Soul Searching: The Spiritual and Religious Lives of American Teenagers

Soul Searching is the compilation of a study by National Study of Youth and Religion on the spiritual and relgious lives of American Teenagers.   In fact, this study is

The largest and most detalied study of teenagers and religion ever undertaken (from the front flap).

I have not had the opportunity to read the entirety of the book, but I do recommend it.  Considering that the book is comprised of a sociological study, it does read like an encyclopedia and may serve more as a reference than an enjoyable read with a cup of coffee in bed. 

The researchers and authors set-out to answer the following questions:

What is going on in the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers?

What do they actually believe?

What religious practices do they engage in?

Do they expect to remain loyal to the faith of their parents?

Or are they abandoning traditional religious institutions in search of a new, more “authentic” spirituality?

(Warning: Potential Spoiler) With their findings the researchers bascially conclude that American teens are not grounded in their faith, which means they do not understand it nor can they articulate it (of course there ar exceptions to this norm).  Moreover, the researchers discovered that youth are more influenced by their parents, guardians, and/or other adults than originally believed. 

To me the last point is interesting?  Why?  Because their research actually validates what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years in regards to the role, responsibility, and influence of parents in the formation of their childrens faith (see Deuteronomy 6.4-9 and Ephesians 6.1-4 to name just two out of many passages fromt the Bible). 

If you are interested in learning more you can actually view a clip from the trailer below.

By the way, there is a DVD available as well.  To my family’s surprise it was actually done with great quality.

I encourage both youth and parents to watch the video, or read through the book.  I ask that you prayerfully consider their findings and ask yourself young person, “Do I really know what I believe?”  For those of you who are parents you need to consider, “If it were only up to us or me, am I or we doing enough as parents to ensure that our children are being grounded in their faith in Jesus Christ?”


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