Teenagers & Theology

by Frank Jones


In his Soul Searching, Christian Smith has given us the fruit of a large study he conducted on our teenagers. It was released in 2005.

What is really striking in this study is Smith's findings of the view of God that is dominant among a majority of these teenagers. He calls it "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." The dominant view, even among evangelical teenagers, is that God made everything and established a moral order, but he does not intervene. Actually, for most he is not even Trinitarian, and the incarnation and resurrection of Christ play little part in church teenager thinking - even in evangelical teenage thinking. They see God as not demanding much from them because he is chiefly engaged in solving their problems and making them feel good. Religion is about experiencing happiness, contentedness, having God solve one's problems and provide stuff like homes, the Internet, iPods, iPads, and iPhones.

This is the widespread view of God within modern culture, not only among adolescents but among many adults as well. It is the view of God most common in Western contexts. (David Wells. God in the Whirlwind, 21)