Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gen M

Great interview with Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America.

National Review Online: What's the "missionary generation"? Can we call them Gen M?

Naomi Riley: Sure. Generation M sounds very hip. And the missionary generation is nothing if not with it. But the members of Generation M — religious-college graduates — are quite distinctive from their secular counterparts. And the stronger the religious affiliation of the school, the more distinctive they are. . . . They reject the spiritually empty education of secular schools. They refuse to accept the sophisticated ennui of their contemporaries. They snub the "spiritual but not religious" attitude. They rebuff the intellectual relativism of professors and the moral relativism of their peers.

These attitudes mean that the missionary generation doesn't participate in the typical model of college behavior. They don't spend their college years experimenting with sex or drugs. They marry early and plan ahead for family life. They oppose sex outside of marriage, as well as homosexual relationships. Most dress modestly and don't drink, use drugs, or smoke. While they would disagree among themselves about what it means to be a religious person, they all assume that trying to live by a set of rules, generally laid down in scripture, is the prerequisite for a healthy, productive, and moral life.

It's a quick and interesting read.