee shops – after interning we may also know a lot about their inner workings. Mocha-locha, super-duper, frappa-crappaccinos to get us through the day. We created a monster when we all started going to Starbucks but now it’s too late.

Busy and important

We can’t really afford the extravagant caffeine creations either, but grabbing one ’on the way’ makes us look busy and important. Just don’t mention we’re on the way to Penneys.

The foundation for our contemporary belief system? Alcohol: An initiator and an inhibitor, alcohol is largely responsible for our actions, either bananas or hanging. It’s there to pick us up after a tough week and bringing us crashing back into reality on a Saturday morning. Like a liquid mammy.

Which leads me to Tayto. The day after, when you’re sure your dying, the only thing that’ll save you is a multi-pack of Tayto. Give us this day our daily Tayto and everything will be ok. We love our spuds, particularly fried and covered in cheese and onion flavouring. Not Tayto chocolate bars though, they are an abomination.

Finally and most importantly, to the solid core of our faith, Mammies. Mammies have far more influence on us than the parish priest. If you’ve been away and return home to a mammy dinner; roast chicken, gravy, the lot, you’re in heaven. If a mammy is cross though, or worse, disappointed you’re praying for forgiveness for days.

Kate Bellamy is a TV and features writer online and in print in Ireland and the UK writing on contemporary women’s issues and television – where possible combining the two. Kate was shortlisted for the Vogue Young Writers Talent Contest this year. She can found tweeting @_KateMate.

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Kate Bellamy

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