Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton have written a book about the spiritual condition of American youth titled Soul Searching: The Religious And Spiritual Lives Of American Teenagers. In their studies they found that most American teens live a religion they call “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” This “religion” is defined by these traits:
- A God exists who created and orders 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 solve a problem.
- Good people go to heaven when they die.
Here is my question for you: How is this different from the way you understand and practice Christianity? When I first read these 5 points, my first thought was, “That sounds like a lot of church members I know and have known!”
I will tell you plainly, this is NOT Christianity! For one thing, Jesus isn’t mentioned in or necessary for Moral Therapeutic Deism.
So, I ask again: How is this different from the way you understand and practice Christianity?