Kenda Dean’s new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church
, and I will be blogging my way through it.
Her fundamental insight is back-logic: we can infer from the condition of our youth’s faith to the faith of their parents and contexts.
What do we learn about the faith of the young Christians today? That they are what she calls “Christian-ish.”
Do you see these five theses?
1. Most American teenagers have a positive view of religion but otherwise don’t give it much thought.
2. Most US teenagers mirror their parents’ religious faith.
3. Teenagers lack a theological language with which to express their faith or interpret their experience of the world.
4. A minority of American teenagers — but a significant minority — say religious faith is important, and that it makes a difference in their lives. These teenagers are doing better in life on a number of scales, compared to their less religious peers.
5. Many teenagers enact and espouse a religious outlook that is distinct from traditional teachings of most world religions — an outlook called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.