Saturday, January 28, 2006

Teens and the Supernatural

(From FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)
More than 4,000 teens, in three nationwide studies, were interviewed by the Barna Group about their exposure, through the media and otherwise, to the "supernatural world." The report is titled Ministry to Mosaics: Teens and the Supernatural. The "Mosaic generation" consists of those Americans currently age 3 to 21. The term "Mosaic" is used to describe teens' patchwork of values and lifestyles.

Three-quarters of America's youth (73%) have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity, beyond mere media exposure or horoscope usage — the most common being use of a Ouija board and reading a book about witchcraft or Wicca. More than one-quarter of teens have played a game featuring sorcery or witchcraft elements.

Many teens say they have had experiences that could only be described as supernatural or spiritual. For instance, seven million teens say they have encountered an angel, demon or some other supernatural being. More than two million teens say they have communicated with a dead person (10%). One-tenth have participated in a séance. One out of 12 have tried to cast a spell or mix a magic potion. Thirty percent have had their palm read, 27 percent have had their fortune told and nine percent have consulted a psychic. Nearly two million youth claim they have psychic powers. Teens with few friends or undergoing intense stress are more likely than average to turn to witchcraft or psychic powers to cope with their feelings of vulnerability and insignificance.

Possessing an evangelical faith perspective significantly insulates teens from exploring the supernatural. Evangelical teens were nearly three times less likely (26%) than the norm to have engaged in witchcraft or psychic activities. Next lowest on the list were teens who read the Bible at least weekly, with an engagement rate of 54 percent. Non-evangelical born-again teens came in at 69 percent and youth group attendees were at 66 percent.

"Millions of teens are precariously close to simply shelving the Christian faith as irrelevant, uninspiring and just a phase'" says David Kinnaman, author of the report. "Youth ministries need to address the supernatural more frequently. Teens would benefit from operating on the basis of a biblical world view. But that takes years to develop, immense effort, and close cooperation between church and home." says Kinnaman.

For more information about this report, visit the Barna Group's Web site at

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