Dr. Craig looks at trends indicating a distortion of biblical Christianity among young people and offers some solutions.
Kevin Harris: Dr. Craig, we have a heart for young people. Your reworking of On Guard into a student edition is one of the reasons we can be confident of that. We’ve done several podcasts on trends among young people today. Talk about that student edition. You are going to make this a little broader, even for those who are seeking?
Dr. Craig: Yes, exactly. The original On Guard is geared toward the Christian believer. It is a kind of manual to help him defend his faith – to equip him, to be able to give an answer to those who ask him a reason for the hope within. But in the student edition I want to make this geared toward the unbelieving person who is seeking to find answers about God and Jesus. I found that many people are giving On Guard to their non-believing friends as a sort of evangelistic tool, but it is not really appropriate for the unbeliever. It is written to the Christian. But in this student edition I would like to have it be suitable for handing to a high school friend or college classmate who is not yet a believer but who is looking for the truth and would find this to be a kind of open-minded inquiring exploration of grounds for the existence of God and belief in Christ.
Kevin Harris: Here is an article from CNN. It says,
If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning: Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.
That’ll make parents feel really good. Right off the bat, Bill, we have an issue for you to address, and that is we are often accused of saying “You are not a true Christian, and here is the real Christianity. You don’t hold to the tenets of 1872 so you are not a real Christian.” How do you determine the real thing?
Dr. Craig: There are certain core beliefs that a person has to have in order to be a Christian. What she points out in this article is that a lot of teenagers are adopting what she calls, or has been called by others, moralistic therapeutic deism. You believe in a kind of God who is up there and provides a basis for moral code and then it is psychologically helpful – it is therapeutic – to help you to deal with your struggles and emotional problems and to sort of cope and get through life. This moralistic therapeutic deism is very different from orthodox Christianity. She is concerned that the millennial generation are not really orthodox Christians, but are these moralistic therapeutic deists.
Kevin Harris: God is a divine therapist whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem. That is pretty common these days.
Dr. Craig: It really fits in with this sort of health and wealth gospel. We watched one of these preachers the other day on television, and it was all about how God will help you to succeed. If you feel discouraged or you feel down, well, perk up! God is on your side! He is going to help you to meet your challenges and to become a success. That is exactly this sort of moralistic therapeutic deism that she thinks a lot of teenagers are adopting…
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