America’s teens don’t know the radical message of the Gospel–and we parents are to blame


Two adolescent couples at the 2009 Western Ida...

Yup, “Christian” teenagers in America are more likely than not to believe “moralistic therapeutic deism.” That was sociologist Christian Smith’s coinage, and although he’s not mentioned in the following CNN.com article, the diagnosis remains the same: American Christians are not teaching their young people enough Christianity to get arrested for. Maybe they should check out Mark Van Steenwyk’s and my “Resources for Radical Living” course (coming someday to a bookstore near you).

(CNN) — If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:

Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

Dean 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 is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of “Almost Christian,” a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.

She says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

“If this is the God they’re seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust,” Dean says. “Churches don’t give them enough to be passionate about.”

What traits passionate teens share

Dean drew her conclusions from what she calls one of the most depressing summers of her life. She interviewed teens about their faith after helping conduct research for a controversial study called the National Study of Youth and Religion.

The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith.

You can finish the article on http://www.cnn.com here.

2 responses to “America’s teens don’t know the radical message of the Gospel–and we parents are to blame

  1. Your article is one reason why I created the British website What Is The Gospel?

  2. This is true with my siblings. We grew up in a house that was “Christian.” But my sisters’ ideas of Christianity and mine are vastly different. I chose to accept the belief that Christianity is THE way to God and not so much my siblings. They don’t go to church. They accept a pretty broad spectrum of beliefs. It makes me pretty depressed.

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