Abstract

The subject that is examined in this article is how young Christians in Swedish Charismatic and Evangelical churches talk about their faith. The study takes its point of departure in Charles Taylors suggestion that both believers and non-believers in the Western world live in a “secular age” and that this affects the conditions for religious beliefs. Taylors reasoning as well as some American and Swedish studies about young believers are presented in the first part of the article. The main part consist of a presentation of two focus group interviews with young adults. In a final section the interviews are discussed in relation to earlier research. The authors argue that the interviewees emphasize the personal and the authentic, and that it is vital to have “a relation with Jesus”. They refer to, and long for, charismatic experiences but are also searching for a mature faith and an acceptance of “ups and downs” in their spiritual life. Although they shy traditional expressions and admit that they find certain dogmas difficult to understand, their belief offers them a certain “wholeness” in life. They are unhappy about the stereotypes about Christians they encounter in society but want to share their beliefs through testimony and a loving life style. Ethics, in the form of love and tolerance rather than rules, is very important. However, this is a problem not least in relation to issues about homosexuality. Finally, the au- thors note, that the church, or groups within the church, are salient for these Christians.

Keywords: Young Christians, Scandinavia, Counter narratives, negotiate beliefs, Christian identity