Emerging adulthood – a new life phase?

Hebrews 2:1, Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

JP: An interesting read from Christianity Today. See further comment after the quoted section.

Lost in Transition

Excerpts:

Americans ages 18-29 enjoy more options for work, marriage, and location than perhaps any previous generation. They are also one of the most self-focused, confused, and anxious age groups, led into an “adultolescence” that prevents a majority from committing to people and institutions.

A higher proportion of American youth are spending more years in higher education. They are waiting a lot longer before they get married and have kids. That’s partly related to wanting to stay in school longer. It’s partly related to wanting to be “free” longer. It’s also associated with things like the availability of artificial contraception.

Another factor is changes in the global economy that make jobs more fluid and unpredictable. You no longer settle into a job that you’ll have the rest of your life. You may be transferred, you may lose your job, you may need retraining, you may need specialized education. All of this puts young people on edge, wanting to keep their options open when it comes to work.

All this has also created cultural changes that perpetuate an interest in being wild and free, sexually hopping around, for a time. As they exit the teenage years, young people basically understand they have up to 12 years before having a family and settling into their “real job.” And those are very important years.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is still the de facto practiced religious faith, but it becomes a little more complicated for emerging adults. They have more life experience, so some of them are starting to ask, “Does MTD really work? Isn’t life more complicated than this?” MTD is easier to believe and practice when you are in high school.

There is also a much larger segment of emerging adults than of teenagers that is outrightly hostile to religion. Some who previously were MTDS have become anti-religious. That said, the center of gravity among emerging adults is definitely MTD. Most emerging adults view religion as training in becoming a good person. And they think they are basically good people. To not be a good person, you have to be a horrible person. Therefore, everything’s fine.

Image source: Magda Wojtyra: RNA Studio – “Driftwood Victoria beach”

See earlier article: The five points of the MTD God

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