This incredible research done by the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill highlights what faith (or better, lack thereof) American teenagers have. The results are shocking. The “Christianity” the profess to have is actually more clearly defined as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:
"A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
“God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
“The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
“God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
“Good people go to heaven when they die.”“
”Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is also “about providing therapeutic benefits to its adherents.” As the researchers explained, “This is not a religion of repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of sovereign divinity, of steadfastly saying one’s prayers, of faithfully observing high holy days, of building character through suffering, of basking in God’s love and grace, of spending oneself in gratitude and love for the cause of social justice, et cetera. Rather, what appears to be the actual dominant religion among U.S. teenagers is centrally about feeling good, happy, secure, at peace. It is about attaining subjective well-being, being able to resolve problems, and getting along amiably with other people.”“
That’s scary. Really scary. What does all this research mean?
”We must now look at the United States of America as missiologists once viewed nations that had never heard the gospel. Indeed, our missiological challenge may be even greater than the confrontation with paganism, for we face a succession of generations who have transformed Christianity into something that bears no resemblance to the faith revealed in the Bible.“
”We now face the challenge of evangelizing a nation that largely considers itself Christian, overwhelmingly believes in some deity, considers itself fervently religious, but has virtually no connection to historic Christianity. Our responsibility is to prepare the church to respond to this new religion, understanding that it represents the greatest competitor to biblical Christianity.“
We must pray for the youth of this nation. What will this nation look like once these teenagers have children and teach them according to their pluralistic beliefs? What if we refused to write off this generation as too hard to reach, prayed for, and set our focus to disciple these teens? Can God not reveal Himself and change hearts?