"More teens becoming 'fake' Christians"

cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/27/almost.christian/index.html?hpt=T2

I wanted to get your thoughts on this article. Catholics were among the groups of Christians interviewed for this research. Do you find this article to be true of Catholic teens? I'm not around a whole lot of teens these days, so I'm not really sure. But when I was in my teens, I was a lot like the kids in this article. I always claimed I was Catholic, but didn't feel a real passion nor did I know how to discuss or defend my beliefs appropriately when asked. I had some guesses that seemed logical to me, but I didn't really know.

What do you think?

As they grow older, some of them would be interested in deep into catholicism.

My experience with Christian teens has been dismal at best.

Let's see. I know 4 Catholic teenage girls.

All four are sexually active (outside marriage, clearly). One has had six different sexual partners in the year I've known her, the other had sex only once and now refuses to do so again. Three do NOT know what RCIA is, have no clue what the Eucharist means and the one who is most sexually active was SHOCKED when I informed her that really she shouldn't be taking the Eucharist if she's sexually active outside of marriage (I didn't get more involved in that conversation). One doesn't understand why I'd become Catholic and isn't sure if she believes in God at all.

I know two Evangelical teenagers.

One is a drunkard who goes on mission trips to Mexico and returns with the worst potty mouth I've ever experienced. He mistreats women (has been known to be physically violent with them) and loves smoking pot.

The other has had countless sexual partners in the last year. She attends church every Sunday, calls herself a passionate Christian and yet ... yeah.

I don't know... it seems to me a 'Christian' teenager doesn't REALLY exist.

[quote="nickybr38, post:3, topic:210581"]

I don't know... it seems to me a 'Christian' teenager doesn't REALLY exist.

[/quote]

We exist... but it seems like we are an anomaly. I know plenty of "Catholic" teens who go on retreats, wear Catholic jewelry (crosses, saint bracelets), and then go out to party and get high.

I know one girl who doesn't even go to Mass, yet she tells people that she "can't be [their] friend because [they] aren't Catholic."

It seems like some teens say they are Catholic or Christian just to fit in...

:shrug:

I’m sure there are good Catholic teens; I have seen some of their posts on this forum. Sure, they are not as experienced as older people, but often their devotion fairly shines through their posts. There are also good teens in my parish.
It takes awhile for young people to learn about their faith, and especially when their elders don’t bother to teach them. It takes another while for them to figure out who they want to be, and how to become it.
St Philomena was a young teenage martyr, and I doubt teens have changed much from her day.

Considering the “plank in my eye” is the relative size of a mature California Redwood, I suppose I shouldn’t be throwing down judgment. That being said, I can honestly say I would believe this is one hundred percent true.

My state aside, most of my experience with Christian teenagers have been with the protestant teenagers. Most of them seemed to be rather accurately described by the article. All things sexual seem to be a particular blind spot among folks my age.

But then there few individuals were were genuinely and sincerely very holy individuals. So I guess teens might not be that different from some of our elders. There is, indeed, a large amount of cafeteria Christians, but there is also a smaller, harder core of more devout believers. Again, in my humble experience.

OK someone has to say it … Only in America! (or Canada)

by the way, because I agree with the general tone of what the article says, don't take that to mean I'm trying to point out the faults of teens or I think they are overflowing with ignorance due to their own lack of effort.

I went to Catholic school through 6th grade. We went to mass every Sunday and of course I attended mass with the school for holy days and other things.

My parents needed to move my brother to the public school system after my 6th grade year so he would have some extra resources that the Catholic school didn't provide at the time. They let me choose to stay there or to go to the public school I chose public.

I went to the classes and did confirmation with my former classmates. But all through that, I never really understood why I should care. Yeah, we say the Hail Mary. Yeah, we genuflect to the tabernacle. Yeah, I take the Holy Communion. I did the class work on these things, but like most other subjects, dumped the data out of my brain when I was done with it. I didn't think deeply about or understand any of those things and more deeply until years later. The school didn't do a great job of really bringing it home for us and while my parents were adamant about getting to mass on Sunday, I guess I never actually saw or understood the intentions behind it.

I'm not sure how it can be accomplished, but if Catholics want the future generations to actually care and appreciate their faith, parents and Catholic schools really need to start doing better.

I'm a teen (19) and let me tell you from experience among my peers. Most teens who profess any sort of religious faith, profess it nominally at best. It is such a sad thing to see. They bear the name Catholic/Christian, and put it as their Religion status on Facebook but everything else reflects a lifestyle contrary to those names.

Teens have become stupefied by a culture that spoon feeds them trash and tells them that is good for them. They are taught to distrust religion and any sort of belief in God but be true to their "natural" desires, inclinations, and how they feel about things, without giving thought to the notion that perhaps our natural desires are flawed and part of a fallen nature.

They can name the past 4 American idol winners but can't name 4 books of the Bible let alone tell you how many books in the Bible there are. They are so eager to sit in front of a TV for hours a day watching an insignificant baseball game but cringe at the thought of sitting in Church 1 hour a week for Mass.

In short. Today's teenagers would rather be served than serve. This is the root of the problem, and it has many manifestations.

its really distressing and sorrowful to see what is going on in our culture and the world, people are abandoning faith, and unwittingly abandoning reason with it. Sadly I dont think many parents realize the gravity or the extent of the struggles their teenagers face. I don't think mine did, through no intentional fault of their own.

but I think whether subconsciously or consciously, Teens desperately want to have a relationship with God. They want a purpose, they want happiness, they want direction.

But sadly they are looking in the wrong places for purpose, direction, and happiness.

For purpose they devote themselves to radical ideologies like Marxism, militant atheism, etc. to feel as if they are important as if they can affect the world. And they will affect the world, but in a negative way.

For direction they depend on secular institutions to show them how to live and show them their destiny, rather than look to God and being with Him as their eternal destiny, and look to God for the precepts and principles on which their lives should be based.

For Happiness they look to sin. They look for instant gratification whether it be in sex, drugs, alcohol, or any destructive lifestyle, that destroys both body and soul.

I have to remind myself that teens are not yet adults, their brains have not yet fully developed. Branding many teens as ‘fake’ Christians just can’t be helpful to anyone.

I’d prefer teens to have a juvenile form of Christianity than no belief at all. It is more likely that at some time in their adult life they may want to convert properly - they’ll have something to build on.

The article I found uninspiring. There were plenty of suggestions but no real conviction that their suggestions would bring better results or if they would work at all. Blaming parents and certain types of congregations is useless… who is going to overhaul those parents or those congregations?

I find that teens do need their own company and music… and probably a bit more enthusiasm in terms of religion … which may not sit well with us adults but note the success of World Youth Day celebrations.

[quote="nickybr38, post:3, topic:210581"]
My experience with Christian teens has been dismal at best.

Let's see. I know 4 Catholic teenage girls.

All four are sexually active (outside marriage, clearly). One has had six different sexual partners in the year I've known her, the other had sex only once and now refuses to do so again. Three do NOT know what RCIA is, have no clue what the Eucharist means and the one who is most sexually active was SHOCKED when I informed her that really she shouldn't be taking the Eucharist if she's sexually active outside of marriage (I didn't get more involved in that conversation). One doesn't understand why I'd become Catholic and isn't sure if she believes in God at all.

I know two Evangelical teenagers.

One is a drunkard who goes on mission trips to Mexico and returns with the worst potty mouth I've ever experienced. He mistreats women (has been known to be physically violent with them) and loves smoking pot.

The other has had countless sexual partners in the last year. She attends church every Sunday, calls herself a passionate Christian and yet ... yeah.

I don't know... it seems to me a 'Christian' teenager doesn't REALLY exist.

[/quote]

I am 13 and I don't engage in such acts. Okay, I admit, I've used profane language a few times, and used the name of God in vain too (if "Oh my God!" counts... other than that I don't remember ever using his name in vain in any other way. Though I did say "Goddamn" when singing a song with that particular word... I didn't really mean it... I'm just singing along. Unless it's morally wrong to sing along such words then I'll probably stop it). But I'll try my best not to do them again. :D I'm not as knowledgeable in my faith as some people are, but I always crave to learn more about it and follow it. To say that 'Christian' teenagers don't really exist sounds a bit offensive to me. :( Or maybe by "teenager" you're referring to those in their mid-teens (16+), since, well, 13 is a bit too young, no? :D

[quote="HolyCow21, post:8, topic:210581"]

I'm not sure how it can be accomplished, but if Catholics want the future generations to actually care and appreciate their faith, parents and Catholic schools really need to start doing better.

[/quote]

I totally agree. I think one of the reasons why teens and kids nowadays aren't very faithful is because they aren't doing that well. Well, in Canada that is (and America too, probably... IDK I've never been there).

Last year I was still living in the Philippines, and my cousin (who is the same age as me) and her family went on a Christmas vacation there (they were living in Canada, which is where I am now). At the same time, she was going to get her confirmation (along with me). Our aunt (who is a member of Opus Dei (or something like that)) asked us simple questions like "Do you know the Holy Spirit?" and she (my cousin's) like, "What's the Holy Spirit?" It shocked me. She asked what they were teaching her in school, she replied "Well... Bible stories and such." Which, alone, I think, is insufficient means to teach the Catholic faith (since the Bible isn't our only means of authority). I'm attending her school this year... both of us are in 8th grade now. I haven't attended any school outside the Philippines before, so I don't know what it's gonna be like. But I pray that God will lead me to the right path, and that I won't participate in sinful acts. :)

They teach the faith fairly well in the Philippines, though.

Unfortunately, true but there are still a lot of good Catholic teens out there. The foundation has to begin at home and then be reinforced by peers of the same feather as well as guidance from an adult who has a sound background of good Catholic doctrine.
I was one of the lucky ones as a teen… :smiley:

You people should thank God for His blessings that you live in a society where it's still socially acceptable and even fashionable to be a Christian. Most Christians in the world today have no experience of that. They face everything ranging from mild social ostracism to bloody persecution.

[quote="Petergee, post:13, topic:210581"]
You people should thank God for His blessings that you live in a society where it's still socially acceptable and even fashionable to be a Christian. Most Christians in the world today have no experience of that. They face everything ranging from mild social ostracism to bloody persecution.

[/quote]

Um, wow. You assume we aren't aware of this already. Sorry, but you're wrong. I am thankful EVERYDAY that I was born where I was. But just because a child is starving in Africa doesn't mean I'm going to eat a peanut butter cookie and just because other Christian's are being persecuted doesn't mean I'm not going to expect more from Christian's who aren't. :shrug:

in a culture were appearances are everything, yes:(

being a teen myself i can see a lot of non-christian activity in my peers, it is unfortunate but there are still plenty of decent teenagers around, the problem is there are so few expectations of us as an age group, just grow up make money and be civilized:rolleyes:

[quote=roveau]their brains have not yet fully developed.
[/quote]

:D:p LOL its true! but brain development and instilled values are two entirely different issues…plus throw in maturity issues:blush: to tell the truth though, i don’t know how i could get through this time without God

[quote="nickybr38, post:14, topic:210581"]
Um, wow. You assume we aren't aware of this already. Sorry, but you're wrong. I am thankful EVERYDAY that I was born where I was. But just because a child is starving in Africa doesn't mean I'm going to eat a peanut butter cookie and just because other Christian's are being persecuted doesn't mean I'm not going to expect more from Christian's who aren't. :shrug:

[/quote]

I didn't imply that you don't thank God. I'm just saying, the fact that Christianity is so popular in the US that people call themselves Christians even though they don't act like Christians, is the reverse of the situation in most of the rest of the world, where Christians (who behave like Christians) are under great pressure to hide the fact that they are Christian, knowing that the most powerful and influential people in their circles and in society will think less of them for being Christian. I was thinking of Europe and Australasia, not the 3rd World. If Christianity is so fashionable that people pretend to be Christians when they're really not, by all means call them out about it but don't be surprised that it happens.

Clearly I misread what you were saying. :slight_smile:

I don’t think Christianity is ‘fashionable’ by any means. BUT I do think in some towns it is one of the few places that create a place for teenagers to hang out. Via summer camp, youth group, etc.

I think more teenagers call themselves Christian even though they don’t really understand because of these outreachs. Some of the kids I mentioned before not only attended Bible camp every year but one girl was in a ‘relationship’ with one of her counsellors (he was 24 she was 15). So… yeah. These places aren’t exactly ‘Christian’ places in the first place so it’s really no wonder the kids are getting confused.

Blah, I should have said that before. Ah well.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.