Sunday, September 5, 2010

Is God becoming a 'divine therapist' for teen Christians?

Kenda Creasy Dean is a minister and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as the author of "Almost Christian." She also helped to conduct research for a study titled the National Study of Youth and Religion, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teens between 13 and 17 years old.

As part of her work with the study, Prof. Dean personally interviewed Christian young people about their faith. However, during her work with the study, Prof. Dean learned that fewer than half of those she interviewed practiced their faith or deemed practicing faith important, and most could not speak coherently about their beliefs. What was discovered was that, for many teenagers, a belief in God amounted to "moralistic therapeutic deism."

Within "Almost Christian," Prof. Dean speaks to teens who can articulate their beliefs about faith, many of whom come from Mormon or evangelical church backgrounds. In general, though, Prof. Dean's book discusses how many teens adhere to a watered-down kind of Christian faith, which relegates God to being a "divine therapist."

The New York Theological Seminary is an institution dedicated to social justice, multiculturalism, diversity and religious tolerance. The mission of the seminary is to prepare men and women, from every background, for careers in ministry.

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