Soul Searching vividly portrays complexity and paradox in the story of contemporary teenage religion. Though widely practiced and positively valued by teens, faith is also de-prioritized and very poorly understood by them. Nonetheless, religion remains a significant force in shaping their lives.
More broadly, Soul Searching describes what appears to be a major transformation of faith in the U.S., away from the substance of historical religious traditions and toward a new and quite different faith the book describes as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”
Christian Smith is the principal investigator and director of the National Study of Youth and Religion and Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor and associate chair of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Melinda Lundquist Denton is the project manager of the NSYR and Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.