A Nation of Deists

Gene Edward Veith’s column in this week’s World Magazine touches on a theme that’s really been on my heart lately, God’s lament to the prophet Hosea that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”:

After interviewing over 3,000 teenagers, the social scientists summed up their beliefs:

  1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
  2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
  3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
  4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
  5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

Even these secular researchers recognized that this creed is a far cry from Christianity, with no place for sin, judgment, salvation, or Christ. Instead, most teenagers believe in a combination of works righteousness, religion as psychological well-being, and a distant non-interfering god. Or, to use a technical term, “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Veith notes that many of the teens surveyed were active in their churches. This means that the kids either choose not to believe what they’re taught–or, more likely, they simply reflect the bloodless, watered-down version of Christianity infecting many of America’s so-called Christian churches.

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