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Old 07-06-2009, 09:30 PM
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Default Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism

I read a very interesting book by Michael Horton called Christless Christianity. Dr. Horton writes about a study by sociologist Christian Smith in which Smith studied American teen spirituality from 2001-2005. Smith concluded that American teens (of all faiths and denominations) practice a religion he calls: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism". It can be described by the following tenets:

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and 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 needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Studies show that a vast majority of Americans believe in God and a vast majority label themselves as "Christian"; however, I bet that if they were questioned thoroughly, the majority of Americans would be "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deists" rather than Christians. Do you agree?

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Last edited by Play The Man; 07-06-2009 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play The Man
I read a very interesting book by Michael Horton called Christless Christianity. Dr. Horton writes about a study by sociologist Christian Smith in which Smith studied American teen spirituality from 2001-2005. Smith concluded that American teens (of all faiths and denominations) practice a religion he calls: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism". It can be described by the following tenets:

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and 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 needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when the die.

Studies show that a vast majority of Americans believe in God and a vast majority label themselves as Christian; however, I bet that if they were questioned thoroughly, the majority of Americans would be "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deists" rather than Christians. Do you agree?

Yeah, I agree completely. It's something I've run across a lot & it's kinda cool to have a name to put to the "religion" now.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:37 PM
Crisco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play The Man
I read a very interesting book by Michael Horton called Christless Christianity. Dr. Horton writes about a study by sociologist Christian Smith in which Smith studied American teen spirituality from 2001-2005. Smith concluded that American teens (of all faiths and denominations) practice a religion he calls: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism". It can be described by the following tenets:

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and 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 needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when the die.

Studies show that a vast majority of Americans believe in God and a vast majority label themselves as Christian; however, I bet that if they were questioned thoroughly, the majority of Americans would be "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deists" rather than Christians. Do you agree?

I agree 110% percent.

One thing I notice with my generation more the most is that if ask them if they believe in God they say "yes." If you ask them if they believe the bible is the word of God they will say "no it was written by man" and if you ask them if they believe Jesus was the son of God they will say "No but I believe he was a great man"


It's interesting to me but also expected. The responses show a general lack of interest in self responsibility and fear of what they should know to be true. Man fears more then anything being held accountable before God therefore they make up loopholes in their minds such as...

-You just need to be a nice person to go to heaven.

-I believe in God just not how everyone says.

-Man is flawed so is the bible.

-God is so forgiving I don't think anyone really goes to hell.

-I believe in a force just not sure what it is.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:46 PM
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Bingo. As one who has taught college students for 32 years, I would say that this describes the attitude of a lot of them. This view became apparent to me around 1995. This view is already starting to show its' influence in several ways.

One of the most disturbing to me is the "re-branding" of some churches to appeal more to the "un-churched". They have dropped denominational ties. There has also been the rise of the "non-denominational" churches. The "liberalization" of some of the mainline protestant denominations is also part of this trend, and may have been the origin of it.

To those who support it I ask this: what is your external reference to define what is right or even "good"?

Is the world going to the devil? It would appear so.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play The Man
I read a very interesting book by Michael Horton called Christless Christianity. Dr. Horton writes about a study by sociologist Christian Smith in which Smith studied American teen spirituality from 2001-2005. Smith concluded that American teens (of all faiths and denominations) practice a religion he calls: "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism". It can be described by the following tenets:

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and 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 needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Studies show that a vast majority of Americans believe in God and a vast majority label themselves as "Christian"; however, I bet that if they were questioned thoroughly, the majority of Americans would be "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deists" rather than Christians. Do you agree?


Yes, mixed with post modernist thinking! Have you ever read the book "The Death Of Truth" by Dennis McCallum? Great book!

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Truth-Mu.../dp/1556617240
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CAVEMAN
Yes, mixed with post modernist thinking! Have you ever read the book "The Death Of Truth" by Dennis McCallum? Great book!

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Truth-Mu.../dp/1556617240
No, but I will put it on my reading list. Thank you for the recommendation.
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--Hugh Latimer, October 16, 1555
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play The Man
No, but I will put it on my reading list. Thank you for the recommendation.
Me too! Just now ordered this!
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:46 PM
adamt adamt is offline
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studies have shown that 70-81% of all teenagers that claim to be christians abandon their "faith" after they graduate high school.

Now I propose a different question, one that should make this thread producive versus merely awe inspiring and entertaining.

What went wrong and How to fix it?

I think that would be better than most bible studies if we could figure that one out, which I have strong opinions already, but don't want to start the discussion.

Who knows, this thread could change the way some person rears their kids, to NOT abandon the faith after they leave their parents home
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