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?

1 Comment »

  1. I think Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has occurred as a result of the teaching of tolerance in our Public Schools and even in much of Corporate America. This teaching has spilled over into every facet of public life and has its roots in moral relativism.

    What really has given me alarm is that it is usually sought after and paid for with our own tax dollars. Like the snake that slowly spits on its victim to allow for easy swollowing, this intentional lie is about to swallow this generation before our very eyes.

    “I am OK, and you are OK, and God is too loving to judge us” is the mantra of many theological schools in our land. Acceptance of homosexuality and every view, no matter how unfounded by the Bible, is accepted throughout liberal Christianity. Sin is more a concept of the past and self esteem is more important than reality of our fallen state.

    Recently, in a conversation with a previous VCA student who attends a Christian University, I discovered that the individual and not the family is the basic building block of society. Therefore, individualistic needs trump the needs of family and society. ‘It is all about me and my needs” is an idea that goes hand in hand with this whole system.

    Kevin, you are right to challenge us to examine ourselves. We must fight against this false system of belief with every word that proceeds from our mouths. We do not all have formal training in Apologetics, but we are all called to be ready to give a defense of our faith. Like those who falsely seek peace and to not ruffle any feathers, we must not succumb to not speaking the truth in love. Jesus said in Matt. 10:34 that He did not come to bring peace in our time, but a sword. The best fight of the enemy is to present as many so-called truths to us that we do not know what is true. This generation is caught in a smoke screen from the enemy and people are confused. This study is a wake up call, and these false ideas must be cast down in Jesus’ name.

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