Almost Christian

An excerpt from “The Ivy Jungle Network Campus Ministry Update September 2010”:

Princeton Seminary Professor Kendra Creasy Dean shares what she considers some depressing news in her new book, Almost Christian. As a researcher in the National Study for Youth and Religion, she helped conduct in depth interviews with more than 3300 teenagers who call themselves Christians.  Her findings show that most “Christian” kids are indifferent and inarticulate about their faith. The faith they do discuss often boils down to what has been labeled “moralistic therapeutic deism” – a belief in a generally good God who exists primarily to help make people happy.   This “imposter” faith contributes to the massive departure of so many young people from the church during their high school and college years.  Too often parents and churches have low expectations for teenagers.  Too many youth groups are designed to keep students out of trouble and simply being nice – not truly exploring the faith.  However, she did find some who had a passion for their faith and an ability to talk about it in a meaningful way.  These committed teenagers most often came from Mormon or evangelical backgrounds.  She identified four common traits among this group: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future (CNN August 27, 2010)

Inconsistent Religion

From The Ivy Jungle Network Campus Ministry Update Summer 2008

Although the US is one of the most religious nations in the world, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows many believe things which contradict their stated faith.70% of those who claim religious affiliation believe multiple religions can lead to salvation and 68% believe in multiple interpretations of their own religion.57% of self-identified evangelicals believe multiple religions can lead to salvation.21% of self-identified atheists believe that some kind of God exists.80% of respondents believe in moral standards of right and wrong, but only 29% claim their religious teachings help them determine those standards. A copy of the report can be read at www.pewforum.org(SFGate.com June 23, 2008)

Religious People Give More

From the “Campus Ministry Update 2008” published by the Ivy Jungle:

Religious People Give More:  Religious Americans give more money and time to charitable causes than their non-religious neighbors.   A new book by Arthur Brooks, Who Really Cares, analyzed ten data sets, concluding that religiosity is one of the best predictors of charitable giving.  Religious citizens give 3.5 times more money, volunteer with organizations twice as often, are 57% more likely to help the homeless, and 66% more likely to donate blood than those who are not religious.   The findings also paint an unexpected political picture as those who are more religious also tend to be more conservative in social and political issues.  In fact, of the 25 states with above average charitable giving, 24 voted for George Bush in the last election.  In Arkansas, citizens donate an average of 3.9% of their income, while in Massachusetts it is only 1.8%.   Good news for religion, however, among religious people, the data showed nothing distinctive about those who consider themselves evangelicals.  (Books and Culture January/February 2008 p. 11)

Heaven and Hell

The following was summarized in the “Campus Ministry Update” from IvyJungle:

Do You Believe in Heaven and Hell: In 1997 only 56% of Americans claimed to believe in hell. That number spiked to more than 70% after the September 11 terrorist attacks. However, recent polling indicates the number has once again fallen to less than 60% of the population. 1ABC News July 11, 2007

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. ABC News July 11, 2007