Religion and Youth: How are we related?
By Erin Penney, St. Mark's School, King's Cove, NL
In a world searching for answers, and searching for what's real, a large number of youth are grappling with questions dealing with their faith. Do we need it? How does it all relate to me? What's the point? Well, being a Christian myself, and after observing our society, and my generation's place in it, I've discovered a few things. Yes, we do need our faith, it does relate to us, and yes, there is a point.
Many youth today reject their religion because they have an inaccurate sense of what exactly it is. They equate church, and therefore religion, with boredom, irrelevance and not as a necessity to a happy and fulfilling life. What they don't realize is that faith, whether you're Christian, Jewish or Islamic, living with faith and beliefs extends far beyond the walls of your church, synagogue or temple. It's not just showing up in church every week, but more importantly it's how you live your life. It's your outlook on life, the way you treat people, and the attitudes and values you carry with you every day. And who couldn't benefit from improving all of those?
In the past few years, there's been a resurgence of teen Christianity in Atlantic Canada and ultimately in North America. The stereotype of it being ‘uncool' to be a Christian, and a teen at the same time, is being broken down. This resurgence is being magnified by the growing number of Christian rock groups, like Jars of Clay and Sonicflood, and the hugely popular youth conferences and rallies like YC.
Upon observing the problems among teens today, I'm not alone in believing that our generation could benefit from the things that come with being involved with your faith. Youth groups are fun ways for teens to be active in their religion, while being with friends. Activities they offer include visiting hospitals, and old age homes, helping with food banks, and just plain socializing. The bottom line is, they develop character and make you a more positive person, while being with people who would encourage you in your faith, and not tease you or make it seem unacceptable.
So, yes, religion is not just something your grandmother goes to church on Sunday morning to practice. It's something you carry with you every day in the way you treat people and the decisions you make. With our society today filled with so much wrong, so much violence, and hate, it's never been more important for youth to take a stand and rebel against what's wrong. All religions promote peace, and love for fellow man. That's why religion is very much relevant in this era, because we've never needed these two things more than we do today. Youth are the heirs to the future, and decide whether or not peace and love will be reality in the years to come.
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