Moralistic therapeutic deism

What on earth is moralistic therapeutic deism’?

This is a term used by Kenda Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of Almost Christian, a book based upon research into the faith of 3,300 American teenagers. According to a recent article on the CNN website it means:

… a watered-down faith that portrays God as a divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

The article is very good and I recommend reading it, whether you are a parent or a teenager or are simply interested in the state of faith in our society. While this is obviously about American teenagers and the failings of the church in that nation, I think it applies fairly well to New Zealand also.

I particularly like the recommendation of what parents should do to avoid teaching our kids a false gospel:

What can a parent do then?

Get radical,” Dean says.

She says parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.

A parent’s radical act of faith could involve something as simple as spending a summer in Bolivia working on an agricultural renewal project or turning down a more lucrative job offer to stay at a struggling church, Dean says.

But it’s not enough to be radical — parents must explain this is how Christians live,” she says.

If you don’t say you’re doing it because of your faith, kids are going to say my parents are really nice people,” Dean says. It doesn’t register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots.”

This is a challenge to me to consider my own faith in Christ and how I live it in the real world — is the call of Christ real enough to me to result in actions which make my kids ask, why do you choose to live like this Dad?”

Up next What makes me do what I do not want to do? Looking at Romans 7:7–25, known by some as the ‘Dr. Seuss passage’. There is a lot of debate about this passage, regarding the state of the person Bullets and blogs True, This! — Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
Latest posts Small changes add up Does driving an electric car help decarbonize the economy? A dystopian future? Poems I read in 2019 2019 Reading Old blog posts help me make a decision Digital decluttering New Year Update Poems I read in 2018 2018 Reading Meeting Stewart Island locals Poetry is a life-cherishing force Recalibrating my reading Tooth extraction The Land of Far Beyond Blog consolidating and spring-cleaning Sinus surgery Who wants to give Facebook their nude pics? Update, July 2018 New (old) notebook day Master list of books I have read Dead trees make better books Books I should read Flamin’ bus is late Focussing on practice The price of knowing good and evil Deleting Facebook What if all I want is a mediocre life? Amygdalae and blogging New name, new host, same blog Eliminating human interaction