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Another Prison of the Ism

Earlier this year I began a series entitled “The Prison of the Isms”. At present, we are focusing on Marxism, Socialism and Communism. However, there are many “isms” which are spiritually damaging – even those which name the Name of Christ.


One such “ism” is Moral Therapeutic Deism. At first glance, the words appear harmless. In fact, given that the word “therapeutic” appears, you could argue it is helpful. Moral therapeutic deism (also commonly known as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) was first coined by sociologists Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton in their 2005 book: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. As the title suggests, they undertook research to identify the predominant beliefs of American teenagers (even those that claim to be Christians). They named the core beliefs Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or MTD as follows:-


1. A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on Earth.

2. God wants people to be good, nice 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.


The beliefs of MTD are “moralistic” in that they place a high value on “being good”. In their view, “good” is really defined by popular culture rather than the moral imperatives of the Bible. So, they don’t believe everything the Bible calls a sin is necessarily bad if culture approves of it.


The authors used the word “deism” because in MTD, God exists as the Creator, but they believe He is relatively uninvolved in mankind’s affairs. In true deism, God never intervenes – they believe He created us, but leaves us alone to largely do as we please. The theological issue with MTD is that they believe good, nice and tolerant people will ultimately be received into Heaven. This view is held by a good number of people in Western nations which emphasis relationships with others, but minimises a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


A survey conducted in America earlier in 2021 revealed that three out of four people (74% in fact) have been influenced by MTD. Shockingly:-


1. 91% do not believe people are sinful and need salvation through Jesus Christ.

2. 88% look to sources other than the Bible for moral guidance.

3. 76% believe that good people go to Heaven through good behaviour.

4. 71% do not believe the Bible is true and a reliable form of communication from God.


Overall, MTD is parading itself as Christianity but it is fake and hollow. In step with the overriding character of our current society, MTD is more focused on self than on God. It is not that practitioners of MTD are anti-Christian. They are just not willing to surrender themselves to an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ or to even believe that real Biblical faith even makes such demands of them.


But let’s be clear: you are only permitted to enter God’s Kingdom if you have truly been born again through believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died for your sins.

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