Christian Smith and Melinda Denton, investigators for the National Study of Youth and Religion, see an alternative faith in American teenagers, one that “feeds on and gradually co-opts if not devours” established religious traditions: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD).
If teenagers wrote out the creed of this religious outlook, it would look something like this:
• A god exists who created and orders the world and watches over life on earth.
• God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
• The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself.
• God is not involved in my life except when I need God to solve a problem.
• Good people go to heaven when they die.
If churches practice MTD in the name of Christianity, then getting teenagers to come to church more often is not the solution (it could make things worse). The solution to MTD is not more faithful attendance, but a more faithful church.
(Source: Christian Century)