In a story titled, “Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers,” by Laurie Goodstein (October 6, 2006) The New York Times presents a story on evangelical Christian parents who are concerned that their kids are losing their faith so the parents seek to protect and guide them as much as possible. According to the story:

Genuine alarm can be heard from Christian teenagers and youth pastors, who say they cannot compete against a pervasive culture of cynicism about religion, and the casual “hooking up” approach to sex so pervasive on MTV, on Web sites for teenagers and in hip-hop, rap and rock music. Divorced parents and dysfunctional families also lead some teenagers to avoid church entirely or to drift away.

Over and over in interviews, evangelical teenagers said they felt like a tiny, beleaguered minority in their schools and neighborhoods. They said they often felt alone in their struggles to live by their “Biblical values” by avoiding casual sex, risqué music and videos, Internet pornography, alcohol and drugs.

It presents an image of evangelicals feeling like a beleagured cultural minority who must take action to preserve their faith which is under attack. In response, and in keeping with a long evangelical/fundamentalist tradition, they offer alternative institutional events/activities that seek to provide protected cultural spaces. In this case they make mention of arena events, small groups, programs, and organizations including Acquire the Fire and Teen Mania.

They also quote sociologist Christian Smith, whose book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, looks at the religious life of U.S. teens.

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