Saying "God loves you!" Isn't Just for Lazy Catholics
I’m okay, you’re okay, God just wants us to be happy, all good people go to heaven…
“Moralistic therapeutic deism” was a term coined by sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton in their 2005 book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers to describe the “I’m okay, you’re okay” departure from historic Christianity and its message of sin and redemption. For moralistic therapeutic deists, the authors explain, God is
“something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he’s always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process” (pg. 165).
When the term is bandied about in Catholic circles, it’s usually in derision, and rightly so: coming into the Beatific Vision and union with God Himself requires a bit more than self-congratulatory religious and moral relativism. It’s why many Catholics are frustrated by milquetoast “God Loves You!” preaching: they see “feel-good” homilies as a reduction of Jesus’ message and promising people an easy way out.
Our faith is one of constant conversion, and it’s good to remind others of it. But before you do: make sure you know who you’re talking to. When some people hear another complain,
“Man, I wish Father would stop harping on how awesome we are and how God loves us and start talking about sin,”
they internalize it as,
“Meditating on the love of God is for lazy Catholics. I don’t want to be lazy. I’ll focus on the hard stuff.”