Internalization as Evidenced in Morality
My friend, co-laborer, and youth pastor at our church, Nathan Wagner, made several really great points about internalization on the last post. Nate makes the point that choosing God's way in any given situation out of trust and love for God is evidence of faith taking root. Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton put it this way in Soul Searching "Even though many teens said religion is important in their lives, it still seemed to us to be mostly part of the furniture in the background of their lives. ... Quite often, teens said they did not think their relgion affected their family relationships, they did not believe religion was relavant to the conduct of a dating relationship, they did not see that religion affected their life at school and so on." They go on to state that this was true of adoelscents who told the researchers that religion was very important in their lives. Clearly there is a gap in the undertanding and practice of Christianity, and this is evidenced in moral decisions.
Nate has a great point- that choosing an option that lines up with the teaching of Christ is fruit of internalization. I agree with him when he takes it further to say that this decision needs to founded and rooted in trust in God's character. It has to go beyond just actions, even though consistent patterns of action are fruit of what we actually believe. Some moral choices are moments when our true motives are laid bare, and being founded in the knowledge that God loves you and expects rightesouness is a poweful motive. Knowledge about God needs to lead to actions and thought patterns that demonstrate that His way is worth risking.
Is internalization the subtle ingesting of truth in a place where decisions are made?