What do you think is the number one most popular religion in America? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Christianity. It’s also not Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, or the Home Shopping Network.
According to Christian Smith, a sociologist at Notre Dame, the primary expression of faith in our day–at least for young adults–is what he calls “Moral Therapeutic Deism.”(from John Ortberg’s Blogspot)
This religion is characterized by five beliefs:
- There is a God who created earth and watches over it
- God wants people to be nice, fair and good (as it taught in the Bible and most other religions)
- The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself
- God doesn’t need to be involved in your life except when there’s a problem that needs Celestial Performance Enhancement
- Good people go to heaven when they die.
This is a religion that is far more about comfort, individualism and conformity that it is about meaning, calling, and sacrifice. What makes it particularly challenging is that it is not offered through a new MTD movement or denomination. It is actually catching on and being practiced in churches where we leaders think of ourselves as historically Christian.
It cannot sustain a life.
It cannot build a community.
It cannot call people to take up a cross.
We want something more.
One other piece of bad news has to do with where young adults learn MTD.
I’ll give you a hint. It’s mostly from older adults.
So what’s the point? The point is that without the authority of Scripture serving as a theological foundation for a biblical worldview there is no Christian Apologetic. Yes, the religion is spiritual and self serving but not in any way faithful to Christian Orthodoxy. Thus, the result is very predictable: the natural place to migrate when there is no scriptural basis for moral ethical authority nor any form of Christology is Moral Deism.
Prayer: God keep us focused on you and the Christ of the Cross and the empty tomb. Let us model and teach the value of your life giving Scriptures and help us learn and teach critical thinking in Science, Ethics, AND the Christian Faith. In the name of Christ, Amen.
What does your Christology look like these days?