The New York Times has this story on the front page about how various Evangelical Youth Leaders are concerned that they are losing teenagers to our secular society. Ben at EclecticsAnonymous also blogged this story.
In the story, they blamed rock music, and “hooking up”, and such stuff.
And I have to admit, that movies and TV, and music and casual sex are probably a big draw for teenagers…
…but if I might, I’d like to propose a possible alternative view of why children might possibly drop off of the Evangelical hobby horse after a few years.
Take a look at this picture of Ron Luce with part of a crowd of teenagers at one of his events (courtesy of The New York Times):
Take a good look at those kids. They are in what can only be described as a state of hysteria. You might call it religious ecstasy, or any number of similar words, but what all of those words convey is that they are in an extraordinary state of imbalance. Their neurotransmitters are spiking all over the place. They are in a state of complete, not to be too technical here, discombobulation.
While these states can be rewarding and enjoyable, there IS a crash period afterwards. You DO come down from the neurotransmitter high, and you crave more and more and more. Until finally, you can’t quite get the same level of reinforcement from the activity. You build up a tolerance, and without the reward of pure, raw, overpowering emotion pulsing through your veins, you realize that this is really stupid. You start to feel really stupid, like a rat pressing the feeder bar in increasingly complex patters just to get a stupid food pellet.
More, you start to feel used, manipulated and lied to, and finally, you decide to stop.
Even if none of these kids ever saw a television, or heard non-Christian rock music or had a single blow job, lots and lots of them would be dropping off that merry-go-round.