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If only it were that easy. There are many, many good reasons for teenagers to attend a religious youth group; they offer important sources of adult support, church connections, and moral values. Youth groups, however, are less effective as crucibles of faith. A better predictor is regular worship in a congregation, friendships with Christian adults, and—above all—parents who model what day-to-day Christian faith looks like. Ditto mission trips. When the NSYR followed youth into their early twenties, two religious practices—only two—seemed correlated with faith that survived high school: prayer and reading the Bible.

I happen to think that church mission trips are a good idea, as long as the people in the community being served make most of the decisions. Like youth groups, these trips indirectly support adolescent faith by providing adult-youth relationships and decentering experiences that give youth new frames of reference.

But we should distinguish between radical faith and extremism, since they are not the same thing. To do something radical for Christ means to do something that is connected to the root message of Christianity—the passion of God in Jesus Christ—by loving others enough to suffer willingly, if necessary, in their stead.

Deism for Mortals: Morals, Utilitarianism and Happiness

Extremism, on the other hand, takes place—not at the root of faith—but at its edges. Edges are constantly in danger of erosion, so extremists are people determined to protect these unstable edges of principles, political systems, religious views, and so on. Extremism is a position of rational supremacy. If I am an extremist, the only way you can be right is to agree with me.

As a result, extremism leads to a lot of collateral damage. The emphasis in extremism is not on loving the person, but on protecting the principle. Every religion has both radicals and extremists. Radical Christians love God and neighbor as ourselves, which means sharing in their suffering. True love willingly suffers for the beloved.

Using Science, Not Religion, to Find Your Purpose

But true love never knowingly inflicts suffering. Actually, the only solution to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a more faithful church. Yes: belonging to a faith community and having a youth pastor are strongly correlated with highly devoted faith. Furthermore, highly devoted teenagers are more likely than their peers to attend churches with a youth pastor. But since congregations often reinforce Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, going to church more often does not always help.

Take heart. Our job is to make faith part of the daily lives we share with them. That means that the best way to support adolescent faith is to invest in our own. Bud and Norma go out of their way to welcome Christ into their home and lives—and as a result, so do we when we arewith them. Have we thanked God for the young people in our lives—in front of them?

Practice Joy. It is an attitude that depends on people and God doing what I want them to, which besides being laughably self-centered is doomed to disappoint us. True joy is a practice: it is the fruit of our deepening attunement to God and others, which is something we can learn and cultivate with the help of fellow Christians. What practices of Christian community most enliven us?

Martin Hägglund argues that rigorous secularism leads to socialism.

Who are the people who make us more hungry for Jesus? Joy is contagious: the more we practice it, the more it spreads.

Stock Your Toolkit. Ask yourself:. Make Jesus Part of the Family.

What is the Meaning of Life if There is No God?

Talk about faith at home, intellectually and personally. Make Jesus part of the family—part of normal daily conversation. Share how Christ guided you in making a decision, or how your faith informed your response to a difficult person at work. Discuss aspects of the Bible that you find intriguing, or puzzling. Talk about church, and why it matters to you. Above all, talk about these things with your children. Loving God, like loving people, is hard to put into words, which is why so much of Christian faith is embodied in symbols, rituals, and metaphors.

But conversation matters, too. Talking about God gives young people opportunities to eavesdrop on adult faith, and suggests a vocabulary for their own emerging relationship with Christ. But these conversations also help us sort out our own convictions. Language transforms intuitions into reality, which prepares us for action.

But the reverse is also true: faith matters more when we talk about it. Christian life means continually turning toward God.

Joyce Meyer - 7 Ways to Increase Your Happiness Sermon 2017

All of the actions we associate with Christian life solidarity with the poor, worship are ways centuries of Jesus followers have learned help attune them to God and others. Decentering means tapping into these age-old practices of compassion and mercy, meditation and prayer, to shift our gaze away from ourselves and from the distractions that block God from view. The bottom line is this: if we want faith to matter to young people, it must genuinely matter to us. Clearly, a first step is investing in practices that shape our own faith—reading the Bible, praying, participating in worship, acting justly, and holy friendship, to name a few.

How do we communicate that? Do it in front of your children. Do it, not because you are a nice person, but because you follow Jesus, and because this is what people who love Jesus do. And tell all that to the kids. Thank you for your help. Why should I choose to be Cato dying by his own hand, rather than Caesar in his triumphs?

Take from our hearts this love of what is noble and you rob us of the joy of life. The mean-spirited man in whom these delicious feelings have been stifled among vile passions, who by thinking of no one but himself comes at last to love no one but himself, this man feels no raptures, bis cold heart no longer throbs with joy, and his eyes no longer fill with the sweet tears of sympathy, he delights in nothing; the wretch has neither life nor feeling, he is already dead.

It is remarkable to see how Rousseau anticipated MTD so far ahead of its debut.

Towers - March by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Issuu

He even envisages a new kind of restaurant in which strangers would be forced to sit together and open up their hearts to one another. Quite how this will prevent looting and rioting is not entirely clear. According to Rieff, the traditional approach to the felt difficulties of bringing personality into coordination with authority involves internalizing and intensifying cultural norms. Religious at their core, traditional cultures stamp our inner lives with their creeds and, in so doing, deliver the human animal from its slavery to instinct. He or she is an exemplar and virtuoso of personality fully governed by creedal authority. Rather, he sees it in my interpretation as one way of trying to grant a measure of wholeness and happiness to modern, overly civilized human beings, whose souls are rent asunder by self- love amour-propre , which leads them to think of others when they should be thinking of themselves, and to think of themselves when they should be thinking of others. The revolutionary politics of the Social Contract is another failed experiment in recovering happiness.

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. Atheism as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. January 13, am Rod Dreher. Rod Dreher November 10, Rod Dreher November 8, Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy and…. Web Admin November 8, Reading Darkness At Noon Arthur Koestler's anti-communist masterpiece has contemporary resonance.

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