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Soul Searching


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Soul Searching + Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers + Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults
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Product Details

  • Actors: Christian Smith
  • Directors: Michael Eaton
  • Writers: Michael Eaton, Timothy Eaton
  • Producers: Timothy Eaton
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Revelation Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2010
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010XZUXI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,734 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on the book, Soul Searching: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, which reports on research conducted over a seven year period by the National Study of Youth and Religion. Featuring interviews with the books authors, youth pastors, and teenagers from around the country, this compelling documentary illustrates some of the major themes and findings of the book, and goes behind the book in depicting the inner lives of a sample of American teenagers. Find out what these teenagers really think about God and religion, what their hopes and aspirations are, and what the research says about the effects of religion in their lives.

In 2005, Oxford University Press released a very important book. Sociologists from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill had just released their findings of a comprehensive study of the religious views of American teenagers. And what they found was nothing less than shocking. According to Christian Smith, the primary author of the book Soul Searching, the actual professed religion of most young adults, whether they're being raised in Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or Jewish homes, is what he called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. What this means is that although many teens believe in God and go to church regularly, they end up defining belief in very vague and subjective terms, such as, God exists, He's there when we need him, He wants us to be happy, The purpose of life is to feel good, Good people go to heaven, and so forth.

Now, in 2007, a documentary film version of Soul Searching was just released by Revelation Studios. And on this edition of the White Horse Inn web cast, Michael Horton talks with Michael Eaton, the co-director of the film, as well as Christian Smith himself, the primary researcher behind the project, about their new documentary. Based on a seven year study of the religious views of American teens, this film presents some troubling findings about the content and quality of the faith being passed on to the next generation.

Find out what these teenagers really think about God and religion, what their hopes and aspirations are, and what the research says about the effects of religion in their lives.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

Review

In 2005, Oxford University Press released a very important book. Sociologists from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill had just released their findings of a comprehensive study of the religious views of American teenagers. And what they found was nothing less than shocking. According to Christian Smith, the primary author of the book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American teenagers, the actual professed religion of most young adults, whether they're being raised in Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or Jewish homes, is what he called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. What this means is that although many teens believe in God and go to church regularly, they end up defining belief in very vague and subjective terms, such as, God exists, He's there when we need him, He wants us to be happy, The purpose of life is to feel good, Good people go to heaven, and so forth. Now, in 2007, a documentary film version of Soul Searching was just released by Revelation Studios. And on this edition of the White Horse Inn webcast, Michael Horton talks with Michael Eaton, the co-director of the film, as well as Christian Smith himself, the primary researcher behind the project, about their new documentary Soul Searching: A Movie About Teenagers & God. Based on a seven year study of the religious views of American teens, this film presents some troubling findings about the content and quality of the faith being passed on to the next generation. --Whitehorse Inn

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mark Cannister on January 4, 2008
Format: DVD
This compelling movie provides an overview of the most comprehensive study of teenagers and religion in America conducted by the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) that was reported in the book "Soul Searching" by Christian Smith, Oxford Univ. Press. Every parent of teens and pre-teens, youth workers, and religious leaders should see this film. The movie traces the lives of several teenagers and their families from a variety of religions perspectives and interviews the principal researchers who discuss the major findings of the NSYR research in light of the lives of real teenagers. Several youth workers also respond to the challenging lives of teenagers in light of the research findings. But, this research and film concerns far more than teenagers. This is a wake-up call for adults and religious leaders alike. The faith of teenagers it turns out is most often a reflection of the faith of their parents as clearly documented in the film. In other word "we get who we are." Parents who believe that dropping off their kids at church or synagogue for religious training is enough will be deeply disappointed with the results. What happens in the home is surprisingly more important that what happens in religious institutions. This is an excellent resource to show at a gathering of parents of teenagers or a gathering of parents and their teenagers. Discussion questions are provided and this emotionally challenging film will certainly lay the foundation for significant discussion. Any household, ministry, church, or synagogue that is serious about passing on their faith to the next generation will re-think their approach after viewing this film (and reading the book). Watching this film will change the way you raise your teenagers or minister to teenagers.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Penny Miceli on January 1, 2008
Format: DVD
I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the documentary "Soul Searching" (based on the findings of the National Study of Youth and Religion--NSYR) several months ago and found it to be well produced and very informative. I was drawn to the film on several levels. First, as one trained in developmental psychology, I was interested in what the film might tell me about the development of the religious and spiritual lives of youth, and how that development might fit within or alongside what I know of other realms of development. Second, as an adult member of a mainline protestant congregation, I was interested in what the findings might have to say about effective youth ministry and religious education. Finally, as a parent of children heading into the teenage years, I was interested in understanding what potentially lies ahead (and the role of the family and other social contexts). On all three levels, I found the film very thought provoking. The core findings of the NSYR are laid out in the film (many of which are not at all what one might expect), and illustrated by teens speaking for themselves on various issues. Christian Smith, the lead investigator of the NSYR, provides helpful commentary along the way, but his presence in the film is understated, keeping the focus on the teen commentary. A nice balance is struck between demonstrating the "typical" types of teenage responses revealed by the NSYR data on the one hand, and avoiding the all-too-frequent over-generalizations about teens on the other. I came away from the film (as a social scientist, parishioner, and parent) with many questions sparked in my mind, and found the book version of Soul Searching (By Smith and Denton, 2005) additionally informative, with thoughtfully nuanced explanations of the study findings.Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Uecker on December 10, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Soul Searching" is a must-see for parents, youth workers, or anyone else interested in the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers. The film is both enlightening and emotionally engaging, and the cinematography is top notch. The filmmakers weave together footage from the lives of several teenagers with interviews from scholars and youth workers to highlight some of the major religious and spiritual characteristics of today's youth. While there is no dearth of opinions about today's adolescents, "Soul Searching" is (refreshingly) drawn from the findings of a high-quality social scientific study of youth and religion rather than from the personal experiences of one person. And given one of the major findings here is that teens are rarely asked to talk about their religious beliefs and practices, parents and interested adults may find watching this film with teens a great way to start a conversation about religious and spiritual matters.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Han In Gyum on March 5, 2008
Format: DVD
Finished watching the documentary with the lead researcher (Christian Smith) and two directors (Timothy and Michael Eaton) available for a quick Q&A following the screening. As the other reviews have raved, the movie is of the highest media and video quality, telling a compelling documentary of how youth today see issues of spirituality and religion. Though informative, my concern however in making this video a "must see" for all parents and pastors is in its lack of an accurate representation of youth in America. That is, who really are our youth and did the movie accurately portray this? For instance, not until the last 10 minutes of the movie was an Asian American edited into the final cut, with only a few seconds given. In comparison, the majority of the interviews were with White, middle to upper-class youth. Though there was one African American and a few Hispanic Americans throughout (in addition to the White Americans), the Hispanic Americans were from the inner cities, and appeared rougher, adding to the negative stereotyping of Hispanic Americans (e.g., there weren't any White Americans from lower socioeconomic status, nor any Hispanic Americans from middle-class suburbia). My concern in raising these issues is to bring up the point that although the book and study may have addressed the issues of representation well (I have yet to read the book), the movie either failed to edit in a more representative group of "youth" or a step previous, did not conduct enough interviews with a substantial sampling to warrant a must see movie on teens and religion/spirituality. If I were a youth pastor from a Korean American church, I'd have to think twice about whether or not to use this documentary.
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