Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

“The predominant religion in America today is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Dr. Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary California (quoting author Christian Smith).

Never heard of this religion?  You probably won’t find it advertised as such on church billboards or in your local bookstores, but once you know the symptoms it can become easy to detect.  In the Resurgence video What is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism?, Dr. Horton goes into detail, but I will give a quick breakdown of some of the main points:

1) Moralistic – Good people go to heaven & bad people go to hell.  Trying hard to be nice and doing your best are key to life.
2) Therapeutic – God exists for my happiness. God is for you living your best life now.  God exists mainly to use for my peace of mind.
3) Deism – God is the “Big Therapist in the Sky” but isn’t really involved in my life.

(Though I wonder if it may be more appropriate to use Theism – see a brief explanation of deism and theism from one of Mark Driscoll’s sermons.)

One of the biggest symptoms of MTD is a human-centric worldview and living rather than a Christ-centric faith and life.  The gospel becomes non-existent, something to be hidden or ashamed of, or it simply turns into slogans.  Feelings begin to arise that God is not great and God is not good if life is not going “the way that it should.”

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