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Christian Smith

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  • Handing Down The Faith

    $32.99

    A new examination of how and why American religious parents seek to pass on religion to their children

    The most important influence shaping the religious and spiritual lives of children, youth, and teenagers is their parents. A myriad of studies show that the parents of American youth play the leading role in shaping the character of their religious and spiritual lives, even well after they leave home and often for the rest of their lives. We know a lot about the importance of parents in faith transmission. However we know much less about the actual beliefs, feelings, and activities of the parents themselves, what Christian Smith and Amy Adamczyk call the intergenerational transmission of religious faith and practice. To address that gap, this book reports the findings of a new national study of religious parents in the United States. The findings and conclusions in Handing Down the Faith are based on 215 in-depth, personal interviews with religious parents from many traditions and different parts of the country, and sophisticated analyses of two nationally representative surveys of American parents about their religious parenting.

    Handing Down the Faith explores the background beliefs informing how and why religious parents seek to pass on religion to their children; examines how parenting styles interact with parent religiousness to shape effective religious transmission; shows how parents have been influenced by their experiences as children influenced by their own parents; reveals how religious parents view their congregations and what they most seek out in a local church, synagogue, temple, or mosque; explores the experiences and outlooks of immigrant parents including Latino Catholics, East Asian Buddhists, South Asian Muslims, and Indian Hindus. Smith and Adamczyk step back to consider how American religion has transformed over the last 100 years and to explain why parents today shoulder such a huge responsibility in transmitting religious faith and practice to their children. The book is rich in empirical evidence and unique in many of the topics it explores and explains, providing a variety of sometimes counterintuitive findings that will interest scholars of religion, social scientists interested in the family, parenting, and socialization; clergy and religious educators and leaders; and religious parents themselves.

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  • Bible Made Impossible

    $26.00

    Biblicism, an approach to the Bible common among some American evangelicals, emphasizes together the Bible’s exclusive authority, infallibility, clarity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability. Acclaimed sociologist Christian Smith argues that this approach is misguided and unable to live up to its own claims. If evangelical biblicism worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach when they actually read and interpret the Bible. Far from challenging the inspiration and authority of Scripture, Smith critiques a particular rendering of it, encouraging evangelicals to seek a more responsible, coherent, and defensible approach to biblical authority.

    This important book has generated lively discussion and debate. The paperback edition adds a new chapter responding to the conversation that the cloth edition has sparked.

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  • Soul Searching : The Religious And Spiritual Lives Of American Teenagers

    $67.00

    Winner of the 2006 Christianity Today Book Award for Christianity and Culture Description
    In most discussions and analyses of American teenage life, one major topic is curiously overlooked–religion. Yet most American teens say that religious faith is important in their lives. What is going on in the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers? What do they actually believe? What religious practices do they engage in? Do they expect to remain loyal to the faith of their parents? Or are they abandoning traditional religious institutions in search of a new, more “authentic” spirituality?
    Answering these and many other questions, Soul Searching tells the definitive story of the religious and spiritual lives of contemporary American teenagers. It reports the findings of The National Study of Youth and Religion, the largest and most detailed such study ever undertaken. Based on a nationwide telephone survey of teens and their parents, as well as in-depth face-to-face interviews with more than 250 of the survey respondents, Soul Searching shows that religion is indeed a significant factor in the lives of many American teenagers. Chock full of carefully interpreted interview data and solid survey statistics, Soul Searching reveals many surprising findings. For example, the authors find that teenagers are far more influenced by the religious beliefs and practices of their parents and other adults than is commonly thought. They challenge the conventional wisdom that many teens today are “spiritual seekers.” And they show that greater teenage religious involvement is significantly associated with more positive adolescent life outcomes.
    Soul Searching reveals the complexity of contemporary teenage religious life, showing that religion is widely practiced and positively valued by teens, but also de-prioritized and very poorly understood by them, yet significant nonetheless 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 authors call “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

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  • Divided By Faith

    $21.99

    Through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement’s leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America’s racial chasm. In fact, most white evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks. But the authors contend that it is not active racism that prevents evangelicals from recognizing ongoing problems in American society. Instead, it is the evangelical movement’s emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships that makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates racial inequality. Most racial problems, the subjects told the authors, can be solved by the repentance and conversion of the sinful individuals at fault.
    the authors throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma. In the end, they conclude that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.

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