Beliefs of Christian Young Adults

Findings about the spiritual life of young adults.

The State of Theology
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research (2015)

Study Findings: In this survey of theological beliefs, researchers asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. Young people who identify themselves as Christians, are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.

 

 

Source: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

History of Dating

“When one tries to understand how dating has changed over time, and most importantly, how we arrived at the system of courtship and dating we have today, one must realize the monumental cultural shift that occurred during the 1940s, primarily due to World War II.”

“In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage. Instead, it was a “competitive game,” a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity. Men’s popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc. Women’s popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the “right” places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.”

‘So, that is the system in place prior to World War II. After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change. By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men. After World War II, due in part to the fact that 250,000 men never came home, for the first time in the United States, women outnumbered men.”

“Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down. However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.”

“One sociologist wrote in a July 1953 New York Times Magazine article that each boy and girl ideally should date 25 to 50 eligible marriage partners before making his or her final decision. At the center of this 1950s youth dating culture was the act of “going steady,” according to Beth Bailey.  In her book, From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America, Bailey says that,

[I]n earlier days going steady had been more like the old-fashioned ‘keeping steady company.’ It was a step along the path to marriage, even if many steady couples parted company before they reached the altar. By the early 1950s, going steady had acquired a totally different meaning. It was no longer the way a marriageable couple signaled their deepening intentions. Instead, going steady was something twelve-year-olds could do, and something most fifteen-year-olds did do. Few steady couples expected to marry each other, but for the duration of the relationship, acted as if they were married. Going steady had become a sort of play-marriage, a mimicry of actual marriage. (p. 49)

So, during the 1950s, going steady (or going out) had completely supplanted the former dating system based on popularity. And this new system had its own set of rules and customs. For instance, there had to be some visible token (class ring, letterman’s sweater or jacket) given to the one with whom you were going out. Additionally, the relationships were exclusive: Neither boy nor girl could date or pay much attention to anyone of the opposite sex. Obviously, most of these steady relationships did not result in marriage, oftentimes not lasting more than a few days or a few weeks.

Many cultural commentators have argued that this going steady system has greatly contributed to our modern culture of divorce.”

“So where are we today? Do we have a dating/rating system that values the number of dates, and has popularity as its goal, or do we have a going steady system that values what is called “serial monogamy” — a succession of exclusive and serious relationships, as a practice for marriage? Or do we have a combination of the two?”

“It appears that the “script” that has developed in the closing decades of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st is, “anything goes.” And, although for many years this was sold under the heading of freedom, I believe young adults over the past decade have discovered that, in fact, it has caused cultural and relational vertigo — not knowing for certain which way is up or down, and not knowing in which direction to move. For many it’s utter confusion.”

 

Source: All information was taken from this article
http://www.boundless.org/relationships/2007/a-brief-history-of-courtship-and-dating-in-america-part-2

 

Cohabitation and Divorce

“Cohabitation, once rare, is now the norm: The researchers found that more than half (54 percent) of all first marriages between 1990 and 1994 began with unmarried cohabitation. They estimate that a majority of young men and women of marriageable age today will spend some time in a cohabiting relationship.

“…Cohabiting relationships are less stable than marriages and that ​instability is increasing” -The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples.

Cohabiting couples had a separation rate five times that of married couples and a reconciliation rate that was one-third that of married couples.
https://www.thespruce.com/cohabitation-facts-and-statistics-2302236

 

As marriage rates have fallen, the number of U.S. adults in cohabiting relationships has continued to climb, reaching about 18 million in 2016. This is up 29% since 2007, when 14 million adults were cohabiting, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Number of U.S. adults cohabiting with a partner continues to rise, especially among those 50 and older

Spiritual and Emotional Abuse

Briefly examining the subtle power of spiritual and emotional abuse. This issue is one of personal significance to me. My hope is that perhaps the compiling of this information will be helpful to someone else as well someday.

10 Subtle Manipulations
These 10 examples are all things I have experienced first hand. Though from an outside perspective they may not seem to be that bad, the weight and total accumulating effect of these manipulations are more devastating than I can describe in words. I pulled these examples of manipulation from a book on spiritual abuse:
(Johnson, David, and Jeffrey VanVonderen. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1991. Print.)

Forms of Subtle Manipulations:

  1. Shaming people out loud.
  2. Can’t Talk Rule – tries to keep people quiet by labeling them the problem if they notice and confront a problem.
  3. Coding – verbal manipulation where messages are sent in a way that they have to be decoded in a sense, but generally only those directly involved will get the message.
  4. Triangling – sending a message to someone through another person instead of delivering it directly.
  5. Obscured Reality – anything that could expose those in authority is denied or ignored. Interacting with people outside of the system is condemned because it is threatening to them. Problems are denied and therefore remain.
  6. Performance Based – When behavior is legislated from the outside, instead of coming from a heart that loves God, it cannot be called obedience. It is rather compliance with external pressure. This orientation squeezes people from the outside in, they are not transformed, but rather they are conformed.
  7. Unspoken Rules – you don’t find out what they are until you break them. Rules like this are never written down because if they were written down they would be easily exposed as anti-Christian.
  8. Humiliation and Scare Tactics – you can be ‘exposed’ for asking too many questions, for disobeying unspoken rules, or for disagreeing with authority. People are made public examples in order to send a message to those who remain. Many methods are used to warn their friends and others about how ‘dangerous’ or ‘divisive’ they are.
  9. Misusing or Abusing Scripture – using scripture incorrectly in order to manipulate.
  10. Double Talk – the leaders sound very religious but there is a sense of vagueness. They will give you the ‘right’ answer but rarely the ‘real’ answer. You cannot confront them or pin them down because they never truly answer the question and are deceitful.

 

Spotting Spiritual Abuse
Have a distorted view of respect. They forget the simple adage that respect is earned, not granted. Abusive leaders demand respect without having earned it by good, honest living.

Demand allegiance as proof of the follower’s allegiance to Christ. It’s either his/her way or no way. And if a follower deviates, he is guilty of deviating from Jesus.

Create a culture of fear and shame. Often there is no grace for someone who fails to live up to the church’s or ministry’s expectation. And if someone steps outside of the often-unspoken rules, leaders shame them into compliance. Can’t admit failure but often searches out failure in others and uses that knowledge to hold others in fear and captivity. They often quote scriptures about not touching God’s anointed, or bringing accusations against an elder. Yet they often confront sin in others, particularly ones who bring up legitimate biblical issues. Or they have their circle of influence take on this task, silencing critics.

Often have a charismatic leader at the helm who starts off well, but slips into arrogance, protectionism and pride. Where a leader might start off being personable and interested in others’ issues, he/she eventually withdraws to a small group of “yes people” and isolates from the needs of others. Harbors a cult of personality, meaning if the central figure of the ministry or church left, the entity would collapse, as it was entirely dependent on one person to hold the place together.

Buffer him/herself from criticism by placing people around themselves whose only allegiance is to the leader. Views those who bring up issues as enemies. Those who were once friends/allies swiftly become enemies once a concern is raised. Sometimes these folks are banished, told to be silent, or shamed into submission.

Hold to outward performance but rejects authentic spirituality. Places burdens on followers to act a certain way, dress an acceptable way, and have an acceptable lifestyle.

Use exclusivity for allegiance. Followers close to the leader or leaders feel like insiders. Everyone else is on the outside, though they long to be in that inner circle.

Source: http://www.marydemuth.com/spiritual-abuse-10-ways-to-spot-it/

Christian Dating Superstition?

There is a popular notion among Christian singles that says, “There is only one person God has you destined to be with.” Which can lead to us waiting and waiting for that “moment” and that special someone. I’m really not sure what to think of this idea, the Bible doesn’t say much about this type of thinking. Biblically speaking our top priority should be finding someone who is a genuine Christian, and pursuing a relationship based on purity, respect, truth and holiness, thus honoring God.

“German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer addresses this issue in a wedding sermon he wrote for his sister from a Nazi jail cell. He says that God joins the relationship between a man and a woman at the point of marriage. Before that, the couple has to take the initiative. Rather than directing the course of the relationship, God wants the couple to grow and learn how to make a commitment. Once they’ve done that, God increases his sustaining presence.” (source: https://www.crosswalk.com/family/singles/the-top-five-myths-of-christian-dating-11620987.html)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

Examining the Hookup Culture: The Dating Project

A new documentary called The Dating Project is attempting to get singles to re-evaluate how they approach dating. I don’t know a lot about this documentary (I think it may be a Catholic based production) but I am glad that people are at least trying to start some more dialogue regarding issues surrounding singles and relationships. I hope Christians will try to address some of the relationship issues of our culture more openly and boldly. Here is the website for their documentary: https://www.thedatingprojectmovie.com/

Kissing is a Leading Cause for Head and Neck Cancer

Ran across an article written a few years ago (2015), stating that kissing is now the leading risk for head and neck cancers (not sure if the stats have changed since then or not). It says the more people you kiss the more likely you are to get HPV. Might be wise to quit kissing all your dates.

Source:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3176772/Oral-HPV-cases-rise-causing-tsunami-head-neck-cancers.html

The Need for True Reformation

The article listed below is very insightful and worth the read. Discussing why millennials have and are continuing to leave church behind. It’s a sad reality and it’s time churches and individuals start getting real about some of these issues.

I’ve personally been a part of a church that has had a “Reformation Weekend” and have seen many other churches do something similar. At face value many churches seem to value good “Reforms,” however in my personal experience (being part of a local church my entire life) the only actual changes they are willing to make are a change of wording on a statement of faith or doctrinal statement. Don’t get me wrong, this can be very important, but I’ve rarely seen a meaningful change in practice or how they go about things.

Generally speaking, I think church leaders get very defensive when issues are brought to them. Which is understandable as they have to deal with a lot of people expressing their opinions and it’s hard not to take things as a personal attack when in leadership. And I also believe many church goers get worked up about things that really aren’t that important. But there is still great importance in “testing and examining our ways and returning to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). This is a huge part of faith in Christ, the idea of constantly seeking the Lord and the need for repentance and to examine our motives and actions. My hope is that all Christian individuals and churches would take the time to honestly examine their ways and seek the Lord.

12 Reasons Millennials are OVER Church

 

Average Age at First Marriage is Rising

The average age at first marriage has risen significantly over the last 50 years. People today are waiting 6-7 years longer to get married than previous generations. Between 1950-1960 the average age of men at first marriage was around 23 and the average age for women was around 20. Today the average age for men at first marriage is around 29 and the average age for women at first marriage is around 27.

Divorce rates have been fairly steady but the number of both men and women who have never been married has steadily increased.

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/families/marital.html

Low Number of Christian Singles are Dating

Short and interesting read about how very few Christian singles are dating:
http://truelovedates.com/how-many-dates/

And a good follow up article on some possible reasons why:
http://truelovedates.com/5-reasons-christian-singles-arent-dating/