Friday, September 23, 2011
Why you should be concerned about moralistic therapeutic deism?
What is moralistic therapeutic deism?
Moralistic therapeutic deism is a term coined by Christian Smith in his book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. Smith followed up with another book called Souls in Transition, in which he went back and interviewed the same people during their early twenties. I'll provide some links with more details below, but I would like to take a small amount of your time to summarize what I have learned from what Smith and others discovered.
Moralistic therapeutic deism has become the predominate religion among teens and twenty-somethings. By extension we can presume it is the message they are getting from their parents and churches. Let's take each of the three words separately to get a handle on what this means.
Moralistic--We need to learn to be good, nice and polite and not hurt others.
Therapeutic--God wants us to feel good about ourselves and our circumstances. He wants us happy.
Deism--There is a God out there. He doesn't have much to do with me as long as I'm nice and doing good. He pretty much is not involved in day-to-day events in my life or in the world. I don't bother him and he doesn't bother me.
The point I want to make in this short article is to say that the findings are that this belief system is by far the most predominant in our society. There is very little understanding of the Gospel, sin and salvation. Hopefully this can change if those of us who claim to be Faithful Christian Men teach the truth faithfully to our families and in our churches. We need to talk often with our children to see what message they are picking up from us. We might mean well, but they might be hearing something totally different from what we are trying to say by our words and examples.
Here are some resources for understanding this phenomenon better: