Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Passing on a form of “mutant” Christianity

Kenda Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

Dean says that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity. She says parents are the most important influence on their children’s faith, so places the ultimate blame for teens’ religious apathy on adults. And she says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

Dean drew her conclusions from a study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, where she found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith.

The study included Christians of all stripes — from Catholics to Protestants of both conservative and liberal denominations.

Though three out of four American teenagers claim to be Christian, fewer than half practice their faith, only half deem it important, and most can’t talk coherently about their beliefs, the study found.

Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future. “There are countless studies that show that religious teenagers do better in school, have better relationships with their parents and engage in less high-risk behavior,” she says.



2 Responses to “Passing on a form of “mutant” Christianity”

  1. When brings our sins to mind while we are yet sinners we can make the 180 ‘ turn back to Christ. that is the Greatest Day of Our lives when we do. Whether we are adult or youth. People have the message carried all the time but its usually in criris that we actually hear the message and remember our calling from our youth.

    • Agreed. And as for the young, it’s been said that there really is no such thing as a “second generation Christian”, in that a son or daughter automatically becomes a believer, passed on by heredity. Each new generation –and each new individual within that generation– must make their own choices for themselves.

      A parent may do his or her best to “train up a children in the way they should grow” but all they can do is do their best to pour into them and point them in the right direction. And as you implied, when that young person gets older and has certain experiences, the second part of that verse could kick in; which goes on to say that “when they they are old they will not depart from it [the training and input they have had as kids]”.

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