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Sociological studies look at beliefs of young, not religious


This is the cover of "Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of and Gone from the Church" by Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill and Kari Christoffersen. The book is reviewed by Daniel S. Mulhall. (CNS)

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"Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of and Gone from the Church" by Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill and Kari Christoffersen. Oxford University Press (New York, 2014). 274 pp., $29.95.

"Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious" by Linda A. Mercadante. Oxford University Press (New York, 2014). 258 pp., $29.95.

Since its inception in 2002, the National Study of Youth and Religion has provided church ministry practitioners a goldmine of valuable information about the religious beliefs and values of young people and their parents. The first full report of the study was published in "Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers" (2009) by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton. Several additional books have followed as that data was unpacked.

The young people who participated in the original study in 2002 have now grown into young adults. The researchers have now gone back to these young people to collect data on their present-day religious lives. The data from the most recent study is presented in the book, "Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of and Gone from the Church," which is again written by Smith, the lead researcher, along with several of his research colleagues.

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