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Souls in Transition 7

posted by Scot McKnight

Smith.jpgSmith and Snell, in chp 6 of their  Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults  map six major religious “types” in emerging adults, and this can be seen as a broad-brushed sketch of what emerging adults in American culture are like when it comes to religion:

1. Committed traditionalists (15%)
2. Selective adherents (30%)
3. Spiritually open (15%)
4. Religiously indifferent (25%)
5. Religiously disconnected (5%)
6. Irreligious (10%)
Next chp sketches what they saw change or stay in the same when interviewing the same persons they interviewed for the previous book on teenagers faith.
The 8th chp, with Kyle Longest, sketches — with all kinds of stats and charts and details — religious trajectories. I can’t possibly do justice to all the details so instead I will draw on one of the major results: there’s much more continuity between a teenager’s faith and an emerging adult’s faith than you might expect. The religious commitments of the teenage years, and one might say the intensity and genuineness and depth of those commitments, are what shapes what happens in the emerging adult years.
They draw attention to the following as central commitments: personal prayer, highly religious parents, the importance of faith and personal religious experiences.
College is not as erosive to faith as it once was.


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Darryl

posted January 20, 2010 at 1:40 am


Fascinating. As a former youth minister (of 18 years) I am not surprised by these findings. I have always been somewhat skeptical of the 50% loss statistic that has been quoted since the 60s! It certainly did not match my experiences. And of course, whether we admitted it or not: we knew all the time parents were a bigger factor in a kid’s faith than anything else (youth ministers and youth programs included)!



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RJS

posted January 20, 2010 at 5:28 am


This makes more sense than many of the rather extreme statistics that have been quoted at times.
What does “not so erosive” mean here?



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Scot McKnight

posted January 20, 2010 at 7:17 am


Darryl and RJS, thanks.
RJS, “not so erosive”: college is not as much an assault on faith today as it was, say, in the 60s and 70s. The conclusion emerges from comparison of evidence in the last 30 years.



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Rick

posted January 20, 2010 at 7:39 am


“College is not as erosive to faith as it once was.”
Very encouraging, but I would like to hear more about “why”.
What has changed and/or is more effective than in the past?
Parental involvement? More skeptical mindsets of students towards professors? Better college mininstry strategies? All these and more?
For such a critical group and stage of life, I am excited about this news and curious about how to utilize this info.



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guest

posted January 20, 2010 at 8:46 am


http://prop8trialtracker.com/
The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization that has funded the legal challenge to Prop 8 in this court case, announced in a press release that the following gentlemen will be taking the stand on Wednesday ? Day 7 of the Prop 8 trial:
* Ryan Kendall, a gay man who will testify about the ?conversation therapy? he underwent in his youth and how he has been affected by discrimination
* Gary M. Segura, Ph.D,Professor of American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He will testify about the relative political power of gays and lesbians as a class of citizens, and their level of political vulnerability.
The rest of AFER?s press release is below the fold, including comments by Mayor Jerry Sanders and his lesbian daughter Lisa at the daily post-trial press conference on Tuesday (as well as the YouTubed speech by Sanders shown at the trial on Tuesday). A staunch Republican and conservative, Sanders made this provocative point at the press event about the meaning of equality:
?I think denying marriage equality is just as wrong as telling blacks that they couldn?t use white-only drinking fountains. It?s government action that?s founded in prejudice,? Sanders said to reporters at the courthouse. ?The first step towards equality in society is equality under the law.?



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Deets

posted January 20, 2010 at 9:14 am


Rick #4. Is another possible reason the “not as corrosive” analysis the development of more attractive (broader focuses) faith based colleges? Many ministry focused Bible colleges are now University graduating people into all kinds of careers.



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Rick

posted January 20, 2010 at 9:17 am


Deets-
Certainly possible. Good thoughts.



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Kristen

posted January 20, 2010 at 11:13 am


Might it be, maybe, that on average the faith that the 18-year-olds bring with them to college is more comfortable with science, more conversant with culture and philosophy, and so less likely to be eroded by encounters with such things? Maybe?



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Deets

posted January 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm


Good point Kristen. For this reason, I have some concerns about Ken Ham’s book “Already Gone.” It seems his thesis is that if the church would just teach a literal 7-day creation, then children will know the truth and not be driven out by the teaching of Darwinism. Maybe helping children to understand more broadly the possibilities of faith might help young people to maintain faith when they encounter other teachings.



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