More teens becoming ‘fake’ Christians

This is a great article that explores why so many teenagers struggle to form a robust faith. It begins with these words:

(CNN) — If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:

Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

I remember hearing Campolo one day say that ‘youth is made for heroism and not for pleasure’ and it struck a chord. When we try to offer young people more pleasure we actually work against the inner passions that are forming them, but when we call them to an adventure of faith that involves risk and courage then we begin to form something more substantial within them.

Some quotes from the article:

“Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good — what the study’s researchers called “moralistic therapeutic deism.”


“Some adults don’t expect much from youth pastors. They simply want them to keep their children off drugs and away from premarital sex. Others practice a “gospel of niceness,” where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted, she says. “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation,” wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary”.


“Corrie says she sees no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on, she says. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Corrie 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.”

5 thoughts on “More teens becoming ‘fake’ Christians

  1. I have been saying this for years now. If Christian parents don’t try to set an example of meaningful Christian faith, their children will only see what the fruit of the false gospels of America are putting out. They will continue to see and think that “praise dancing” is the only way a young person can honor Christ. And they will only view having materiel things as the stamp of God’s approval. We as Christian parents need to talk more about suffering and sacrifice, that way when they get older and they go through the firey trials that are set before them, they will understand that God’s will often involves persecution and that glorifying Him regardless of the circumstances is what He is calling for.

  2. Thanks for the link Hamo. I just listened to a sermon from Mars Hill, and the preacher said he was raised in a Christian home but never went to church. This article and that sermon make me feel not so bad about not wanting to ‘church’ my kids

  3. Amen and amen! As a sailor, I see a lot of “kids” coming in who have no sense of adventure, guts, or spiritual maturity. They have no balance. I’m sure I had some trouble too, but I was at least taught to defend myself. We need more, and my kids will have more.

  4. Pingback: Teens becoming ‘fake Christians’? « There goes rhymin Simon

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