Friday, August 27, 2010

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism: The New Christianity?

This article from CNN highlights recent findings that more American teenagers are embracing what it calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem. The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith. Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good.

In contrast, the authors found that committed Christian teens share four traits. They have:
  1. A personal story about God they can share
  2. A deep connection to a faith community
  3. A sense of purpose, and 
  4. A sense of hope about their future
The author sees no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the Christianity some are taught doesn't inspire them "to change anything that's broken in the world." Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake. 

Read the full article by clicking the link below.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What constitutes a person?

The Hensel Twins raise an important issue when we consider humanity: what is it that constitutes a person? More to to the point, why is it that we consider Abby and Brittany two unique persons when they reside in a single body?

As you consider possible answers to this anthropological conundrum, also consider why personhood is not bestowed upon animals (or should it be?). My dog has a unique personality, but that doesn't make him a person, does it? What is unique to personhood?

Welcome to the COUN 507 blog

This semester we will being working on a collaborative blog as part of our COUN 507 course. Your task is to develop posts throughout the semester that provide a bridge between the content covered and the world at large. In what ways might we connect our course material to current events, literature, movies, etc? I look forward to seeing where this project takes us, and what we might learn from one another.