Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) is a term created to define the current religious beliefs and practices of America’s youth. The term first appeared in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton. The authors interviewed 3,000 teenagers about their religious beliefs. From their interviews they found some common beliefs about God and the role of religion in an individual’s life. It is believed that millions of American Christians are actually practicing a religion that looks more like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism instead of Christianity.
Moralistic Therapeutic Deists share a belief in the importance of morality like many religions. Central to the religion is the belief that the key to truly living is to be a good person. They also believe in the existence of god. They believe that god created the universe and watches his creation. They believe that god expects people to be good people and kind to each other. Many of today’s youth believe that the purpose in life is to be happy and find joy. Many believe that god stays out of people’s lives until he is called on to fix problems. Finally Moralistic Therapeutic Deists do believe in the existence of heaven and that people who do good will go there after they die.
Those who approach religion like Moralistic Therapeutic Deists do not put an emphasis on sin or keeping the laws laid out in the Bible. They also do not find benefit or importance in being consistent in a prayer life. Many view god not as a judge, but instead a god who wants to help make people happy and get what they want from life.