Passionate vs. “fake” faith among teenagers

Kendra Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton Theology Seminary and United Methodist minister,  has a new book, based on data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, regarding the faith of teenagers. While many American teenagers claim to be Christian, their faith can be termed “moral therapeutic deism” (defined roughly in the article as “It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.”).

Dean says teenagers with passionate faith are marked by several characteristics:

No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

This would certainly be of interest to parents and those who work with teenagers. At the same time, we could ask where these teenagers are getting their ideas about moral therapeutic deism.

For more on this topic (and also based on the same data set): read Soul Searching by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton and Souls In Transition by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell.

Opinions on interfaith marriages

The Washington Post hosts a panel about religious intermarrying as Chelsea Clinton, brought up in the Methodist denomination, and Marc Mezvinsky, who is Jewish, are set to be married. The panel includes Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Deepak Chopra, and others of various faith backgrounds.

Some of the statistics posted on the front page:

Statistics show that 37 percent of Americans have a spouse of a different faith.

Statistics also show that couples in interfaith marriages are “three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.”

Another relevant statistic regarding the younger generation: “Less than a quarter of the 18- to 23-year-old respondents in the National Study of Youth and Religion think it’s important to marry someone of the same faith.”

It seems to me that it could be very difficult to be married if both spouses take their separate faiths seriously.