Religion is usually deeply integrated with culture. It is a society’s culture that defines the moral standards and ethical core values that its members adhere to. In the modern world where culture has become ever changing, these ethical values and moral standards have become more blurred and the role of religion is not clear to many young people since it no longer provides the connection it previously provided to past generations. Young people have varying degrees of their religious beliefs and can be broadly classified into non religious, moderates, and ultra religious.
Religion has been defined as something that exists because of a need for a connection to a higher power assumed to be possessed by a supernatural being. Religion is also defined as merely an attempt by people to determine what’s wrong and what’s right (Collins-Mayo & Dandelion, 1995). Religious groups have existed for thousands of years and the religions today have developed from primitive forms of worship to the modern religions that we know.
How Religion affects Young People
The class of young people who are non religious is very small relative to the size of the other groups. These are young people who do not profess any belief in a supernatural being and who do not practice any kind of religious rituals. It can be defined as a class of young atheists. To this group, religion has no meaning in their lives and their daily lives are not influenced by any religious beliefs. This class of youth can be further divided into two: those that actively oppose religion and fight it in various ways and those that are passive in their indifference to religion.
The second class of religious young people is composed of those that have religious beliefs that can be described as moderate. These range from young individuals who have a belief in the existence of a supernatural being but do not actively participate in any religious activity to those who have beliefs in supernatural beings and regularly involve themselves in what may be considered normal religious activity like regular attendance to church, mosque or a synagogue. This group forms the largest part of young people since a high number of young people profess at least a belief in the existence of a supernatural being (Collins-Mayo & Dandelion, 1995).
The third group in which young people can be categorized into is the ultra religious. This is a group of religious young people who are keen followers and observes of religious activities. These are young people who will go the extremes in the practice of their religions. Since all religions have a set of moral and ethical rules that govern the conduct of believers in the religion, those that are ultra religious tend to follow these rules to the letter and are keen not to break any of the religious laws (Ammerman & Wade, 1995).This group of young people is not very large relative to the moderates group since many young people would not be comfortable to be within constrains of strict religious observance.
It can be concluded that a large part the youth is religious and many young people practice some form of religion although the degree of religious observance varies from one young individual to another. Generally, the religiousness of the youth can be considered moderate. This means that religion is still a meaningful factor in the lives of many young people and faith observance among the youth cannot be easily written off as a non issue when dealing with issues that involve the youth.
Ammerman, N. & Wade, C. (1995). Work, Family, and Religion in Contemporary Society. Routledge. New York, NY.
Benda, Brent B (1995). “The Effects of Religion on Adolescent Delinquency Revisited.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.
Collins-Mayo, S. & Dandelion, P. eds. (1995). Religion and the Youth. Routledge. New York, NY.