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Growing a Faith that Matters The National Study of Youth and Religion Rodger Nishioka, Ph.D. Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education Columbia

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  • Growing a Faith that MattersThe National Study of Youth and Religion

    Rodger Nishioka, Ph.D.Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian EducationColumbia Theological SeminaryDecatur, GA

  • Smith, Christian and Melinda Lundquist Denton. Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

  • National Study of Youth and ReligionRandom sampling of 3,370 American youth (13-17 years-old) conducted July 2002-March 2003. Results here are for those identified as Presbyterian in the mainline Protestant group. Other categories were conservative Protestant, Black Protestant, Roman Catholic, not religious, Mormon, Jewish, more than one religion, other.

  • 1. What percent of Presbyterian young people believe in God?A. 96%B. 86%C. 76%

  • 1. What percent of Presbyterian young people believe in God?A. 96%B. 86%
  • 2. What percent of Presbyterian youth believe in a judgment day when God will reward some and punish others?A. 83%B. 73%C. 63%

  • 2. What percent of Presbyterian youth believe in a judgment day when God will reward some and punish others?A. 83%B. 73%C. 63%
  • 3. What percent of Presbyterian youth have made a personal commitment to live life for God?A. 70%B. 60%C. 50%

  • 3. What percent of Presbyterian youth have made a personal commitment to live life for God?A. 70%B. 60%
  • 4. What percent of Presbyterian youth have had an experience of worship that was very moving and powerful?A. 74%B. 64%C. 54%

  • 4. What percent of Presbyterian youth have had an experience of worship that was very moving and powerful?A. 74%B. 64%C. 54%
  • 5. What percent of Presbyterian young people pray alone at least once a day?A. 52%B. 42%C. 32%

  • 5. What percent of Presbyterian young people pray alone at least once a day?A. 52%B. 42%C. 32%
  • 6. What percent of Presbyterian young people had a family that prayed regularly before or after meals?A. 74%B. 54%C. 34%

  • 6. What percent of Presbyterian young people had a family that prayed regularly before or after meals?A. 74%B. 54%C. 34%
  • 7. What percent of Presbyterian young people reported that their congregation was rarely or never boring?A. 64%B. 44%C. 24%

  • 7. What percent of Presbyterian young people reported that their congregation was rarely or never boring?A. 64%B. 44%
  • 8. What percent of Presbyterian youth said they had adults in their congregation other than family members with whom they enjoyed talking and who gave lots of encouragement?A. 84%B. 54%C. 34%

  • 8. What percent of Presbyterian youth said they had adults in their congregation other than family members with whom they enjoyed talking and who gave lots of encouragement?A. 84%
  • 9. What percent of Presbyterian youth said they believed that many religions may be true?A. 77%B. 67%C. 57%

  • 9. What percent of Presbyterian youth said they believed that many religions may be true?A. 77%B. 67%
  • 10. What percent of Presbyterian youth agreed that for believers to be truly religious and spiritual, they needed to be involved in a congregation on a regular basis?A. 47%B. 37%C. 27%

  • 10. What percent of Presbyterian youth agreed that for believers to be truly religious and spiritual, they needed to be involved in a congregation on a regular basis?A. 47%B. 37%C. 27%
  • Major finding of the National Study of Youth and Religion...

  • Young people tend to view God as a moralistic, therapeutic deity.

  • What does that mean?

  • The DeityA God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.God is all powerful and largely distant.

  • The Moralistic DeityGod wants people to be good, nice, and fair to one another as taught in the Bible and most world religions.Good people go to heaven. Bad people go to hell.

  • The Therapeutic DeityThe central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self.God is not particularly involved in ones life except when God is needed to resolve a problem or in some inexplicable way when tragedy occurs.

  • So whats your point?

  • This view of God as a moralistic, therapeutic deity does not place Christ at the center. It places ourselves at the center with God orbiting around us.The goal of life is not to be happy and to feel good about ones self. The goal of life is to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ as a response to Gods amazing gift of grace.

  • Then Jesus said, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.Matthew 16:24-25

  • Christian Smith. Souls in Transition. The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

  • Committed Traditionalists. Deeply committed 15%Selective Adherents. Important but... 30%Spiritually Open. Spiritual just not religious 15%Religiously Indifferent. Just doesnt matter. 25%Religiously Disconnected. Dont know. 5 %Irreligious. Makes no sense. 10%

  • High parental religious service & attendance & importance of faithHigh teen importance of faithTeen had many personal religious experiencesTeen had many adults to turn to for support and helpTeen frequently prayed and read the BibleTeen had fewer serious doubts about religious beliefs

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