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Soul SearchingThe Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers$
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Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195180954

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019518095X.001.0001

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Spiritual Seekers, the Disengaged, and Religiously Devoted Teens

Spiritual Seekers, the Disengaged, and Religiously Devoted Teens

(p.72) 3 Spiritual Seekers, the Disengaged, and Religiously Devoted Teens
Soul Searching

Christian Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Melinda Lundquist Denton

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines three specific groups of American teenagers: “religious seekers” who claim to be “spiritual but not religious”, teenagers who identify themselves as nonreligious and who never attend religious services, and teens who are highly religiously active and devoted. It is shown that most American teenagers espouse rather inclusive, pluralistic, and individualistic views about religious truth, identity boundaries, and need for religious congregation. Parents of teenagers strongly influence the character of their children’s religious lives. Teens who are more religiously serious and active are also more likely to be involved in a larger number of other programs — clubs, hobby groups, sports, or other organized activities; less religiously active teens tend to be involved in fewer.

Keywords:   American teenagers, teens, adolescents, religion, religious life, religious seekers, spirituality

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