Albert Mohler: Young Souls in Transition — Emerging Adults and the Church
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
“I mean, I have my beliefs in my head,” the young man said. “But I don’t enjoy the whole religious scene. I’m not really into it like some people are. I have my beliefs, I believe that’s the way it is, and the way it should be, and I go to church every once in a while. But it’s kind of low-key.”
Anyone who knows today’s generation of young adults recognizes that language immediately. It is the language of religious detachment and institutional alienation. But, as the careful observer will quickly recognize, it is not the language of hostile alienation or ideological detachment. It is the language that marks a generation of souls in transition.
In the early years of this decade, sociologist Christian Smith (then of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and his colleagues conducted over 3,000 interviews with American adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17. Their massive study of adolescent religion in America was published in 2005 as Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press). That study, now recognized as a landmark in the sociology of religion, found that most American adolescents were not irreligious, did not see themselves in rebellion against their parents, and did not fit the popular designation of the coming religious tenor as being “spiritual but not religious.” the rest image