A substantial proportion of young people are engaging in herbs and crystals as part of routine spiritual practices, according to a research firm that specializes in surveying youths.
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Springtide Research Institute told CBN’s Faithwire it found 44% of young people between the ages of 13 and 25 “engage with herbs/crystals as a spiritual practice.” Shockingly, 21% do so on a weekly basis.
These results were found in the polling firm’s “State of Religion & Young People 2022” report, underscoring the reality that young people are finding alternative sources of religion and spirituality in an era of rampant secularism and less attachment to Judeo-Christian values.
With culture skewing away from the faith, a vacuum is in its place, and young people are desperately looking to fill the holes.
“Young people today are lonely and desperate to experience a deep sense of connection,” Kevin Singer, head of media and public relations at Springtide, told CBN’s Faithwire. “If that isn’t happening in churches and other faith communities, they will find it elsewhere — typically online — where independent spiritual teachers are making their living.”
Crystals and herbs are two New Age practices some believe hold the power to offer healing or ward off evil spirits, with these elements and practices sparking concern among many Christians.
As GotQuestions.org explains, “According to crystal healers, the careful placing of crystals on a patient’s body is supposed to line up with or stimulate the body’s chakras and promote healing.”
Considering the Bible’s stance on avoiding occultic practices, the use of crystals and herbs for such purposes has sparked no shortage of controversy. Yet young people, increasingly being raised disconnected from Scriptural influence, seem to be more fervently turning to these mechanisms.
“Crystals, in particular, are fostering connection between young people without the added baggage they fear comes with traditional religion,” Singer said. “They also feel crystals are an inclusive expression of spirituality, whereas traditional religion excludes.”
The Springtide data also yielded additional data worth noting. Young people who considered themselves “non-binary” were likelier to engage in crystals and herbs. While 58% of these youths use these practices, just 44% of females and 42% of males said the same.
This same dynamic was observed among gay youths as well, with 53% using crystals and herbs versus 39% of those who are not gay.
And among people of faith, those most likely to use crystals and herbs are Christian Orthodox (73%), those without traditional religious categories (65%), and Latter-Day Saints (64%).
Meanwhile, 40% of Protestants and 36% of those who identify as “just Christian” participate.
Singer cautioned people to be careful assuming young people using crystals and herbs fully understand the spiritual implications and practices.
“We shouldn’t assume that every young person who engages with crystals has a deep well of knowledge and perspective on crystals,” he said. “For some, they’re a cheeky hobby, while for others, their day-to-day decisions are informed by the ‘energies’ inhabiting different relationships and spaces, which crystals help them discern and connect to.”
Understanding this dynamic could help open doors to discuss the spiritual dangers of these practices and what Scripture truly has to say on the matter.
This isn’t the first time Springtide has uncovered fascinating information about such spiritual practices. In fact, the research firm conducted a survey in 2021 and found 51% of 13 to 25-year-olds were engaging in fortune-telling or tarot cards.
It should be noted and reaffirmed that the Bible warns against occultic practices and other elements that seek to place faith in tools, people, and elements outside of God and Scripture.
Using crystals and herbs for such practices — or relying on other elements of witchcraft — violates biblical truth and puts people in spiritual peril.
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