"THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN TEENS believe in God and worship in coventional congregations, but their religious knowledge is remarkably shallow and they have a tough time expressing the difference that faith makes in their lives, a new survey says. Still, the notably comprehensive National Study of Youth and Religion concluded that 'religion really does matter' to teens.

"The research found that devout teens hold more traditional sexual and other values than their nenreligious counterparts and are better off in emotional health, academic success, community involvement, concern for others, trust of adults, and avoidance of risky behavior.

"The four-year effort was conducted by 133 researchers and consultants led by sociologist Christian Smith of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith reports the full results in the new book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives American Teenagers (Oxford University Press), written with doctoral student Melinda Lundquist Denton. ... Smith says the material 'is not just about teenagers. It speaks more broadly about the direction of American religion.'

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Where does integrity come from?
April 4, 2005

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