Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X (Tom Beaudoin, 1998)

“This is a book about impropriety and irreverence, beginning with my fundamental claim that Generation X is —despite and even because of appearances—strikingly religious,” Tom Beaudoin writes. “We express our religious interests, dreams, fears, hopes, and desires through popular culture.” Beaudoin, a Catholic GenXer who studied with Harvey Cox at Harvard University School of Divinity, explores four interrelated themes in Virtual Faith: Generation X, pop culture, postmodern spirituality, and Christianity. In the process he develops a theology of pop culture and attempts to bridge the chasm that separates the church from the generation of unchurched young people who tend to find Christianity irrelevant, negative, and unattractive.

My response to Virtual Faith is mixed. I found Beaudoin’s theology sadly lacking, some of his analysis of pop culture flaky, and some of his conclusions flawed. Virtual Faith is very helpful, however, for those who wish to better understand Generation X, the nature and significance of postmodern spirituality, and the importance of pop culture in today’s world.


Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X by Tom Beaudoin (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers; 1998) 181 pp. + appendix + references + index.