Secular Students’ Perceptions of Christian Rhetoric: A Phenomenological Study
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Christianity and culture
Generation Z is the most spiritually detached generation in United States history with twice as many self-identified atheists as all other generations combined. These facts mandate a serious examination of how Christians use the classical rhetorical elements revealed in the biblical metanarrative or, more succinctly, Christian rhetoric, to persuade his or her fellow man of the truth and beauty of the gospel. Although an abundance of literature devoted to the rise of secularism in the United States exists, there is minimal research dedicated to how Generation Z secularists perceive Christian rhetoric. Thus, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand how secular, Gen Z, college students have experienced the phenomenon of Christian rhetoric. In an effort to increase understanding of participants’ experiences with the phenomenon, open-ended questions were used and results were interpreted to shape Christian rhetorical praxis. Based on participant perceptions, the study found Christian rhetoricians lacked intellectual vulnerability as well as empathetic imagination and routinely failed to engage in steeped embodied discourse.