I have switched to reading something a little different. I saw a review of Kendra Creasy Dean’s Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. This is the kind of thing I would have definitely read before I retired. I have been enjoying having the time to read more deep biblical studies. But I haven’t lost interest in the more practical aspects of church life. So I am reading about teenager’s religious views.
This book outlines the results of Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith’s survey of American teens, the results of which he published in 2009. Dean interprets the results in a way that is both similar and different from Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion. The similarity lies in that both are really critical of the church for letting actual Christianity lapse. She says right off:
“It is not so much that U.S. Christianity is being secularized. Rather, more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith” (p. 3)
The difference comes in perspective. Dean is a United Methodist who teaches at Princeton Seminary. Douthat is a conservative Catholic who is a journalist and columnist.