By: Lisa D Pearce and Melinda Lundquist Denton
“A Faith of Their Own” is a follow-up to the National Study of Youth and Religion. The young people surveyed in the original study were surveyed again three years later to see how they had changed. The results are intriguing. In assessing the change, the authors found that the young people in the study fell into five categories; abiders, assenters, adaptors, avoiders and atheists. Three dimensions for each category were reviewed; the content of religious belief, the conduct of religious activity and the centrality of religion to life. While overall, the survey showed a slight shift toward young people becoming less religious, closer analysis reveals significant shifts in both directions; i.e. toward becoming both more religious and less religious. Even more interesting, when young people were asked if they felt they had become more or less religious, significantly more said they were more religious then said they were less religious. This paradox brings into question the validity of conventional measures of religiosity. Simplistic measures such as worship attendance are grossly inadequate. While discussion of the statistical analysis may at times seem tedious, I recommend this book to anyone working with young people as well as those interested in the emerging church.
deacon Charlie Germain