Souls in Transition by Christian Smith

“According to emerging adults, the absolute authority for every person’s beliefs or actions is his or her own self.”

“For an emerging adult to remain deeply involved in religious life, he or she probably have to feel greater sense of dependence and need…”

“Normally, the best predictor of where people are going is where they have come from.”

Young people - which includes adolescents and emerging adults - are essentially self-absorbed. We can argue if this quality is intrinsic or extrinsic, but the fact remains that young people are narrowly focused on themselves.

I believe the environment creates this egocentric behavior, but I do not blame the environment. As Smith states in this book, “the emerging adult years often entail repeated life disruption, transitions, and distractions.” As a simple defense mechanism, emerging adults simply convert to self-preservation mode. When your emotional, spiritual, and physical energy is spent surviving there is very little opportunity to thrive.

Souls in Transition is a great study on the spiritual lives of emerging adults. It challenges preconceived notions that young people are frankly disinterested in religion and that somehow our collective spirituality is at risk. Even though there is a dip in religious activity during one’s early twenties, there is very little change in the spiritual perspectives between one’s young life and one’s adult life.

Anyone working with college students would enjoy this book.