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The Spread of MTD

August 1, 2017

There is a serious malady infecting the church in the Western World. It is called MTD and it is so serious that one author warns:

“Christianity is dead, and we Christians have killed it. We have allowed our children to be catechized by the culture, and have produced an anesthetizing religion suited for little more than being a chaplaincy to the liberal individualist order.”

So writes Rod Dreher, in his new book, “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Modern Nation.” Rod’s point is, that the religion which is being embraced by our Post-Modern culture today, bears little to no resemblance to Biblical Christianity.

Citing a study on faith and practice among millennials in America by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist, Dreher, concludes that, MTD is replacing biblical Christianity across our society, even in our churches. MTD, which is an acronym for “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” can be summarized as the belief that; “God exists, and he wants us to be nice to each other, and to be happy and successful.” The five major tenants of MTD compiled from interviews with approximately 3,000 teenagers, are:

  1. God created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life, except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

This new religion is Moralistic because it teaches that central to living a good and happy life, is being a good moral person.

It is Therapeutic, since it is seen as providing therapeutic benefits to its adherents, as opposed to being about things like repentance from sin, saying one’s prayers, or building character through faith and the Word.

It is Deistic as it is a belief in a God who created the world, but not one who is personally involved in one’s affairs (unless He is needed in an emergency).

MTD is not entirely wrong. After all, God does exist, and He does want us to be good. The problem with MTD, is that though superficially Christian, it is the natural religion of a culture that worships the self and rejects objective moral truth. MTD is the de facto religion not simply of youth, but also of the adults from whom they inherited it from.

Is the Christianity we have been living out in our families and congregations, a means of a deeper walk with God? Or does it function as a vaccination against the faith we read of in the Gospel?

We must come to terms with the fact that we live in a culture, for which Biblical Christianity makes increasingly little sense, and we speak a language that the world either cannot hear, or finds offensive to its ears. To reach that culture, the last thing we should do is allow ourselves to become infected with MTD.