If a sexually transmitted disease were spreading through our community, we would sound the alarm and attack it with education, dollars, and research.
According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, the problem is not STDâ€™s, but MTDâ€™s. This is, according to Christian Smith, researcher for the study conducted from 2001-2005, a belief among Christian Teens that is not historic Christianity, but Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. He says MTDâ€™s believe in â€œa belief system that embraces the existence of a God who demands little more than to be â€œnice,â€ with the central goal of life to be happy and feel good about oneself.â€ He goes on to describe teen beliefs about God as being more of a â€œdivine butlerâ€ or â€œcosmic therapist.â€ The conclusion is that all good people go to heaven when they die.
The guys of unpackthis.com want to combat this in our own youth groups. But how? In his book A Mind for God, James Emery White says that we have to change the way that students think. In combating MTDâ€™s, he says we start with three basic teachings:
1. There is a God
2. God is alive
3. God is not silent
The cure for MTDâ€™s is to start with a proper understanding of God, and dealing with God on His terms, not ours. We attack this with research such as Smith has done, and the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study, and with a refusal to let anyone but God define who He is, and how we are to approach Him.