Teenagers and Religion

Now as to what I learned from these materials I’ve been discussing about religous faith. African Americans are still a lot more religious as a group than whites, and the gap is growing in all age groups. But teenagers as a whole have abandoned religion almost completely.

Among the rapidly shrinking minority of teens who see themselves as religous, what they actually believe is not any existing religion but, rather, MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.) This is a system of belief which posits that if you are a good person (and everybody considers oneself to be one), then you deserve for good things to happen to you. MTDers don’t accept any limits on their behavior because they are good people and good people deserve to do exactly what they want to do. This is a worldview that offers no guidance and posits no meaning to life other than satisfying every fleeting whim. Consumerism is the real object of faith here.

This is why the folks who still believe that religious fundamentalists or fanatics or whatever still represent a threat in this country need to wake up and check their calendars. It’s all gone, dead, completely outdated. And the politicians who try to rile us up against the utterly insignificant Knights of Columbus and Co are dirty, dishonest hacks who are lying to us as part of their con.

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7 thoughts on “Teenagers and Religion”

  1. It’s not a good thing that people think that if they’re a “good” person they deserve special amenities, and that they are free to behave as they wish (as “they can do no wrong” anyway since they’re such “good” people).
    Frankly, I think views and attitudes like that can lead to fascism a lot quicker than any racism or antisemitism, as such types are most liable to judge anyone else who live, think and behave differently than they do as being “immoral”, “faulty”, “unworthy”, or “inferior”.

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  2. If I have my figuring correct, I’m just about four or five years younger than you, but I grew up in the US, and I think a lot of my experience was fairly typical. While I might be considered a “religious” person, it certainly was not because of my parents. Both of my parents were Baby Boomers, and although brought up in “religious” households that were typical at the time, except for maybe two or three times, the only times we went to church was when visiting my grandmother. It just seems that it was typical in my generation, our parents didn’t care too much about religion, so what we learned was either from grandparents or from other sources. (In my case, the inter-city schools in the area where I grew up were terrible, so my parents enrolled me and my sister into a parochial school.) However, we still did have some sense of what Christianity was and what church was and what-have-you. However, I see that as this generation in America has kids, the vast majority of them have not taught their kids anything about religion, about a sense of God, or even that there is immutable reality and morality. For me, it seems logical then, that a lot more people feel lost spiritually.

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  3. MTDers don’t accept any limits on their behavior because they are good people and good people deserve to do exactly what they want to do. This is a worldview that offers no guidance and posits no meaning to life other than satisfying every fleeting whim.

    Fascinating! This is a good paraphrase of what Martin Luther believed, at least as I was taught as an undergraduate.

    This is why the folks who still believe that religious fundamentalists or fanatics or whatever still represent a threat in this country need to wake up and check their calendars. It’s all gone, dead, completely outdated.

    I sincerely hope that you are right about this, but I think we may well find out differently is Mike Pence becomes President.

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    1. And you are absolutely right, protestantism, which was born at the same time as capitalism, was the first step in this direction. Christianity is a natural enemy of capitalism, and capitalism always wins its battles.

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    1. Politicians are railing about the Knights of Columbus? That’s just a Catholic mens’ lodge! Conservative, yeah, but…

      Yeah. That’s an odd group to be worried about.

      If a politician would come out with a robust ant-Knights Templar platform, on the other hand, they’d have my vote.

      Liked by 1 person

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