Christian Smith and the National Study of Youth and Religion at UNC- Chapel Hill conducted research on our teenagers. Their findings help explain some of the religious thought patterns and worldview of our teens. They labeled their finding as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Wow, that is a mouth full, but here are their findings in a nut-shell.
1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”
Our teenagers are receiving this message from somewhere. I doubt that the origin of this belief system springs from the teens themselves. They are having this system exhibited to them from another source. One of those sources is of course, we adults.
Do you see what is missing? A saving relationship with Jesus Christ! This identified worldview is works based and morality based. Being good has replaced being saved. They have missed the whole point about our need for salvation because our moral actions lack any power to bridge the gap between us and God. Only Jesus can do that.
Where is this coming from? Well look around. You want have to look very far. You may have to look only as far as the closest mirror. That is not a judgment on just you. I have to do the same. Am I showing the teens in my life that it is all about grace. I know I try every day to do that but sometimes I am sure I fail. I often fail to consult God about what I consider the small things. I may not pray with the intent and passion that needs to be present. I may emphasis being a ‘good’ boy or girl without teaching the true fallen nature of man and our desperate need for Him to pull us from the abyss.
We are in a hole and no amount of goodness is going to get us out of that hole. We may dig and scratch at the surface of that hole but all it does is drown us even more in dirt. The more we struggle against the truth of our predicament, the more trapped we become. We need someone who is not in that hole to pull us to freedom. The only one who qualifies for that is Jesus Christ.
This worldview has ushered in pluralism, Many think that there are truths in all religions. They are teaching ‘morality’ but they lack saving power. Their focus is wrong. It is not man who earns salvation. If it was, then there would be no need for the cross. Think about it! What message are you preaching?