Skip to comments.Author: teens are following a "mutant" Christianity
Posted on 08/28/2010 7:58:04 AM PDT by markomalley
Here's some disturbing news about religious trends among teenagers -- what you might call Teenage Mutant Ninja Christianity.
Read the rest.
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."
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.
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.
Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good -- what the study's researchers called "moralistic therapeutic deism."
lulz, Dean is just upset that teens are following any type Christianity....... =.=
If true, people are in for one *hell* of a disappointment. God made us in His image. Efforts to reverse the process will invariably prove futile.
No God wants you to repent and accept his son Jesus Christ as savior.
13 through 17 year olds are inarticulate and indifferent.
It’s the “Rick Warren-Joel Olsteen-Robert Schuller-Let’s all feel good” plan for salvation. These hucksters are leading people to an eternity of suffering by telling them God wants them to feel good. “And while you’re at it, donate some money so my ministry can reach around the world and help others feel good.” When in truth, the devil is more than happy to make you feel good today for your soul tomorrow.
Most teens can't (or won't) talk coherently about *anything*, even Scandinavian death metal drum technique. They just look at you, rather like catz, and wait for you to get distracted so they can leave.
The fruit of lack of parental involvement and the failed experiment called “youth groups.” Our children are being fed this stuff and then we’re disappointed when they don’t embrace our faith. Ken Ham has had some great material on this recently. In our churches, we teach our young people “Bible stories” and then they go to the government schools and learn all about how the Bible is wrong with “scientific facts”. They are young adults, yet we put them in “youth groups” where they are able to act like little kids.
All the studies I’ve seen in recent years indicate that 90+% of youth leave the church after they graduate from high school. How can we reach the world when we can’t even reach our own kids?
1. This sentence is a wonderful example of the immense difference a comma can make.
2. What you say (comma included) is true, but in the context of today's teens it's not a very helpful statement. They want to know why they should do that. Do you have a good answer? I've learned that teens are surprisingly adept at identifying platitudes, and they're very cynical about both those platitudes and the people who spout them.
In many respects we're living in a post-Christian society. Christian ideas no longer carry the weight they used to; worse, we Christians seem to have lost the ability to answer everyday questions. We tend to take for granted that everybody shares our Christian ideals -- but younger people increasingly do not.
Don't blame the kids for that -- it's our fault. Christianity has gotten fat and lazy. The real task is to get us back to a place where our answers actually have meaning to the people we're trying to reach.
Hmmmm..... Not my experience. I've found that a lot of the teens I meet are smart, well-spoken, and capable of making uncomfortably cogent observations about the world around them.
That was a bit of a joke - my oldest boy is being a pill.
The better question is: why does the Christian message fail to resonate? Not just with our kids, but with the world at large?
Is it really a failure of the Message? Or is it instead a failure of the messenger? Are we perhaps focusing on things other than what Jesus Christ would have said and done?
I’m worried that my high school aged son will not go to church in college. However, I think he will end up going to church when he has kids.
I also think he will send his kids to a private Christian school. He attends a private Christian high school, and he loves it. He hated the public middle school that he attended.
My daughters attended a private Christian school for 4-6 grades. They transferred to another Christian school (my son’s) for 7th. They said the new school was better about applying Biblical principals to everyday life. The Bible was not just stories at the new school.
I wish my son had gone to the Christian school for middle school. I think public middle school poisoned him spiritually.
I think that too many of us take our kids to church, but do not live out Biblical principles in our daily lives.
I know I am definitely guilty of that. Maybe we parents are hypocrits.
I know I turned to God when things go bad (illnesses, job loss, etc), but I don’t know how fervently I seek God during the good times.
He’s afraid that, if he starts out by engaging in conversation about drumming or the Jerry Doyle show, the discussion might veer toward, “Did you finish that English paper? What math lessons did you do today? Oh, look! The lawn is coming in through the windows!”
The high schoolers I know are well-spoken. The middle schoolers are not.
Excellent posts, r9etb!
If we want our children to go to church ... or more importantly, to *be Christians* ... they have to see that our (their parents’) faith is a crucial element in their lives. If we go to church and participate in activities, service, Christian education, and so on, our children should see that we’re doing this because we want to. They should see that we make certain choices and reject others because we love God. They should see that we show fortitude in adversity, with an eye toward eternity.
Welllll....... there's two ways of looking at that. If you actually get a chance to talk to kids about this, you'll probably find that they're often repelled by those who claim to be "living out Biblical principles." Not because the principles themselves are bad, but rather because of the way that some folks behave while (rather publicly) "living them out."
This is an interesting time to be alive. We're probably the last generation to have actually been born into a society that was predominantly based on Christian principles -- we had the luxury of being able to take the old answers for granted, and so we didn't work too hard to properly understand what we believe.
Our kids are growing up in a much different culture than we did. They look at life differently; they see things differently. They don't take for granted a lot of the things that we think are obvious. It does no good for us to continually re-state the "obvious," because it's just not obvious to them. And that's our problem, not theirs.
I remain convinced that Christianity really does have the answers we (and they) need.... but I'm no longer convinced that I know what those questions really are, much less the answers. I think institutional Christianity has lost its way over the past several decades, and it really doesn't understand the Christian message the way it should ... and that's why today's kids are falling away.
We've got some serious work to do.
“Im worried that my high school aged son will not go to church in college.”
I did not raise my girls in a church or in a Christian home. I came to the Lord quite late in life (35) when both of my daughters were on the verge of adulthood. My oldest, out of nowhere told me that she had accepted Christ and was attending church services with her new b/f and his mother. This was about a year after I had been saved and changed my life. I was and still am very proud of her.
My youngest is not saved although she is not hostile to Christ either. She just wants to “get there” on her own. She is so stubborn that I feel if I push her, she will rebel and never come to the Lord.
I have found that wether a child was brought up with a solid Christian foundation or not really is important but so is the example we set as parents, both in public and at home.
You seem to have done quite well and you should have nothing to worry about with your boy, he’ll be just fine.
Well, my husband is not very religious. He doesn’t go to church often. He never reads his Bible. He doesn’t like organized religion. He also is too focused on making money and work. However, he has worked long and hard to provide a private Christian education and to allow me to stay home with the kids.
My son is following a lot in his Dad’s example.
We live in California, and my family lives in Texas. My kids have not spent much time with my whole family until this summer. My dad passed away, and after that my niece got married.
My son really picked up on differences between my husband and I and the rest of my family. He noticed that we don’t drink much, but they do. He also said that he doesn’t think he’ll drink much when he’s an adult. He also noticed that we are not critical of others as much as the rest of my family.
I actually love having a high schooler. He loves discussing moral issues and politics with me. I love that he is finally smart enough to figure things out on his own. He reads the news and then comes and asks me questions. He’s taking AP US History, and he is already asking my opinion of different topics.
You obviously replied without reading the article.
try reading before commenting, you end up with more credibility.
You obviously replied without reading the article.
try reading before commenting, you end up with more credibility.
The kid went away to college. Every once in a while, the kid would write, asking for money, which the parents would send...not a lot, but just enough to get by on.
At the end of the school year, when he returned home for the summer, the parents sat him down and told him that he would have to pay for the rest of his college education. It seems that he was being tested and he had failed. "Failed what test?" the incredulous teen asked. The father asked if he still had the Bible he'd been given at the beginning of the school year. He brought the Bible out of his suitcase...still in its box...and gave it to the father. The father then took the still pristine Bible out of the box and opened it. He then began to go through that Bible and every few pages, he'd pull out money.
Seems that when he gave it to his son, he'd gotten some fresh, crisp $50 and $100 dollar bills and had 'salted' the Bible with the money all throughout. The stash amounted to a few thousand dollars. If the son had even bothered to open it, he'd have found the money. The parents used it as a test to see if the kid would stick to the principles he'd been brought up with...including Bible study. His parents told him that this was a lesson he needed to learn, since they wanted his faith to grow. Turned out to be an expensive lesson for the son.
(So you know, I do not know if this was just a story or if it actually happened. If it did, I'll bet the son never forgot it!)
Good story. I think I’ll do that with some of the books I’m going to give Anoreth while she’s home: Winston Churchill and Lord Acton.
I tell the kids in my Confirmation Class that Jesus didn't suffer horribly, and die on the Cross, just so that we could feel good about ourselves.
Commitment to a vibrant faith community that doesn't clearly preach the Law and the Gospel may produce teens willing and able to change the world, but it won't do a thing for their souls. Saving faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)
Being devoted to a spiritual worldview and able to articulate it clearly is worse than meaningless if it lacks the power to save.
I appreciate your advice, but your comment to this thread other than to me was what, exactly? =.=
I found her conclusions pretty specious. I can’t speak for my eldest, as he’s an adult, on his own. The four at home, however, aren’t likely to fit the column’s descriptions. My eldest daughter comes along to every TLM I go to. We live near a NO parish, but plan on a transition to an FSSP one soon. I don’t feel I need to worry about youth group issues there. And really, I always felt that teens, to some degree, are mutants, regardless of silly articles. My mother used to say that teens are changelings: they look like your kid, but are unreasonable and awkward, and that, if you’re lucky, you get your kid back around 19 or so. Anyway, we do try to make sure that the kids know that all is not sunshine and lollipops.
I’ve heard a similar version (whether or not the actual story really happened, the message is still valid):
A young man was getting ready to graduate college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.Finally, on the morning of his graduation his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.
Curious, but somewhat disappointed the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible. Angrily, he raised his voice at his father and said, With all your money you give me a Bible? and stormed out of the house, leaving the holy book.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care things. When he arrived at his fathers house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart.
He began to search his fathers important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he read those words, a car key dropped from an envelope taped behind the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.
How many times do we miss Gods blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?
You must not know very many home schooled Catholic teens. I assure you that most of the home schooled Catholic teens my own home schooled children hang around with are amazingly articulate and eager to defend the Faith, or engage conversation on any other topics you please to the best of their ability.
Anyone making up such a stupid, null phrase such as this isn't researching anything serious at all.
I’m terribly humor-challenged myself, so I recognize it in others. It’s a sad condition, really. Have a Guinness - it’s good for you even for breakfast - with an egg!
“Its the emerging Church movement heresy. The false doctrine of “God wants to build your self-esteem”. “
No, it’s not. It goes back to James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. He has always stressed self-esteem, which, by definition, is anti-Christian. IF we have any sort of esteem, it is imputed as a result of Christ’s righteousness covering our sins - it is never of self.
Given that James Dobson goes back 30+ years, many of the parents would be familiar with it and pass it on to their children. It’s definitely not new. It has just easily found its “home” with the Warrens, Schullers, etc and their clones.
Actually, I’m generally not humor-challenged myself; the “humor” part of your post was not very clear from your initial post, as I’ve heard similar laments repeatedly, no humor intended. So maybe I should have read further before responding.
Be that as it may, my post still stands. There is a way out of this morass, and it starts with parents resuming their role as the primary educators of their children.
I guess we don't cross paths all that often. The Undead Thread and the NC Forum get to follow the daily adventures of my Bill, the heavy-metal musician. He is actually quite articulate, when he's not avoiding me.
Two of my kids (13 and 12) went to a three-day public speaking seminar last week; the students were from 10 to 17, with 7 or 8 of them being our Catholic homeschoolers. It was very impressive to hear their speeches at the end.
Focusing on the family is nothing close to Olsteen. Even so, whether they copied it off someone or not still doesn’t make it right.
But if you want to go back even farther Oral Roberts and many during that time were preaching “give me the money”. In fact Oral even said God was going to call him home if he didn’t raise a certain amount of money. I think it was $7,000,000. Norman Vincent Peale preached “feel good about yourself” religion.
I wasn’t saying Olsteen, Schuller, Warren et al started it. I was simply saying they’re the famous ones preaching it today. There are less famous ones all over. Here in Houston there are several “get rich quick” mega churches. Two of them are “pastored” by guys whose father was a Baptist Preacher.
I’m always leary of churches that have no official affiliation. You’d think there’s enough churches around that there’d be no need to start a new one.
If the kid HAD opened the Bible he’d have probably spent it all on one big partying weekend. And that’s why I don’t believe the story. But there is a good moral to it.
I believe this. I just got back from a meeting of the CCD teachers at my church. We’re being assigned t-shirts with whistles on them and are to be called “team leaders”. UGH
Our director of religious education told us her daughter is no longer Catholic (why am I not surprised) and thinks we need to make classes “fun”.
I may not be a “fun” teacher but I will say our 6th grade class last year was ready to be treated seriously. Everyone of them was there to the last day.
James Dobson is part of the emerging Church movement in my opinion. Perhaps he just doesn’t know it yet.
I have been decrying the state of CCD on this site for years. I understand exactly what you are saying.
The part of it that aggravates me is not the tackiness of it, but is the fact that the DRE that sets this up is putting the souls of these innocent children at risk through her actions.
Our director of religious education told us her daughter is no longer Catholic (why am I not surprised) and thinks we need to make classes fun.
I am trying 7th Grade this year. I am thinking about opening up with the long version of the St Michael prayer. Sort of an attention getter.
I may not be a fun teacher but I will say our 6th grade class last year was ready to be treated seriously. Everyone of them was there to the last day.
I pray that I have as good a success.